Captain America: Civil War Review

Chris Evans -Steve Rogers / Captain America    Robert Downey Jr.  Tony Stark / Iron Man    Scarlett Johansson   Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow    Sebastian Stan   Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier    Anthony Mackie   Sam Wilson / Falcon    Don Cheadle Lieutenant James Rhodes / War Machine    Jeremy Renner   Clint Barton / Hawkeye    Chadwick Boseman   T'Challa / Black Panther    Paul Bettany  Vision    Elizabeth Olsen   Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch    Paul Rudd  Scott Lang / Ant-Man    Emily VanCamp  Sharon Carter    Tom Holland Peter Parker / Spider-Man    Daniel Brühl Zemo    Frank Grillo  Brock Rumlow / Crossbones

Chris Evans -Steve Rogers / Captain America
Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark / Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson
Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Sebastian Stan
Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie
Sam Wilson / Falcon
Don Cheadle Lieutenant James Rhodes / War Machine
Jeremy Renner
Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Chadwick Boseman
T’Challa / Black Panther
Paul Bettany Vision
Elizabeth Olsen
Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Paul Rudd Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Emily VanCamp Sharon Carter
Tom Holland Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Daniel Brühl Zemo
Frank Grillo Brock Rumlow / Crossbones

 

Is it really a Civil War?

Captain America: Winter Soldier was a giant box office hit in 2014.  Audiences came out of theaters wanting more Captain America movies. Marvel Studios announced later that year that Tony Stark (Iron Man) would be a character  in the next Captain America Film in order to adapt the Civil War storyline from the Marvel Comics.  The studio added more excitement from audiences when they announced Black Panther and Spider-Man would be added as characters.  Captain America stars Chris Evans as Captain America but also Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Tom Holland (Spider-man), and the rest of Avengers including Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes aka. The Winter Soldier).

It’s been one year since the fight with Ultron has leveled Sokovia, and the Avengers are solid cohesive team that are hunting Crossbones (Brock Rumlow, Frank Grillo). They track his location to Lagos and several Wakandas are killed when they attempt to capture him. The United Nations comes agreement called the Sokovia Accords. A governmental panel would have the authority to send the Avengers on missions, and the Avengers have no say where they go.  Naturally, this agreement causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man. The situation becomes more complicated when Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) plants a bomb and assassinates the King of Wakanda.  Captain America must decide to sign the Sokovia Accords or break the law by taking Bucky Barnes into custody, the Winter Soldier and his longtime friend, since vigilantes are outlawed.

The negatives of the film are that Vision and War Machine have little to do in the film. Vision was the coolest character in Avengers: Age of Ultron suffers a downgrade in this film. He has very little screentime, and his motivations for signing the Slovakian Accords are never fully explained. War Machine (Don Cheadle) joins the Slovakian Accords but his motivations are not fully explained either on signing the Slovakian Accords. The audience doesn’t know if it is his history with the government, his friendship with Tony Stark, or if he feels like it is the right thing to do. The other negative about Civil War is the government forcing superheroes to sign the accords. Personally, the introduction to the government wanting to control superheroes feels rushed. The film never fully resolves conflict between the two teams about governmental control.  Marvel Studios and the filmmakers should have waited to introduce this storyline by itself or waited after Thanos shows up in Avengers: Infinity Wars.  The two sides square off once and it’s a disappointment to only see them fight once.

Captain America: Civil War has a ton of positives and there are too many to describe. The two main themes are friendship and revenge. Bucky Barnes and Steve Rodgers have a friendship that stands the test of time.  The Winter Soldier is highly sought after in the movie for reasons. The government thinks he is a terrorist or Black Panther blames him for killing his father.  With all of this going on, Captain America finds himself in the middle trying to protect his friend and his belief puts him wrong side of the law.  Iron Man, Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), and Black Panther are vengeance driven throughout the film. The three characters take specific actions to retaliate something or someone based on their current beliefs or that happened in their past. The revenge plot is really the backbone of the storyline.

Spider-man and Black Panther are perfect additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-man is nailed perfectly by Tom Holland, and he nailed all of Spider-man’s mannerisms, attitudes, sarcasm, and background. Peter Parker is a dumpster driver in the movie. Tony Stark even makes fun of him for that.  Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. have perfect chemistry together onscreen while playing Spider-man and Iron Man. Downey Jr. will appear in Spider-man: Homecoming next year because of the chemistry with Holland. Black Panther was the other great audition.  Chadwick Boseman had a distinct African accent. He would command the audience’s attention while on screen.  He played a vengeful forceful Black Panther.  He and Holland made the audiences buzz about their performances while leaving the theater.

Overall, Captain America: Civil War is a good movie with a lot of suspenseful action. Spider-man is so perfectly played to a T along with Black Panther.  The film does a great job in making audiences understand different character’s point of views. Captain America: Civil War gets a 4 out of 5.

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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Review)

mission-impossible-rogue-nation plane

The Best Mission Impossible Yet!

Most film franchises crash into a brick wall by their fifth film such as Star Wars (Attack of the Clones), Rocky (Rocky V), Planet of the Apes (Battle of the Planet of the Apes), and etc.  Mission Impossible has taken a different route. Every Mission Impossible film is better than the previous.  Rogue Nation is the best Mission Impossible film yet. It’s success goes the director (Christopher McQuarrie), writer (Drew Pearce), and the cast that includes: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin, and Sean Harris.

Ethan Hunt (Cruise), Benji Dunn (Pegg), Luther Strickell (Rhames), and William Brandt (Renner) are trying to prevent terrorists from stealing biochemical weapons that could wipe out an entire city. Hunt boards the terrorist’s getaway plane while its taking off and successfully steals the weapons. Brandt is attending a close door Senate hearing about previous incidents IMF’s (Impossible Missions Force) has caused over the last decade . CIA Director, Alan Hunley (Baldwin), wants to shut down the IMF and allow the CIA to control its operations. Meanwhile, Ethan is in London getting his next assignment when he is ambushed by the leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Harris).  Lane wants to torture Hunt to the point where he will work for the Syndicate. Ethan escapes with the help of Ilsa Faust (Ferguson) and calls Brandt to inform that the Syndicate is real. Brandt informs Ethan that the entire IMF has been discontinued, and Ethan should turn himself in.  Ethan goes on the run and searches for the Syndicate and their leader while avoiding the IMF.

The only negative about Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is nothing. Honestly nothing comes to mind about Rogue Nation that detracted from the film. The pacing was great. McQuarrie knew that he needed help while writing the film. He has a good eye to direct action scenes and is a good story teller. He asked Paramount to bring in Drew Pearce to help mold the story, the character arcs, and sure up his original screenplay to make the best movie possible. Their collaboration was a success because every character had their spotlight of delivering a punchline or doing something humorous. There wasn’t a lot exposition that had to be explain through dialogue. Rogue Nation was a fast paced film and film starts out with a bang.

The action sequences are fantastic. There are about five major action sequences in the film. Ethan boarding the plane is the opening action sequence. The best action sequence might be the car chase through Casablanca in Morocco. Personality, I don’t think that I have seen a better car chase on screen since I have started watching movies as a young kid. Tom Cruise does all of his own stunts as does the rest of the cast. He is holding onto the side of the plane while it takes off, underwater and has to hold his breath for  two plus minutes, or performing that car chase with Simon Pegg in the passenger seat. He does all of the hand to hand combat too. The man loves his fans and will do anything to entertain them. The overall cast really shine in this movie but Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, and Sean Harris stand out.

Rebecca Ferguson nails the female lead

Rebecca Ferguson nails the female lead

Rebecca Ferguson and Simon Pegg might have stole the show. Ferguson plays a powerhouse as an assassin. She has sex appeal, charm, but like a black widow spider is deadly when she attacks. She did her own stunt and had several impressive hand to hand combat scenes.  Simon Pegg kills it and the person who goes to see the movies with me said “Simon Pegg stole the show.”  He adds so much humor his role of Benji. Benji is really the heart of the movie. Pegg is very pivotal to the plot.  The rest of the cast kills their parts. Sean Harris really plays a good villain. He is a multidimensional character.  The audience learns his motivations and is very deadly. The rest of the cast really nail their parts and even Alec Baldwin, who can be a melodramatic, killed that ignorant boss who eventually sees your point of view. Cruise does a have Point of View shot in the film and it was completely different from the other four movies.

Overall, Rogue Nation is one of the year’s best films. It is the best blockbuster of the summer. Rogue Nation gets a 4.8 out of 5.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Review)

Bard Bird directs Ghost Protocol which is the best Mission Impossible film

Bard Bird directs Ghost Protocol which is the best Mission Impossible film

The Franchise’s Best Film Yet.

JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise created a great third installment for the Mission Impossible franchise. Brad Bird took over the directing chair and blew JJ’s film out of the water.  Bird captured everything that has made the Mission Impossible franchise fantastic with exotic and extravagant shooting locations, action sequences,  but told a cohesive story that introduced several new characters.  Mission Impossible: Protocol introduced Jeremy Renner and instantly became a fan favorite of the series. Simon Pegg also had an expanded role which helped him become beloved too. Ghost Protocol could be considered one of the best action spy thrillers of all time.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is in prison after killing six Serbians and is disavowed by IMF. Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn, who has been promoted from technician to field agent, (Simon Pegg) break Ethan out of prison.  Ethan, Jane, and Benji are given orders to infiltrate the Kremlin, Russia’s Fortress for to protect their government executives, to obtain information about Cobalt. Cobalt is a secret identity for a unknown terrorist. Benji and Ethan are in the Kremlin but discover the files are not there. Cobalt hacks into the IMF frequency and plants a bomb that destroys the Kremlin. Ethan barely escapes but is hospitalized. He is interrogated by a SVR (Foreign Intelligent Agency) agent while in a hospital but Ethan escapes then contacts the IMF. Ethan is picked up by the Director of the IMF (Tom Wilkinson) and his chief analyst, Wiliam Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and told that he and his team are labeled traitors. The President had initiated “Ghost Protocol” which disavows the entire IMF. Ethan tells the Director that he has seen Cobalt and shows Brandt who identifies the individual as Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqist), a Swedish Nuclear Strategist who wants to destroy the world. The Director, Ethan, and Brandt are ambushed by the Russians.  Ethan, Brandt, and his team must stop Hendricks from using the Russian Nuclear device that he stole to start World War III.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol has breathtaking action sequences. Tom Cruise climbs the tallest building in the world. The action sequence happens in Dubai. One of his gloves malfunctions and it makes the audience feel like Ethan in his serious trouble. Ethan chases Hendricks in a car chase scene in Dubai during sandstorm. In the Dubai hotel, Jane fights the assassin that killed her partner in a hotel room during the Dubai action sequence. She amusedly kicks the assassin out the window and shrugs her shoulders that she doesn’t care.  The story was the best part of the movie.

Bird and the screenwriters, Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, crafted a story that is driven by the action and characters.  The plot grabs the audiences attention within the first few seconds. The prison breakout scene really helps to explore the relationship with Benji and Ethan. The creative team had the characters drive the plot and used the action sequences as consequences to the character’s actions. Brandt gets flushed out and it is discovered he played a part in Ethan’s past.  Jane and Ethan share similar experiences and their characters come to trust each other. Cruise and Pegg have amazing chemistry together and create moments of hilarity. Paula Patton really does stand out as a female action hero. The Mission Impossible film franchise has developed strong female characters which is one of the major strengths of the franchise. The only problem with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the villain. He is one dimensional.

Overall, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the best Mission Impossible movie. Rogue Nation has superseded it with the critics.  Ghost Protocol is my favorite Mission Impossible movie.  Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol gets a 4.5 out 5.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation comes out Friday. I’ve included the trailer below.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron Review

This picture actually describes the movie Robert Downey, Jr. Tony Stark/Iron Man  Chris Evans  Steve Rogers/Captain America  Mark Ruffalo  Bruce Banner/The Hulk  Chris Hemsworth Thor  Scarlett Johansson Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow  Jeremy Renner Clint Barton/Hawkeye  Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury  James Spader Ultron  Elizabeth Olsen Scarlet Witch  Aaron Taylor-Johnson Quicksilver  Paul Bettany The Vision  Don Cheadle Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine  Cobie Smulders  Maria Hill  Stellan Skarsgård  Erik Selvig  Written and Directed by Joss Whedon

This picture actually describes the movie
Robert Downey Jr.-Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Evans-Steve Rogers/Captain America
Mark Ruffalo-Bruce Banner/The Hulk
Chris Hemsworth-Thor
Scarlett Johansson-Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Jeremy Renner-Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Samuel L. Jackson-Nick Fury
James Spader-Ultron
Elizabeth Olsen-Scarlet Witch
Aaron Taylor Johnson-Quicksilver
Paul Bettany- Vision
Don Cheadle Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine
Cobie Smulders Maria Hill
Stellan Skarsgård Erik Selvig
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon

The New Characters are Scene Stealers

The first Avengers movie really succeeded expectations of world wide movie going audiences.  The excitement electrified the theater during the mid-credits scene after the purple alien looking Hulk (actually named Thanos) showed his face.  Iron Man 3, Thor 2: The Dark World, and Captain America 2: The Winter Solider teased audiences with specific references to upcoming Marvel movies and Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron isn’t the best Marvel phase 2 movie but it is a stellar blockbuster with lots of humor, cool new characters, and great action and special effects battles.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron begins with the original Avengers destroying the final Hydra Base led by Baron Von Strucker, played by Thomas Kretschmann.  Strucker used Loki’s scepter, which has the Mind Gem in it, to create two new superpower villains, Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch aka Petro and Wanda Maximoff.  Iron Man and the Avengers take control of the scepter but the twins escape.  Iron Man and Bruce Banner discover the scepter holds a key to Artificial Intelligence so they use it to create a new peace keeping force called Ultron. Ultron rationalizes that humanity is violent by nature and needs to be destroyed.  Ultron allied with Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch start a global war to eradicate humanity with only the Avengers to save the world.

Age of Ultron is overall a great superhero movie.  It’s not as good as Captain America 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, or the first Avengers. The reason is the story is weaker than the three films mentioned above. It took an about fifty minutes to an hour for me really become emotionally invested in the movie.  The sequel has bigger action sequences, the team chemistry is more fluent with their banter and working together, and all of the avengers really have their moments to shine. Hawkeye has a bigger spot light shined on him in this film.   He might be the central player in the this film.  The Maximoffs, Ultron, and especially Vision are the movie’s scene stealers.

Quicksilver running toward Scarlett Witch

Quicksilver running toward Scarlett Witch

Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch are really portrayed and developed as characters in the movie. Quicksilver has this ignorance about his personality but is super protective towards his sister. The special effects used to zip around quickly are stunning. Scarlett Witch really has a central role as a catalyst in the movie.  Her ability to wrap people’s minds influences the plot from the first action.  She really torments the Avengers and makes the team doubt themselves.  Her powers are cool and hopefully she appears in Dr. Strange. Elizabeth Olson did say she would be in Captain America 3: Civil War.

Ultron is the best empathic villain ever to be portrayed in a superhero movie. Joss Whedon wrote the character in such a way that audiences will feel for him. His character has a pointview on humanity which people would agree with.  James Spader and Joss Whedon really nailed that observation of humanity with Ultron’s tone, dialogue, and his evil plan.  A minor spoiler is that Ultron shows empathy towards the Maximoffs twins.  He was a damn good replacement for Loki.  The Vision steals the spotlight in this film.

Paul Bettany as Vision.  My favorite character of the movie

Paul Bettany as Vision.
My favorite character of the movie

Jarvis becomes Vision but Vision is a separate independent thinking being with Jarvis’s knowledge and voice as his developmental template.  Ultron thinks he destroyed Jarvis but Jarvis survived.  Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and Thor bring Vision to life to combat Ultron. Paul Bettany plays Vision and brings lots of humanistic qualities such as compassion, humor, and wisdom to Vision. Vision is so heroic and worthy that he can do something that no one has been able to do pertaining to a certain god.  Vision really stole the show because everybody automatically loves him after his paragraph of dialogue.

Age of Ultron has a few negative aspects. There two unnecessary character deaths in his movie, not going to say who, but future films would benefit with inclusion on these two characters.  The movie is also one long action spectacle that takes about an hour to become emotionally invested in the film. Joss Whedon never explained how Iron Man became Iron Man after he retired at the end of Iron Man 3.   These negative aspects do not take away from the film but it is the reason why Avengers is better than this one.

Overall, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron is a fun superhero film. The new characters and Hawkeye really have a predominant role in this film. I loved the ending of the film. Vision and Ultron were the best parts of the movie.  I will probably do a spoiler blog post on this movie.  Joss Whedon really made a great superhero movie that is a good sendoff for his final helm at a marvel film as far as we know. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron gets a 4.5/5.