Friday, May 2, 2014

Moonlight Movie Reviews - Spidey, Cap and S.H.I.E.L.D.

First, remember, today is...

Get ready for a Marvelpalooza!

Though I have a lot to say here, I'm going to try not to ramble on much over anything, as it's late on another work night for me. But, if you haven't guessed already, yeah, I just saw "The Amazing Spider-Man 2".

Peter Parker returns in this sequel to the reboot starring Andrew Garfield as Spidey and Emma Stone as his love, Gwen Stacy. In case you don't remember, I went into the first film expecting to be a bit disappointed. I loved the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire films, I even am able to enjoy the third one seemingly more than most people, even if it did have problems (but I liked Emo Peter and his dance scene; talk about an overblown audience reaction to something quite entertaining!). However, when I finally saw the reboot, man, I was blown away! It made the Raimi series, great as it was, look like a Saturday morning cartoon in comparison! "The Amazing Spider-Man" was a serious Spidey theatrical film, and I LOVED it! Also, Emma Stone, who I have always thought was cute but wasn't blown away by, yeah, she blew me away as Gwen Stacy. So, I was eager for the next film in this new series. Then, I heard about it having three villains. This naturally worried most of us, didn't it? Historically, adding more and more villains does not bode well for comic book sequels. Maybe that theory is all based on Schumacher's Bat-travesties, but, oh, yeah, there was Spidey 3 as well. Oh well, I was gonna give it a chance, and I'm glad I did. This may not be the popular opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed almost everything about Amazing Spider-Man 2.

As Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy graduate from high school, we see Peter has been constantly struggling with the promise he made to Gwen's father to stay away from her so she wouldn't get hurt. We also see Peter delve more into what happened to his parents. Meanwhile, Peter's old friend, Harry Osborn, is back in town to take over his father's company, and a nerdy scientist becomes obsessed with Spider-Man before becoming an electricity-based freak of nature. Harry discovers he is dying from the same disease that just killed his father, and he decides he needs Spider-Man's blood to make a cure, causing him to enlist the aid of Electro against Spidey. This is basically what Spidey 2 is about this time 'round. It's got a lot of teen angst romance stuff, and it's more angsty than in the first film, but the stars are so great that it doesn't annoy the audience. What does get annoying is how Batman Forever-ish Jamie Foxx plays the supervillain, Electro. I am fine with him after he becomes Electro, actually, but before that, ugh. It's probably the only thing that I didn't like about this film. The rest was pretty much awesome!

The action sequences were excellent, as were the performances. I love how, of all the comic films I've seen (and I'm not saying this is the best line or anything), this new Spidey series is the best about getting comicy with the villains and the fights without being over the top. I mean, they weren't afraid to do the Lizard, and they did some amazing stuff with Electro too. Some of the fight scenes really looked like they could be panels in a comic book. Okay, I can complain that I still haven't seen a Goblin costume that reminds me enough of the comics, at least what I've seen of them, and in that regard, maybe the first Sam Raimi film was better (though I didn't love that either), but whatever. Something I have to mention is that Green Goblin is hardly in this one at all, and same with Rhino. All that worry about three villains was totally unnecessary. These were really just villains created at the end for use in future films. Though, Goblin still plays quite a significant role in a huge moment at the end of this one. A very major, powerful moment. This film, like the previous one, is fantastic with the drama and emotion. But, getting back to what I was saying, yeah, this movie sticks well with the villains being just Electro and Harry Osborn as Harry Osborn for the less actiony villain stuff. It's funny though, people didn't want to see a bunch of villains crammed into one movie (though that's coming soon, Sinister Six, y'all!), but when it turned out they weren't really doing that, people are now complaining that the other two villains were pointless! What the heck? Just because they were not the main villains of the film? Okay, Osborn was, but not as Goblin. I thought this film did a great thing by focusing just on Electro and the human version of Harry, just changing him into Gobby towards the end. And Rhino, well, he was just a teaser. I'm not sure why that is something to complain about either. Like the previous film, this movie is more than anything about Spidey and Gwen and stopping a baddie. Like the previous film, it was great in that respect! I wish some aspects of of the villains were different here, but I am very happy with the fact that this wasn't a Rhino, Goblin, Electro movie, though, yeah, again, I know something even bigger than that is coming down the pike.

Anyway, gotta move on, but that's my opinion on Amazing Spider-Man 2. It's not perfect, but I liked it a lot. I do, however, still wish this was in the hands of Marvel/Disney, as I wish all the Marvel characters were. And it makes me wonder if they have the rights to do a live-action Spidey TV series. If they do, they really should, and tie it in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe the way they do Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Perhaps they could do an X-Men TV series as well. Perhaps they CAN have everything if they are just smart about it, and if they can get some of the biggest movie actors they have for occasional cameos. It'd be worth it to mix Spidey up with the MCU Avengers a little bit, and before everyone has to be recast. But, I digress...

And now, here's something waaaay overdue...

Okay, I feel really bad about this one. I really thought I'd review this movie early, not so late it's practically pointless. I mean, I saw it in the theater the day it came out, and I saw it again a couple weeks ago. Everyone has seen this by now though, and so, I'm going to keep this short and sweet. "Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier"...

This film is part of the ultimate line of comic book films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's the film franchise owned by Disney and run by Marvel. It's the real deal, though it lacks some of the biggest properties' film rights, mainly Spidey and X-Men, but I'm assuming a few other still too. The Winter Soldier has been out for a while now, and people have been raving. And, this film deserves the raves. It's simply an amazing movie. Set after Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor 2... this film is as much "S.H.I.E.L.D." the movie as it is Cap 2, but, even being set decades after the first Cap, this one picks up after it and Avengers sooo perfectly! Many have said it is a superhero movie that isn't a superhero movie. Well, it is, but it's also a lot of other things. I believe the Cinema Snob referred to it as, "The Fugitive meets Terminator 2 meets Skyfall (007)," or something to that affect (don't remember if he said the Fugitive or something else), and that is totally on the money. Basically, this film is about a Hydra sleeper cell within S.H.I.E.L.D., the secret government agency Cap and Nick Fury work for, coming out of hiding and taking over, with plans to do much worse than that. With a trio of those massive helicarriers from Avengers set to take out anyone who can stop them, Hydra intends to take over the world. But, first they must take out Captain America, who has gone into hiding along with Black Widow as they try to figure out what's up and whom they can trust. Once they do, they enlist the aid of a winged vet known as Falcon to help them take down Hydra and defeat their mysterious warrior, the Winter Soldier.

Everything about Winter Soldier is pretty much perfect. I honestly can say nothing more than that. This is a movie that has to be seen to be believed. It is simply excellent. It even has Robert Redford in a major role. Oh, and Emily VanCamp is just mouthwatering in it. I personally thought Scarlett Johansson looked a little pasty and sickly in this one, especially when she first pulls up in a car to pick up Cap in the beginning, but I guess I'm the only guy who thought this. Oh, and Jenny Agutter was in this kicking butt! That was cool! I could rave and rave about this movie, but that'd be boring. Make sure you've seen this one. It's fantastic. And, yes, there's stuff in the credits, and there's stuff after the credits. The bit at the end of the credits was the one disappointing thing though. It was just kinda... nothin'. I suppose the same could be said of the bit at the end of Thor 2. They need to get their groove back on the post-credit stuff. We loved them when they were worth the wait. The one at the end of Iron Man 2 was excellent.

Now, before I go, I wanna point something out, and maybe you've heard this already. Captain America 2 caused a major shakeup in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it did so by basically (SPOILER ALERT) putting an end, sorta, to the agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D.  As you might imagine, this had a major affect on the TV series, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." This TV series, which was getting a lot of negative feedback from the beginning as being somewhat... underwhelming, is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and their episodes always tie in with the events of the latest films in their universe. Cap 2 was no exception. The episodes that aired around the feature film's release did fit in with the events of The Winter Soldier, and now, on the show, S.H.I.E.L.D. is Hydra and the agents are on the run trying to figure out what to do. And, let me tell ya, this show has gotten INCREDIBLE! It is excellent now! The show has completely switched gears, and it's really freakin' awesome! The cameos lately have been great too! We had a whole Lady Sif from "Thor" episode not too long ago, but last episode featured Cobie Smulders' character from "The Avengers", and I believe Sam Jackson is slated for the upcoming season finale as Nick Fury in a role that, I suspect, is going to be much larger than his previous 5 second cameo near the beginning. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has truly come around, just as I always thought it would, and if you're  not watching it yet, you certainly should start now! There are more reasons to watch now that just Agent Coulson and some of the hottest ladies on TV. It's actually a really great show now! Yeah, we even saw the cellist! And she was a total dreamgirl! One that we Buffy/Angel fans are not unfamiliar with, ha.

Okay gang, that's all I have time for, for now. But seriously looking forward to the new X-Men flick, Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy as well. Really wish Disney would startup a live-action, MCU Spidey show and X-Men show if that's legally doable for them. Seems like the perfect workaround. And make sure to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now if you can't get enough of the MCU in theaters!
And, just remembered, one more thing!!!

On Saturday May 10th, 2014, that's a week from this post, The Alamo Drafthouse is having a Marvel themed Cartoon Cereal Party at two of its Austin, TX locations! Unfortunately, I work Saturdays and these are being held at 11am on Slaughter and Noon at Lakeline. I will miss them both. This sucks, because I'm always trying to catch these cartoon cereal parties! I have only made it out to one so far (a monster themed party two Halloweens ago)! I was so annoyed about missing the Superman one recently, but I didn't know about it till it was too late! Anyway, these parties are great! All you can eat cereal and two hours of a variety of cartoons under a specific theme! Don't miss it! Support these awesome cartoon cereal parties! Maybe someday I will finally make it out to another one, and maybe finally meet a girl who likes to watch cartoons as much as me, ha. Now, don't forget about Free Comic Book Day today! Excelsior!

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