Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Catching Up On Marvel

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

My friends have been badgering me to see the Marvel movies fro years, and I’ve resisted on account of having never read or been interested in comic books. I have seen Iron Man 1 and 2, but that was when they were first released, and I have not seeing anything else since then.

I watched all the movies in spaghetti order over the course of a month. I decided to write some brief notes on each one, and score them as I went. They each started with a base score of 7/10, and then I’d bump it up or down purely based on my impressions and level of enjoyment immediately after viewing.

Final Ranking

Thor: Ragnarok                     9.5/10
Captain America: The First Avenger 9.5/10
Avengers: End Game                   9/10
Iron Man 3                           9/10
Ant-Man and the Wasp                 9/10
Avengers: Infinity War             8.5/10
Spider-Man: Homecoming             8.5/10
Iron Man                             8/10
The Avengers                       7.5/10
Doctor Strange                     7.5/10
Ant-Man                            7.5/10
Black Panther                      7.5/10
Captain America: The Winter Soldier  7/10
Avengers: Age of Ultron              7/10
Captain America: Civil War           7/10
The Incredible Hulk                  7/10
Iron Man 2                           7/10
Thor                                 7/10
Thor: The Dark World               6.5/10
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2   6.5/10
Guardians of the Galaxy              6/10
Captain Marvel                     5.5/10

Thoughts per movie

Iron Man

I’ve seen this film multiple times in the past, so I am no re-watching it for this experiment. I think it’s a solid film. I loved the origin story, and felt that the casting was spot on. Tony is a very likeable jerk.

Score: 8/10

The Incredible Hulk

Wait. Edward Norton? I thought that other guy was the hulk. Oh well. This story is pretty good. I thought the opening sequence was amazing at divulging the actual origin using just a montage. Very effective and left more room for a compelling story. The fight sequences are the least interesting part to me. They dragged on a little too long. Also, so much collateral damage. I like that Mr Blue apparently has no morals. Overall, a better film than I expected. The CG hasn’t held up terribly well. Fake skin still looks shiny/plastic-like.

Watched: 3/13/19

Score: 7/10

Iron Man 2

I had seen this one once, but forgot most of it. It was another decent story. I enjoyed the arc we see from Tony where he is trying to come to grips with his mortality. On the technical side, so much of this movie is impossible. One guy, no matter how brilliant, cannot program a drone army with that much autonomy in a few weeks or days, let alone years. There are very complicated problems that need to be solved. They portray it as way too easy. Same with making a particle accelerator. Way to difficult of a problem solved way too quickly for complete suspension of disbelief. I still enjoyed it.

Watched: 3/15/19

Score: 7/10

Thor

I had low expectations. The more fantastical super heroes are not immediately appealing to me. The beginning of the movie in Asgard was not super interesting. How does their culture work? How does their tech work? It just seems like magic. Anthony Hopkins though. He’s a great actor. I like Loki, and how his motives were not predictable. I bought into the idea that he was going to betray his kingdom. I was pleasantly surprised that it was just a scheme to win father’s approval. Thor’s a jerk, but he becomes a nice guy by the end (almost too easily). The fight sequence was shorter that fight sequences in previous films, which was welcomed. Overall, better than I anticipated.

Watched: 3/20/19

Score: 7/10

Captain America: The First Avenger

I really enjoyed the feel of this movie. The World War 2 vibe was really fun and hearkened back to making it feel a bit like an Indiana Jones film. I was amazed at how scrawny they were able to make Captain Rogers appear in the first part of the film. I loved how he was only used as a marketing/morale gimmick at first before proving himself, and how his appearance resembled the original appearance in the comics.

Watched: 3/22/19

Score: 9.5/10

The Avengers

I’m writing my impressions a little after the fact, so my recollections are hazy, but I did enjoy this film. I liked seeing all the characters together and interacting. First off, so much collateral damage! That city was laid to waste. Hulk is indestructible, it seems. It took a bit to buy Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, but by the end, I think he was a good choice. Iron Man really saved the day. I enjoy Tony’s snark throughout the film. Poor Agent Coulson. I liked him. The Heli-Carrier defies a ton of laws of physics… But it’s okay, it’s just a movie. I also like Loki getting smashed by hulk. It was so sudden and unexpected. The after credits scene felt very Whedonesque with the group silently eating their shawarma.

Watched: 3/25/19

Score: 7/10

Iron Man 3

I like Tony Stark. A lot. This was a pretty darned entertaining film. I liked the Mandarin. I liked that it turned out he was an actor. That was a good plot twist I didn’t anticipate. The whole fire-person thing was a bit odd, but that’s to be expected in a comic book story. I liked the pay-off of the throwaway joke about Tony being on his 42nd suit at the beginning, and then having them all come in piloted by Jarvis to save the day. I really like him with Pepper Pots. I think they go well together. I also like how he’s continuing to see that his actions have consequences. Also the fact that he is having a hard time coping with the events of The Avengers made it feel like he’s a real person. I feel like his arc (pun intended) has been really great. Also, he got healed!

Watched: 3/26/19

Score: 9/10

Thor: The Dark World

People seem to not like this movie, and say it is forgettable. It wasn’t bad. Per the usual with Thor movies, I love Loki. He’s so layered that I have no idea what he is actually doing. I had a feeling that the apparent betrayal at the climax was an illusion, and I wasn’t disappointed. The revelation that Loki had taken Odin’s place at the end was insane. Where is Odin?! How did Loki survive?! I really like the idea of the 9 realms aligning and intersecting, and the physics break-down. Overall, it was a good movie, but it was less interesting because so little of it took place on earth.

Watched: 3/27/19

Score: 6.5/10

Guardians of the Galaxy

Man, I’ve heard people rave about this movie. It was okay I suppose. I had some beefs with it though. I certainly didn’t dislike it, but I don’t feel like it lived up to the hype. First of all, tonally and visually, I feel like it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the Marvel movies so far. It felt like some random Sci-Fi action movie. The second thing that bothered me was the amount of swearing. I think it was meant to up the comedic factor, but instead I was thinking the whole time that this wasn’t something I’d let my kids watch for a while. I really like Rocket. He was pretty great throughout, as was Star Lord. They were likeable characters. I also liked the 80’s music throughout.

Watched: 3/28/19

Score: 6/10

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Volume Two was a bit more interesting. I liked Kurt Russell as the father, and the whole story line was interesting. I really like the development of Yondu, and how they explained the relationship between him and Star Lord better. I was sad to see him die at the end. Although I think it was pretty obvious that Star Lord’s dad was going to end up being a bad guy, it was still well done, though the final action sequence dragged on a little long. I liked this one better than the first, but still feel like it feels out of place with the rest of the Marvel universe.

Watched: 3/30/19

Score: 6.5/10

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

This film was pretty good. I liked it less than the first Captain America. The tone was really well done, but the revelation that Hydra was behind shield was a bit of a downer. It feels like the problem is so large that it can’t reasonably be resolved. I like Falcon; He seems like a cool dude.

Watched: 3/31/19

Score: 7/10

Avengers: Age of Ultron

So that’s what Jarvis looks like. I loved how worried Thor looked when Captain America nudged the hammer. The bad guy was so calm and sociopathic. It was off-putting, but I think that was the intent. It was nice that the twins switched sides once they understood the ultimate plan of Ultron.

Watched: 4/4/19

Score: 7/10

Ant-Man

I have heard lot’s about this film, both bad and good before seeing it. I was told it was more comedic, and took itself less seriously, however I found that the film was quite good, and I didn’t think the tone was out of place. The de-aging of Michael Douglas was pretty great. Again, casting was pretty top notch. I thought it was a nice touch that he was a convicted criminal for being a Robin Hood type figure, and not actually a bad or greedy person. I loved all the action sequences that took place when the characters were small. For instance, the train scene in the kid’s room, or around the model at the science facility. Obviously, the superpower in this case was pretty ridiculous, but I think the movie pulled it off, and it was good. I really enjoyed Michael Pena’s round about story telling.

Watched: 4/7/19

Score: 7.5/10

Captain America: Civil War

Oh my goodness. So there are two sides here: Those who will operate within a joint-government jurisdiction, and those who feel that that restriction will cause them to be ineffective in saving the world. I liked how they built up Tony Stark’s character with guilt and PTSD to make it feel natural for him to side with being subject to a United Nations type of oversight. I agree with Tony in this case, and think that Captain America really overstepped his boundaries even though he was ultimately right that his friend was being framed. A pretty good movie. I thought the plot was well layed out. I felt sad that the Avengers weren’t all getting along, and I disagreed with Captain America, but ti was still an exciting movie.

Watched: 4/8/19

Score: 7/10

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Not what I expected at all. Tonally it was lighter. It was almost a coming of age movie. I liked that he wasn’t an avenger. I liked his friend, and the dynamic of everything, and having to keep the secret. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that Mike Keaton (The Vulture?) was his crush’s dad. That was a great moment when it all sinks in. It was really well done. All around, I thought it was a really enjoyable movie.

Watched: 4/9/19

Score: 8.5/10

Black Panther

This is another movie where I had fairly low expectations, but was pretty blown away. At first, I was annoyed by the first glimpse of Wakanda because it annoys me when “primitive” cultures have incredible tech. I was pleasantly surprised to find that their very high tech city was concealed by some sort of holographic technology. There did seem to be a lot of vibranium available considering the entire source was a single asteroid thousands of years ago. How can they mine that little for so long? Anyway, the other thing I liked was the villain. In this case, the villain was not a mindless violent jerk who wants world domination or wants to end human life, but felt that the world could benefit from propagating Wakanda’s technology and secrets. It created a much more nuanced message of right and wrong and a more relatable antagonist. Overall, it was a good movie.

Watched: 4/10/19

Score: 7.5/10

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange was also much better than I anticipated. From the advertisements, I assumed it was some sort of magic movie ripping on the visuals of Inception and the like. I was immediately engrossed in Dr Strange’s cocky fall from surgery. I was pleased that the powers that he ended up studying were not magic, but a form of manipulating the multiverse. I liked how his cloak/cape had it’s own little personality, and I like that he developed from a character that wanted to be the best, and never lose (for his own ego) to a person who would put his life on the line to save others. It showed a slow growth throughout the movie, and I liked it. It didn’t feel sudden or fake. It was an enjoyable film.

Watched: 4/11/19

Score: 7.5/10

Thor: Ragnarok

What a ride! That movie was a perfect mix of action and comedy. It was really heavy, in the fact that Asgard was dealt such a blow, however they managed to keep it light enough that it was enjoyable. I absolutely loved Jeff Goldblum and the whole scene with Hulk. Watching Loki get uncomfortable was hilarious. There were tons of good moments, and I really enjoyed it thoroughly.

Watched: 4/12/19

Score: 9.5/10

Avengers: Infinity War

Thanos’ plan makes no sense, but that’s okay. He’s a villain, and we’ll give it to him. I loved how they took all the characters, and mashed them up into new groups. It was fun seeing new pairings interact with each other, for example, Rocket with Thor. All the side stories were interesting, and it was sad seeing Thanos get the stones one by one. I was shocked Loki died so early on! I thought for sure he was faking it and would show up at the end. Vision’s death was tragic. Tony losing SpiderMan was really hard as well. The movie was really well done, and I enjoyed it. I feel like they should have been able to defeat Thanos between all their diversified powers. Especially Dr Strange and his ability to turn back time. And make portals that sever limbs… Can’t wait to see how it end up getting resolved!

Watched: 4/13/19

Score: 8.5/10

Ant-Man and the Wasp

I really liked this movie. I liked the pacing. I liked the humor. I liked the added tension of Scott trying to not get caught breaking his house arrest, and am glad he made it through entirely and can be free (or on parole, or whatever). The daughter had way better hair this time around. I think it was pretty clear they would be rescuing the mom in this movie based on how the last movie went. It was a good story. I loved the cars and building shrinking/expanding. It was all very entertaining!

Watched: 4/14/19

Score: 9/10

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel seemed like an interesting premise, but overall, I don’t feel like the movie really worked for me. The acting felt stiff and flat throughout. Captain Marvel is also ridiculously overpowered. The de-aged Samuel L. Jackson looked great, and it was nice to see Agent Coulson again. Over-all though, the plot didn’t grip me, and it didn’t have the pacing and humor I expected from a Marvel film.

Score: 5.5/10

Avengers: End Game

It’s amazing seeing the payoff from so many films building up to this moment. The film was long, but didn’t feel long. There was so much to cover and it was all pretty exciting. I was surprised when Thanos was defeated so early on. The movie kept me guessing and I didn’t know exactly where it was going. I tried to go in pretty blind. I liked the “fat Thor” gag, but I thought it got old. I would have liked to have him do a cheesy montage and get back into shape, but it’s not a big deal. Having Ant-Man come back from the quantum realm was great. The time travel was fun, and I loved how they kept talking about time travel movies and how they were wrong. Lots of humor was interwoven which kept the movie from feeling heavy and long. In the end, the time travel felt a little mucky because it wasn’t clear to me personally if they were retrieving the infinity stones from their own timeline, or parallel timelines. It shouldn’t matter since they returned them, but I am looking forward to re-watching it. Overall, it was a good send off, and had a great balance of humor and weight, and it was a tremendous payoff for so much investment.

Score: 9/10

Iron Man

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

I finally got around to seeing Iron Man at the 3 Dollar theater. I wanted to see it before it came out on DVD, and I do think that It was worth it.

I am not as familiar with the origins of Iron Man as I am with other comics, but fortunately the movie did not require any fore-knowledge to be enjoyable. I’m sure die-hard fans caught things which I did not, but that’s to be expected. The visual effects were pretty dang good, and it had some good one liners. I also thought that the casting was well done.

The story built from Iron Man’s beginnings and continued to build through the end. After all the build up of how he becomes Iron Man, there wasn’t much time in the movie where he was Iron Man. He fights the Iron Monger, which is a good action sequence, but not too long. I’m looking forward to a movie where we get to see him in action for a longer amount of time.

Overall, it was a good movie, and I was entertained. I can’t wait to see the sequel.

The Dark Knight

Thursday, July 31st, 2008



Well, I managed to wait two weeks before seeing this movie in theaters. I liked it a lot, but it still could have been better.

The reason I say that this film could have been better is because I didn’t care for the story as much as I did for Batman Begins. In Batman Begins, I enjoyed how they showed his becoming Batman. The technology was somewhat explained and made it feel plausible. Now, he just has new toys and technology without any real explanation. For example, he has the new echo-location system which seemed to far-fetched for my taste. The change of environment also bothered me a little. In Batman Begins, Gotham is a dark city with many high rise buildings, and the giant train infrastructure etc. It felt foreign and different, and dirty. In the Dark Knight the same city felt more familiar, almost like Chicago; Big, but generally clean. The big train infrastructure and thousands of giant high rise buildings from the first film were all gone.

I thought that the performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker lived to the hype. He wasn’t a crazy Jack Nickleson type Joker, but rather and anarchist Joker who wasn’t doing it for the money, just for the kicks. Heath Ledger delivered big time. Over-all, i really think the casting in both this and Batman Begins is fantastic. The visual effect were amazing, the sound and music and also the timing of scenes were all to perfection. Overall, this was an amazing movie.

Wall•E

Sunday, July 20th, 2008



Wow. Can I just say wow? This movie was right up my alley.

One of the things I have always loved about Pixar movies/shorts is the ability to exude humanistic qualities from very non-human objects. (ie: Luxo) Most of their shorts are able to do this without even any dialogue, which is one of the things I really liked about Wall•E. The first portion of the movie was sans-dialogue, or at least very minimalistic dialogue. The humor was accessible to people of all ages, ranging from physical humor, to niche humor especially for the nerds (like me). the movie was a little preachy about saving the planet, but I think it wasn’t too over-the-top.

I liked this movie absolutely. It was amazing, and I can’t wait to go see it again!

I Am Legend

Friday, June 27th, 2008



I liked this movie in some ways, but in others it just didn’t quite do it for me. The overall storyline was good for me. It did what any good movie does. It made me sympathize with the protagonist, it made me contemplate living in that reality, it made me think. It also was scary when appropriate and wasn’t too lame.

The problem I had was that the infected humans didn’t look real enough to take seriously. In scenes where they swarmed, or were in the dark, it looked good. Or at least unnoticeable. In the ending scene however, the graphics kept me from being able to believe the story.

There are two different endings on the DVD. The original ending, which is more of a crowd-pleaser, and the alternate ending, which was more of a contemplative ending which caused me to think and rehash the contents of the movie. I must admit that psychologically, I preferred the alternate ending, and all of its implications. It was much harder to take seriously though because there was more screen time with the infected humans, and it just didn’t look realistic.

Over-all, it was a really good film, and pretty well done. I was thoroughly entertained.

Portal

Saturday, June 14th, 2008


For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, Portal is a puzzle/first person shooter where your only weapon is a gun which can make portals on surfaces through which you can travel. The game-play is pretty straight forward and simple, which is one of the things that appeals to me in a game. I don’t like convoluted controls. Throughout the entire game, there is much humor in various fashions ranging from the GlaDos computer and her whimsical lines to the hidden writing on the wall about the cake and the lovable companion cube. There is a lot of detail that one should appreciate when playing the game.

The concept is fresh. Instead of using a gun with bullets or lasers as in most games, your only means of surviving is finding creative uses for the portal gun. It keeps you thinking and trying. The puzzles are challenging, but at the same time not overwhelming. I felt like it was the perfect balance.

The game did have two shortcomings as far as I’m concerned though; it wasn’t long enough, and it isn’t available on the mac (and probably never will be. Bummer) I passed it in a day. I think just over a couple hours. At any rate, it kept me riveted throughout and had a delightful surprise at the end.

Indiana Jones IV

Saturday, May 24th, 2008



Ok. I have to admit, I have always LOVED the Indiana Jones Movies! This movie was not exactly what I was anticipating at all. Regardless, I thought it was very entertaining, and I will of course add it to my video collection.

The negative:
The thing that disenchanted me throughout the film was the believability factor. To contrast, Raiders of the Lost Ark had some unbelievable scenes dealing with the mystical powers associated with the ark of the covenant. These scenes, although not representative of the reality we experience, represents the power we grew up learning about in Sunday school, and is thus familiar in one way or another and adds a layer of believability to the film. In the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the crux of the story revolves around aliens and perhaps a parallel universe. For me, it was seemingly more far fetched than previous films, of course many could say that the thuggee rituals and powers of religious artifacts from the original trilogy are just as outlandish. It’s just a matter of opinion. There were also some scenes where I was distracted by some obvious CGI work that took me out of the story. The monkeys looked fake, the sword fight looked fake, the warehouse looked fake, and no-one could survive a landing like that in a refrigerator, let alone an atomic blast. I’m being very nit-picky here, but these were the things that made the movie not perfect for me.

The positive:
Despite what I just said about the story, I really liked it. I liked the way the aliens were portrayed, and I like the postulations of alien intelligence giving knowledge to ancient people. It wasn’t too predictable, and the story wasn’t all revealed at the beginning. As for the action, it kept me excited, and there were lots of good fight scenes. Harrison Ford pulled off his character again after all these years, which I was originally worried about.

So, when all is said and done, I thought it was a great movie, and very entertaining. The story kept me enthralled, and the characters were all interesting and well played.

KOHL’S Customer Service

Monday, May 19th, 2008


I must say, a tip of the hat to Kohl’s customer service is deserved. Last september I purchased 2 pairs of jeans from Kohl’s. Both were Lee jeans of similar style, but differing color. 8 months later, I was dismayed to find that one pair had grown a large hole whilst the other appeared to look new. I don’t do a lot of strenuous labor, and was therefore surprised to find such wear on a product. I decided to take it to Kohl’s and see if there was anything they could do. I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that both representatives I talked to were more than happy to allow me to exchange the pants out with new ones at no charge. I must say that I was not expecting such service.Although I was really expecting to shell out more money for a new pair of pants, this is the type of service we should expect. They have succeeded in acquiring a repeat customer. Thanks!