Tagged: Jack Kirby

Summary: Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th July 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 18th October 2017

Country: United States

Director: Jon Watts

Screenwriter: John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Jonathan Goldstein, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jon Watts, Steve Ditko (original comic book), Jack Kirby (original comic book), Stan Lee (original comic book), Joe Simon (original comic book)

Cast: Isabella Amara (Sally), Tunde Adebimpe (Mr. Cobbwell), Abraham Attah (Abe), Michael Barbieri (Charles), Jacob Batalon (Ned), Garcelle Beauvais (Doris Toomes), Christopher Berry (Randy), Hannibal Buress (Coach Wilson), Michael Chernus (Phineas Mason/The Tinkerer), Kenneth Choi (Principal Morita), Kerry Condon (Friday (voice)), Jennifer Connolly (Karen/Suit Lady (voice)), Tyne Daley (Anne Marie Hoag), Ethan Dizon (Tiny), Robert Downey Jnr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Tiffany Espensen (Cindy), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Donald Glover (Aaron Davis), Laura Harrier (Liz), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Michael Keaton (Adrian Toomes/Vulture), Stan Lee (Gary), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Jason), Selenis Leyva (Ms. Warren), Hemke Madera (Mr. Delmar), Michael Mando (Mac Gargan), Logan Marshall-Green (Jackson Brice/Shocker #1),Nitin Nohria (Dean Crimson), Gwenyth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), John Penick (Mr. Hapgood), Tony Revolori (Flash), Angourie Rice (Betty), Martin Starr (Mr. Harrington), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), J.J. Totah (Seymour), Gary Weeks (Agent Foster), Bokeem Woodbine (Herman Schultz/Shocker #2), Zendaya (Michelle)

Runtime: 133 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Kyle McGrath’s Spider-Man: Homecoming Review:

Spider-Man: Homecoming follows the title character and his alter ego Peter Parker on his early steps of becoming the hero he yearns to be.  After being enlisted by Tony Stark/Iron Man to assist in Captain America: Civil War (2016) Peter Parker is dropped off home, given a shiny new Spider-Man costume and pretty much told “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. Ambitious to prove himself worthy of being an Avenger he sets out to fight crime wherever he can while also struggling with the pitfalls of being an otherwise normal high school kid. His enthusiasm may soon gets the better of him when he discovers an underground operation in dealing weapons made from the stolen technology leftover from previous Avengers battles.

The elephant in the room with Spider-Man Homecoming is that this is the 3rd big screen incarnation of Spider-Man since 2002. This time the web crawler officially being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The previous films each had their ups and downs but the general consensus seems to be that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films were better with Tobey Maguire making a better Peter Parker whereas The Amazing Spider-Man films found a better Spider-Man performance in Andrew Garfield with some other fan preferences such as Gwen Stacy as a love interest rather than skipping straight to Mary Jane Watson and mechanical web-shooters rather than organic (a distinction I never cared about).

Spider-Man Homecoming brings some new interesting things to the table while some others feel weaker. I believe Tom Holland walks the line quite well and works quite well as the younger less experienced and still in high school Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

Otherwise the films visuals and musical score felt a little generic never coming close to standing out as well as Sam Raimi and Danny Elfman did all the way back in 2002. Speaking of which the CGI of Homecoming itself looks not much better after 15 years of technological progress, often characters looking like something from a computer game or the transition between CGI to live action, such as Michael Keaton’s character leaving his “Vulture” wingsuit, appears quite jarring. Most of these large CGI sequences seem to take place at night too, it could have just been poor lighting in my cinema but it was extremely dark and felt like a possible shortcut with CGI usually looking more real with less lighting.

The film’s story itself reminded me of Kick-Ass be it without the style or comedy of Matthew Vaughn & Mark Millar with Peter trying to be a “friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man”. I found this to be an interesting new take on the character and something we’ve not yet seen in the MCU: a small time loser hero trying to do his thing in the shadow of giants like Thor, The Hulk or Captain America.

With any reboot certain changes had to be made so that the filmmakers aren’t just making the same film again. Flash Thompson Esther than being a stereotypical jock bully and symbol of everything Peter wished he could be is now a weedy little prick. The once elderly aunt May is now “hot aunt May” as the characters like to remind us and the less said about the new “MJ” the better.

Other major changes are that this is not another origin story. Rather picking up in the middle of Peter’s journey of self discovery as a super hero. An issue here is that while films like Tim Burton’s Batman or even the MCU’s The Incredible Hulk showed you don’t NEED to do an origin story to introduce your hero, you still do need to introduce them and Homecoming really does not. The feeling is that Spider-Man’s powers and back story don’t need to be given much thought because they’ve been done to death already. Well too bad. This is potentially people’s FIRST Spider-Man film and outside influences shouldn’t play any part in it. Not giving a proper set up because everyone should already know is like not introducing Harry Potter correctly in the film adaptation of Philosophers Stone because “well everyone’s read the book right?”

Peter’s character development this time comes more from his desire to prove himself than his feelings of guilt over his indirect involvement in his uncle’s death like before. This was an interesting change but to be honest the time Peter spends in this naive phase goes on way too long and most of the film seems to be him rescuing people from disasters he himself caused or his selfishly helping people in the first place only because he seeks glory and to be considered one of The Avengers. This would be like if Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins stayed in “scared angry man with a gun mode” until nearly the end of the film.

I think Peter himself is obsessed so much with the Avengers as a symptom of this film being obsessed with being considered part of the MCU. Again it’s an interesting way to approach at first but the Avengers just overshadow EVERYTHING in this film. Even the film’s title itself seems to more reference a “return home to the MCU” than anything in the film itself. The very first thing you see is a child’s drawing of them and the very last thing you’ll see is a post credits cameo from one of them and rarely 10 minutes will go by without some reference to them. Spider-Man’s motivation revolves around them, the film’s antagonist revolves around them and Tony Stark while barely making much of an appearance in the film is still focused on more than Michael Keaton as The Vulture leading to him feeling like a lackluster villain. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad he didn’t just want to turn the whole city into birds using a gas or something but when his entire scheme is spending 8 years stealing Avengers related tech, turning it into odd weapons and selling it out of the back of a van to random street thugs under bridges I have to ask “who cares?”.

The worst part of this is that the movie barely feels like it stars Spider-Man at all. Even his suit is some sort of Tony Stark designed super tech nonsense which only manages to downplay the ACTUAL superpowers Peter is supposed to have. Effectively he’s a super strong, super agile kid in a suit with a bunch of gadgets. It may as well also be what allows him to walk up walls as it does everything else for him!

If the film can’t go 10 minutes without an Avengers reference it also can’t seem to go 30 seconds without making a funny. In some kind of spray ‘n pray approach to comedy Homecoming is so afraid of being seen as taking itself too seriously that it hardly ever allows a scene to end without some gag tacked on just for the sake of it. Comedy relief only really works if you allow tension to build in the first place and when there are multiple gags happening it just drives a truck through the middle of a scene that’s designed to have you on the edge of your seat. Then when the big heavy scenes come along such as Michael Keaton trying to be intimidating they just don’t work. The film hasn’t earned that response from the audience because any other time it came close to a similar tone someone immediately then had to slip on a banana peel.

Spider-Man Homecoming unfortunately doesn’t hold a candle to Sam Raimi’s 2002 film. It’s lacking as an introduction to this new Spider-Man and feels too focused on latching on to the hugely popular MCU films to be comfortable in telling its own story and too eager to make its audience laugh to build any drama for its underdeveloped characters. As an addition to the mountain of superhero films it’s entertaining enough and different enough to warrant a viewing but not interesting enough to be very memorable.

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:  

 

 

IMDB Rating:  Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Spider-Man: Homecoming Reviews: N/A

 

Trailer:

Captain America Civil War

Summary: As the government asks the Avengers to be brought together under the one umbrella Tony Stark/Iron-Man (Robert Downey Jnr.) and Steve Rodgers/Captain America find themselves going to war as they both stand for their ideals.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Screenwriter: Christopher Markus, Steven McFeely, Mark Millar (comic book), Jack Kirby (characters), Joe Simon (characters)

Cast: Gozie Agbo (Dr. Broussard), Paul Bettany (Vision), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther), Daniel Bruhl (Zemo), Don Cheadle (Lieutenant James Rhodes/War Machine), Kerry Condon (Friday (voice)), Hope Davis (Maria Stark), Robert Downey Jnr. (Tony Stark/Iron-Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rodgers/Captain America), Gene Farber (Karpov), Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow/Crossbones), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), William Hurt (Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), John Kani (King T’Chaka), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Jim Rash (M.I.T. Liaison), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), John Slattery (Howard Stark), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Solider), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), Alfre Woodard (Miriam), Jane Wu (U.N. Staffer Wu)

Runtime: 147 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

So far 2016 has delivered mixed results for comic book fans right around the world. While we were very impressed with the way that Deadpool stuck to the comic itself despite the possibility of making it a cinema unfriendly film we were all disappointed that Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice didn’t live up to the dizzying heights we all wanted it to. With those results echoing in our heads we all approached Captain America: Civil War with some trepidation. Even as a series in itself Marvel’s Avengers series has been up and down. While Captain America: Winter Soldier was a brilliant film, Avengers: Age Of Ultron was a bit of a letdown. Well you can all take a big breath and relax comic book fans because Captain America: Civil War delivers with a massive payload.

For those that haven’t read the comics surrounding the Marvel Civil War series Captain America: Civil War sees Steve Rodgers/Captain America (Chris Evans – Snowpiercer) go head-to-head with Tony Stark/Ironman (Robert Downey Jnr. – The Judge) after Rodgers decides that he can’t be part of the Avengers if it means they now have to answer to Government department… as he points out Governments can have agendas. With pressure mounting after a mission led by Captain America, Falcon (Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen – Godzilla) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson- Lucy) ends in civilian casualties Stark is quick to sign the agreement but Rodgers refuses.

Tensions rise even more when the new Government led Avengers are asked to bring in Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan – The Martian) after he is blamed for a terrorist attack. Something that Rodgers believes he is innocent of. Cue the war.

When leaving the cinema after the premiere of Captain America: Civil War one thing was going through my mind, and that was that the Russo Brothers who directed this film and true action film geniuses. Trying to fit so many comic book characters into one film could have failed really badly. In their hands it doesn’t. For many directors (I’m looking at you Zack Snyder and Michael Bay) this film would have been an excuse to throw characterisation right out the window and instead just concentrate on explosions and fighting galore. That isn’t the case here, while the film not only allows fans to know exactly how each Avenger is feeling as the split happens we also get an introduction to two new Avengers – Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman – Gods Of Egypt) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland – In The Heart Of The Sea) and get a real feel for their characters despite the fact that time doesn’t allow for a huge introduction into their lives.

The characterisation really comes to the fore though with the friendship breakdown between Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark though. This isn’t just simply raised fists at twenty paces like it was in Batman vs Superman, no Civil War really allows the audience to see the pain the two men are going through as their friendship erodes and as a result it is easier to understand exactly what leads to the battles that we end up witnessing.

Having said that though the Russos have not forgotten that a movie like this needs action sequences and boy do they deliver on that level. If you were impressed with the action scenes in Winter Soldier then you are going to be blown away with what you see here. While Iron Man and Captain America’s hand-to-hand battle is something that every true comic book fan is going to savour what really steals the show here is the amazing car chase involving Falcon, Cap and Winter Solider, and then of course the epic airport battle that is truly Avenger vs Avenger with battle lines drawn. While the Russos make this scene look good, they also bring in some creative use of the environment around the characters and also manage to deliver some light hearted moments made possible by the smart-ass antics of Spider-Man and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd – Role Models). You wouldn’t think that action and comedy would gel so well together, but somehow the Russos manage to pull it off. So impressive are what the Russos seem to be able to do with action sequences it has to be said that they are now the best action directors around currently and they are doing for the genre what James Cameron did with the Terminator films all those years ago.

So good is the screenplay for Captain America: Civil War that this is one of the first times in this franchise that the actors have really had a chance to show their skills. Robert Downey Jnr. brings his acting A-Game to this film, he seriously puts as much effort in here as he did in dramatic films like The Judge. Even Chris Evans shows that he is more than just a pretty boy actor while Paul Rudd is backed up the comedic stakes by Tom Holland who brings a fresh new feel to the Spider-Man character. While it does take a bit to get used to Holland as Spider-Man his wise-cracking version of Peter Parker does grow you and by the time he exits the screen you find yourself looking forward to the forthcoming Spider-Man movie.

Captain America: Civil War is what we all dreamed it would be… it fact it goes beyond expectations. If it wasn’t just a little bit long you would have to say that it is the perfect action film. With spectacular action sequences, great suspense and a well-written screenplay this is one film I am going to watch over and over.

 

Stars(4)

 

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam Ross’s Captain America: Civil War review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #174.

Stars(5)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick Gardener’s Captain America: Civil War review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #174.

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Captain America: Civil War (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Captain America: Civil War reviews: You can also listen to our full Captain America: Civil War review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #174.

Trailer:

Ant-Man

Summary: Life isn’t going well for Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). After famously being arrested for a modern day Robin Hood crime his release from prison finds himself unable to keep down a job – a big issue since his ex-wife, Maggie (Judy Greer), and her new partner Police Detective Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) won’t give him any form of custody to his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Forsten).

He finally gives in to his best friend’s urges and decides to help out with a heist that suddenly finds him being recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to become ‘Ant-Man.’ While Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), thinks it is a bad idea soon Scott is being trained to help prevent the money hungry Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from selling technology that is destined to be used for evil.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th July 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: Peyton Reed

Screenwriter: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd, Stan Lee (comic), Jack Kirby (comic), Larry Lieber (comic)

Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Carlos Aviles (Carlos), Nicholas Barrera (Ernesto), Bobby Cannavale (Paxton), Joe Chrest (Frank), Robert Crayton (Peachy), David Dastmalchian (Kurt), Martin Donovan (Mitchell Carson), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Abby Ryder Fortson (Cassie Lang), Judy Greer (Maggie Lang), Dax Griffin (Young Pym), Wood Harris (Gale), Tom Kenny (Hideous Rabbit), Lyndsi LaRose (Emily), Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Cesar Mendoza (Gabriel), Jordi Molla (Castillo), Michael Pena (Luis), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), John Slattery (Howard Stark), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Corey Stoll (Darren Cross/Yellowjacket), T.I. (Dave), Gregg Turkington (Dale), Danny Vasquez (Ignacio)

Runtime: 117 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ANT-MAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The Marvel universe has been chugging along quick nicely for a while now. The franchise has peaked with amazing films like Guardians Of The Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier and even it’s weaker films, Thor 2 etc, are films that are worth more than one watch. But now comes the film that many would consider the problem child for Marvel, Ant-Man.

So why is Ant-Man the film that seems to have been causing Marvel the most amount of trouble. Well first of all the fanboys have been all over the film, criticizing the casting of Paul Rudd (like they did with Robert Downey Jnr. before Iron Man) and seemingly being outraged that they would even entertain inserting comedy into the film (yep because nobody had a chuckle during Guardians Of The Galaxy). But like is the case with so many problem children the real root of the issue was happening behind closed doors. See Ant-Man was supposed to be a Edgar Wright film. Yes the man who is largely responsible for the Cornetto Trilogy was supposed to be at the helm, but because he didn’t fall into Marvel’s line found himself turfed out and replaced with Peyton Reed (the man who brought us Bring It On), but the good news is that despite all this upheaval Ant-Man turns out to be a pretty decent film.

Now before you go into the cinema to feat on Ant-Man be aware that the problems behind the scenes have resulted in Ant-Man being very different to any of the other films in the Marvel universe, but that actually ends up being a good thing. Gone are the epic scenes of large flying ships crashing to Earth or the destruction of a major city and instead we are left with an action packed scene that occurs in a little girl’s bedroom but will have you laughing out loud as a giant Thomas The Tank Engine goes crashing out of the side of the house. Yes it is scenes like that has Edgar Wright’s finger prints all over it.

There are things that let Ant-Man down a little, the most annoying being that Michael Pena and Bobby Cannavale are simply playing walking clichés, but the plusses certainly outweigh the negatives. The screenwriting team have inserted the much needed heart that was missing from Avengers: Age Of Ultron as both Hank and Scott try to repair the relationships with their daughters while the well-written script has allows some of the cast to bring their A-Game to the acting stakes as well.

Yes that is right everybody it seems that throughout this film that Michael Douglas forgets that he is in a comic book movie and actually turns up his acting output to that of what we recently saw in Arbitrage. Douglas is on fire here and it seems to have a carry on affect on some of the actors around him as well. Evangeline Lilly brilliantly plays a character with divided loyalty and it is Hope that much of the suspense centres around. Is she really on Pym and Scott’s side or is her loyalty to Darren Cross more than what they bargained for? She plays the double agent well and you can only hope that both her and Douglas are used more in the Avengers franchise now.

Then there is Paul Rudd, who as I previously mentioned had the fanboys baying for his blood before the film was even released. Now I will admit that I was skeptical about Paul Rudd’s ability to play an action hero, but he well and truly made me eat my words with his performance. Rudd not got buff for the role but seems to become Ant-Man with complete ease. He manages to pull off the action sequences awesomely well, while it is also some of his quick wit and one liners that make the film a please to watch. Apparently we should also be thanking him for helping the script run smoothly after Wright’s departure… so Mr. Rudd from the bottom of our heart we thank you.

So the best way to approach Ant-Man is to go into the cinema not expecting anything like you have seen in the Marvel universe to date. Yes Ant-Man has two Avengers appear (one in the main frame of the film, the other in the credits) and there are a few references to the Avengers and Spider-Man, but this is very much a film that is out there on its own. Yes this is a child that is very different to its siblings, but sometimes they make the best friends, right? Ant-Man is enjoyable enough to make you hope that the character appears again somewhere… very soon.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam’s full Ant-Man review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #138

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Ant-Man review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

Stars(4)

 

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Ant-Man review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #138

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Ant-Man (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Ant-Man reviews: You can listen to our Ant-Man review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #138. You can also read our Ant-Man review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.  There is also an alternative Ant-Man review on Heavy Cinema.

Trailer:

Avengers; Age Of Ultron

Summary: When Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) accidentally unleash the evil that is Ultron (James Spader) onto the world it is up to themselves, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to re-group and once again try to save the world.

But as Ultron’s extra-intelligence helps him stay ahead of The Avengers as he prepares to destroy them and then mankind, he is also aided by the mysterious powers of newcomers Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd April, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Joss Whedon

Screenwriter: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee (comics), Jack Kirby (comics)

Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Paul Bettany (Jarvis/The Vision), Linda Cardellini (Laura), Don Cheadle (Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine), Robert Downey Jnr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Lou Ferrigno (Hulk (voice)), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Anthony Henry (Charlie Nash), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Samuel L/ Jackson (Nick Fury),  Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Claudia Kim (Dr. Helen Cho), Thomas Kretschmann (Baron Wolfgang von Strucker), Stan Lee (Veteran), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Nick W. Nicholson (Dr. Taryl Jenkins), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Zrinka), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaw), Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), James Spader (Ultron (voice)), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver)

Runtime: 141 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Joss Whedon finds himself in an unusual predicament with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. When he took the helm of the franchise with The Avengers he created an action film so perfect that many were labeling the best action film ever made. Now Whedon has the hard task of trying to match that with his latest Avengers installment… only one poor man can relate, poor Christopher Nolan who had to back up the Oscar winning The Dark Knight with The Dark Knight Rises. Adding more problems for Whedon was the fact that the Russo’s further enhanced the franchise with the epically wonderful Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Whedon hits the ground running with Avengers: Age Of Ultron starting the film mid battle which amazingly enough creatively gives each Avenger their own piece of screen time to show exactly what they are capable of. To Whedon’s credit he doesn’t muck around re-introducing the members of the Avengers, no if you haven’t seen the other films in the franchise… tough!!! From there the film is topsy-turvy though. Once again Whedon’s special effects team goes into overdrive with some amazing sequences, although he should probably hold back so many slo-mo shots though as they become tedious after awhile. Surely such a creative director could have thought of some other kinds of shots, especially seeing at times Whedon manages to take his audience right inside the battle with some pretty creative directional moves.

While Whedon does at least create a very creative way to place the Earth in peril and some of the film’s deep points on those who set out to bring peace to this world, the politics of war or those with a God-complex are quite thought provoking, other parts of the films will let down their audience. The mind-bending scenes that come as a result of Scarlet Witch messing with the brains of The Avengers seem to lack the certain something they need to really standout. The attempts of Whedon to make them artsy certainly didn’t work and many audience members will find themselves tuning out during them.

Also missing this time around is a lot of the humor that made the first Avengers movie so memorable. Yes there are the occasional funny moments and lines (thanks largely to Tony Stark) but nothing as good as the Hulk smashing Loki moment from Avengers. Now talking about Loki, that also raises the biggest fault with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Loki was everything that you want in a bad guy – evil, cheeky and strong but here you’ll quickly find that Ultron is a little bit of a bland villain. Yes he is formidable and he is strong, but instead of making you chuckle his ‘pearls of wisdom’ threaten to make your brain explode as you try to think about. The logic behind Ultron is also strangely like the internet demon that Willow created in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the giant robot that Spike and Angel tried to build in the strange series… at least Mr. Whedon is borrowing from his own material.

The other thing that is going to peeve off comic book fans as well is the treatment of Quicksilver. Now I know that X-Men is currently owned by a different company but it does seem a little weird that the Quicksilver here in Avengers: Age Of Ultron has a very different back story to the Quicksilver we now know in the X-Men franchise. Sadly, I can’t tell you though why the two different Quicksilvers in the two different franchise is going to mess with the minds of fans even more because sadly that would be giving away a major plot point of this film… all I will say though is it will completely mess with you and have you tearing your hair out.

The one thing though that does prevent Avengers: Age Of Ultron from becoming a really bland comic book movie is that this is a movie that does have some heart. Yes it lacks the storylines that have been so strong in the pervious films in this franchise but at least it has heart. The hidden family of one the Avengers that is revealed and also the budding relationship between two Avengers almost makes up for the ludicrous lines uttered to cover up the fact that neither Gwenyth Paltrow or Natalie Portman wanted to return this time around.

It is easy to see that Avengers: Age Of Ultron will frustrate many of its fans. While Joss Whedon does need to be congratulated on the epic scale of this film (although it does pale when put alongside Captain America: Winter Solider) this film simply just doesn’t front up to the brilliance of the original The Avengers. Yes the film contains love, death and violence but you won’t be remembering this film for years to come like you did Whedon’s first journey into the Marvel universe. Oh and be prepared for a bit of a morose finale that leaves the audience with more questions than it answers, keeping in mind that it has already been announced that this is the last film that will contain this line-up of the Avengers. There might be some weeping amongst true fans of the franchise.

 

Stars(4)

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam’s full Avengers: Age Of Ultron review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(4)

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg’s full Avengers: Age Of Ultron review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Avengers: Age Of Ultron review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(2)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Avengers: Age Of Ultron reviews: You will also be able to hear our Avengers: Age Of Ultron review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126.

Trailer:

 

Captain America The Winter Soldier Poster

Summary: Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and teams up with Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, to battle a powerful yet shadowy enemy in present-day Washington, D.C.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd April, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Screenwriter: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Ed Brubaker (concept), Joe Simon (comic), Jack Kirby (comic)

Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Alan Dale (World Security Committee Member), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow/Crossbones), Chin Han (Councilman Yen), Maximiliano Hernandez (Jasper Sitwell), Demetrice Jakson (Marty), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola), Thomas Kretschmann (Baron Wolfgang von Strucker), Stan Lee (Guard), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/The Falcon), Callan Mulvey (Jack Rollins), Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce), Garry Shandling (Senator Stern), Jon Skarloff (XO Commander Russo), Colbie Smulders (Maria Hill), Georges St. Pierre (Georges Bartoc/Bartoc The Leaper), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter/Agent 13), Bernard White (Councilman Nagendra Singh)

Runtime: 136 mins

Classification:CTC

OUR CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

David Griffiths:

There was a time when the original Captain America film was the weak link in the Marvel film franchise. Then came along Iron Man 3 which seemed to disappoint a lot of critics and fans alike… there were also a few (present writing company not included) that was disappointed in Thor 2 as well. So really there was a fair bit of pressure on Marvel with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, would the franchise just keep going downhill after the mountain peak that was The Avengers.

To be honest what scared me the most about going into Captain America: The Winter Soldier was who was directing it. Now I have nothing personal against Anthony and Joe Russo, in fact I admire the fact they are part of the team behind one of my favourite television shows of all time – Community, what I was more worried about was the fact that they are largely comedy directors and it didn’t seem right that the men behind You, Me And Dupree were now in charge of a big blockbuster action franchise film. Well, I’m here to admit that I was wrong, because aside from putting this franchise back on track Captain America: The Winter Soldier also reveals The Russos as a hidden talent in the action directing stakes.

The film opens with a seemingly adjusted Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) who now outwardly seems to have settled into his new role as a full-time agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. However we soon learn, that on the inside his feelings are completely different. Aside from trying to come to terms with the modern generation he is also trying to get his emotions and feelings in check after ‘thawing out’ and is having some serious trust issues with his boss Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

This comes to the forefront after a mission in which he learns his good friend Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) had different commands from Fury to which he had been told about and the end result is the two of them narrowly escaping with their lives. Steve’s trust in S.H.I.E.L.D. is at an all time low when a raid on the organisation, seemingly led by the mysterious Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) leaves the entire team in danger and not trusting each other.

With S.H.I.E.L.D. very much divided it is up to Captain America, Black Widow and Steve’s newfound friend Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to try and piece together exactly what has happened while they try to save the world that is now treating them as fugitives.

It really does feel that the team behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier have gone for the whole ‘bigger is better’ philosophy when putting together the film. Some may question the fact that many of the smart quips that worked in the previous films seem to be missing this time around but instead The Russos have completely revamped the series with a series of big action blockbuster sequences that certainly wouldn’t have looked out of place during any of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies. Surprisingly, due to their lack of action film experience, The Russos pull these scenes off remarkably well and the sight of giant flying battleships crashing into buildings isn’t going to be something that fans of the franchise are going to forget for a long time to come.

In fact in some ways it is strange the script works at all. The screenwriting team seem to pay very little regard to things such as characterisation, something that most screenwriters would have thought to be a must with the introduction of The Falcon, yet somehow as an audience you never ever really feel that it lets down the film. On the other hand though they have really upped the action and in a rarity for Marvel films there is also quite a bit of gunplay this time around. I won’t give way much but Captain America’s shield seems to be deflecting a hell of a lot of bullets this time around while Aussie actor Callan Mulvey has the dubious honor of actually holding a gun to the head of Captain America.

To pay credit to the screenwriters they also bring in some other surprises as well. The fact they dwell on Steve’s mistrust of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings a great feel of suspense to the film, while it is easy to see that one of the other storylines that surfaces during the film seems to take direct aim at Governments who believe that they have the power to be Big Brother to whomever they feel as well. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is though that even while the script works feverishly to try and introduce a romantic interest for Steve it also seems to inadvertently bring in some sexual tension between himself and Natasha, whether it was deliberate or just seemed to flow from some natural chemistry between Johansson and Evans it was certainly there for all to see.

The fact that the script didn’t go to deep of course meant that there isn’t really any scenes that are going to stretch the acting capability of the cast. Evans as usual plays the sullen Captain America well; some call him bland although I prefer to think that he has grown into the role well. Scarlett Johansson once again brings a true sexual feel to one of the toughest female characters to ever grace the screen in Black Widow while Anthony Mackie is likable as The Falcon. Mackie’s inclusion must also have fans of the franchise chapping at the bit to see what kind of quips can be created when he has to share scenes with Robert Downey Jnr.

The old brigade of Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Redford also bring a sense of style and respectability to the cast. Redford is playing a very against type character while Jackson seems to relish that this time around the screenwriters have brought a more ‘human’ feel to Nick Fury. Australian film lovers will also wear a smile when acting great Alan Dale appears on the screen as well, it’s not a massive role but he is there.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier certainly puts the ‘BIG’ back into big action blockbuster. Its out-of-this-world special effects and great action sequences plus this franchise back at the heights it deserves to be at.

Stars(3.5)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3.5)

IMDB Rating:  Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier′: Nil.

Trailer:

Iron Man 3

Summary: Tony Stark uses his ingenuity to fight those who destroyed his private world and soon goes up against his most powerful enemy yet: the Mandarin.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th May, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Shane Black

Screenwriter: Shane Black, Drew Pearce, Stan Lee (comic), Don Heck (comic), Larry Lieber (comic), Jack Kirby (comic)

Cast: Paul Bettany (Jarvis (voice)), Rustam Branaman (Agent Danbury), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine), James Badge Dale (Eric Savin), Dale Dickey (Mrs. Davis), Robert Downey Jnr (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Chris Gethard (Juan), Jim Gunter (Mr. Davis), Rebecca Hall (Maya Hansen), Ashley Hamilton (Jack Taggert), Ben Kingsley (The Mandarin), Stan Lee (Stan The Man), Noa Lindberg (Michele Cusick), Keith Middlebrook (Agent Adams), Indra Patel (Jan Georgoh), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Guy Pearce (Aldrich Killian), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner), William Sadler (Sal Kennedy), Marco Sanchez (Vice President Sanchez), Ty Simpkins (Harley), Stephanie Szostak (Ellen Brandt), Xueqi Wang (Dr. Wu), Justin Wheelon (Alex Matthews), Bridger Zadina (Richie), Yvonne Zima (Miss Elkridge)

Runtime: 130 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Iron Man 3’ Review: Please check Dave’s review of ‘Iron Man 3’ that is available on the Helium Entertainment Channel.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Iron Man 3′: Check Episode #29 (available 25th April, 2013) of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Iron Man 3’.

Rating: 3/5

IMDB Rating:Iron Man 3 (2013) on IMDb