Ready For Endgame: Spider-Man: Homecoming & Thor: Ragnorok

My God is this a killer double feature. I think I’d watch either of these movies at any given moment, if I’m honest. During my Disney Year, Homecoming was frequently my in flight entertainment, and while I’m sure you all remember that I wasn’t nuts about Ragnarok when I first watched it, it’s really grown on me a lot on rewatch.

But my god, the more I revisit it the more I think Spider-Man: Homecoming is my favorite MCU movie. It’s breathtakingly good. LONG (they all get really long post Avengers, it’s kind of a drag.) But never feels it. Michael Keaton is astonishing as The Vulture. Tom Holland is a revelation as Peter Parker. Robert Downey Jr. transfers Tony to mentor on the sidelines with great aplomb and if you weren’t all in on Zendaya by the end of this movie I think you might not have a soul.

I’d be tempted to say that it is the greatest Spider-Man movie ever made, except that Into The Spider-Verse now exists. It was definitely the best Spider-Man movie made up until this year though, I’ll give it that.

Like Iron Man 3 Homecoming exemplafies the “dress another genre up in a super suit” idea, with Peter’s teenage problems and the high school setting driving the action. Peter wants to prove himself, he wants to be an adult, but he’s not there yet.  He’s still a kid, a good, smart, responsible kid, but a kid. So he makes decision that are sometimes misguided.

Once again, I suggest someone lock him in a room and he never go to space, ever, EVER.

(NOT OK)

Ragnarok, ah Ragnarok. Such a beautiful and funny and wonderful film. Full of goodness, and joy and bright light and great jokes, and Mark Ruffalo’s best performance in the series, and Thor and Loki feels, and Tessa Thompson riding a pegasus into battle, and Led Zepplin songs all topped with some Cate Blanchett whipped cream and a Jeff Goldblum cherry on top.

So much digital ink has been spilled praising Ragnarok, that it seems redundant, but my God, it’s worth talking about more. The Colonialism themes, the heartfelt realization that the Thor we met back in Thor has finally grown worthy of his place as Asgard’s king and leader. Chris Hemsworth’s considerable comedy chops. Jeff Goldblum. It’s just all so good, and so watchable.

That’s something, that as I’ve moved through this project that I’ve come to really appreciate about 90% of these movies, is their watchability, and their rewatchability. There’s so much to pick up on. They action sequences are exhillerating and the characters fun to spend time with. (I say 90%, because my estimation, The Dark World and Doctor Strange do not fall in this watchable category. One is unconscionably boring and the other is actively bad.)

But this is a category where both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok shine. I still get actively tense when Vulture is driving Peter and Liz to the homecoming dance. My heart dances when Peter goes to the bathroom and Happy’s waiting for him. And the chills that run down my spine when “Immigrant Song” starts as Thor and his friends charge Hela on the Rainbrow Bridge can’t be underestimated.

These are just some entertaining ass movies.

Next week we are also entertained and ponder social change in cinema with Black Panther.

Note: My inititial Captain Marvel review will hit tomorrow. You guys, it’s really stinking good.

Ready For Endgame: Doctor Strange & Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2

Last week I talked about how Ant-Man and Civil War began a time of transition for The MCU, they we’re sort of still in. Doctor Strange and Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2 cement that, one of them making me very wary of leaving behind the world we know, and the other pushing a place we’d glimpsed and enjoyed to it’s borders and succeeding beyond belief.

I do not like Doctor Strange. I remember watching it and receiving it with a hearty “meh,” thinking I might like it on rewatch, but not remembering my reaction to it, and as I watched it finally allowing myself to accept, “I do not like this movie.” It’s overly long, unfocused, and Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t pull off asshole the way that other actors in this series have managed to. I’m also not crazy about Cumberbatch as an actor in general, so that doesn’t help my assesment of this movie.

But what annoys me the most about Doctor Strange is the way it squanders it’s really excellent supporting cast. If Rachel McAdams had been given a bit more to do, like say, Natalie Portman or Gwyneth Paltrow had, maybe this movie would have been better. If Benedict Wong and Chiowetel Edjiofort had gotten to rise above scowling at Strange as Wong and Mordo, perhaps the movie could have shone. Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelson are appropriately ethereal and menacing but still, underwritten.

It’s a poorly executed movie, that looks great, it gets credit for that, and the resolution of repeating the negotiation with Dormammu is a clever ploy, but until that climax, the movie just sits there.

Guardians 2, on the other hand is magical and wonderful and don’t you dare say a bad word against it, you monster. Seriously, I love this movie. I think it’s one of the best scripts for this kind of movie ever. I prefer this soundtrack to the first. (I prefer anything with Fleetwood Mac and Cat Stevens to anything without Fleetwood Mac and Cat Stevens.)

Guardians 2 is heartfelt, intelligent, beautiful and so well acted I watch it slack jawed every time that I watch it. (Which is frequently, I should note.) Kurt Russell is perfect as Ego, and really, my favorite thing about both Guardians movies is that they’re kind of about a bunch of people having temper tantrums on a cosmic scale. It’s super fun to watch.

But mainly, what I love about Guardians 2 is that it’s about family. I like stories about family, because mine is weirdly intertwined with each other. Rocket’s realization that he’s not alone in this crazy world, he has a family now, are so heart wrenchingly good that you’d be insane to not give the guy who made these movies whatever he wants for…oh…yeah…that…

I guess we have to talk about James Gunn, huh? I ranted my feelings about what happened with Gunn when it happened. I think it stinks. HARD. I think it may be impossible for Guardians 3 to bounce back from that setback. (Although they are apparently using his script, which is something.)

But we have two really wonderful movies that Gunn did get to make, by some miracle. (And we’re also apparently getting his take on Suicide Squad!) We live in a world were we all talk about how that space raccoon and the talking tree make us cry, and you know, what, that’s pretty amazing.

Next Week, we’ll talk about the real fun, though, we’ve got Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnaork, and wow, that might be the most fun double feature in the Universe!

Movie Season 2017 – Wrap Up

So, obviously, I didn’t see as many movies as I usually do in 2017. This was for A LOT of reasons. (I wasn’t interested in as many, I was trying not to spend money, I was travelling, my day job annihilated my mental health and extra energy.) (We’ll get into the next one at a later date) But I did make it to the Cineplex 15 times and generally liked everything I saw. Even the stuff that most people thought was abysmal. Anyway, let’s go through each ranking

Wonder Woman

I don’t know if this was my favorite movie of the year just because of the symbolism, but God, I loved it. I still love it. I’ve watched it at least 5 times (not the most times I’ve rewatched a movie on this list) and each time, I cry, I laugh, I clap, I swoon. Gal Gadot is wonderful. Chris Pine is wonderful and finally, finally a big screen female superhero was done right and a DC movie captured all the things I like about one of their characters.

The Big Sick

I was going back through movie seasons past and noticed something. There is ALWAYS a good romantic comedy high on my list. THIS GENRE WILL NOT GO SOFTLY INTO THAT DARK SUPER POWERED NIGHT! As I’ve said before, I hope that Emily and Kumail write more romantic comedies. Kumail has said that the actor who most inspires him is Hugh Grant. MAKE KUMAIL THE NEXT HUGH GRANT! Without all of the cheating on his super awesome wife with prostitutes stuff. Obviously.

Coco

Moving, visually stunning, smart, entertaining and culturally specific, Coco delivers on a whole other level than other recent Disney and Pixar stuff.

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

This. fricking. movie. I loved it, I think? I see it’s flaws. I get why people hated it. I did not love it the way I loved The Force Awakens, (case in point, I still haven’t seen it a second time around until this past Saturday, where as with TFA I ran out the next night for round 2.)

Battle Of The Sexes

Emma Stone is really good, and this movie is even better than she is. Sarah Silverman is really really good and that no one is talking about this performance for supporting actress is a travesty.

Dunkirk

I feel like I saw this movie a long time ago and I remember very little of it. I remember liking it though, so yay? 

Spider-Man: Homecoming

I. Love. This. Movie. It’s the one I’ve rewatched the most by the way (usually on planes. It was a Jet Blue selection for both Disney trips this fall…) and it gets better every time. When I considered doing a reranking, it was mostly to move this one up higher. I love it SO SO SO much.

Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2

Better than the first? Maybe. Certainly more emotional, and I actually prefer this soundtrack. (It has Fleetwood Mac!) Christ Pratt has probably never been better than he is in this movie.

The Greatest Showman

OH MY GOD I’M SO BORED!!!

Thor: Ragnarok

When I describe my reaction to this movie, I use the below quote:

Lester Bangs: How do you feel about Lou Reed?
William: I like the older stuff, but now he’s just trying to be Bowie. He should just be himself.

In this analogy, Thor: Ragnarok is Lou Reed, and Guardians of The Galaxy is Bowie. (Also that quote from Almost Famous.)

Justice League

In a world where Superhero movies have endless potential, we get this one…which is absolutely fine and solid, but should be much, much better.

King Arthur: Legend of The Sword

Man am I bummed out that this movie wasn’t a hit. In a BIG way. I liked it a lot.

The Dark Tower

All hail the Crimson King! I recently realized that the most annoying thing about this movie, is that they didn’t give them enough budget to license “Hey Jude.” “Hey Jude” should 100% be in this movie. (And at that, if you’re doing a mash up of the whole series instead of just  The Gunslinger EDDIE AND SUSANNAH NEED TO BE IN IT)

Cars 3

It’s weird that this landed so low, because I really, really liked it. Eh

Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

This movie is garbage. Do not watch this movie. It is bad. And not just because it turns out Johnny Depp is a terrible person. It’s a bad movie all on it’s own.

So that’s this year’s movie season! I hope everyone enjoyed their time of blockbusters and I wish you the happiest of New Years! Movie Season 2018 kicks off on May 4th with Avengers: Infinity War.

To lead up to that! I’m watching the entire MCU. Well, all the movies. Not the shows. We tried that, remember? Didn’t go well. One a week, quick hit rereviews. (With links to the older ones that I have reviewed. Going back to Avengers…) Between that and X-Files being back, the blog should be good and anchored for a while, which will keep us all from losing our grip without any Game Of Thrones this year!

Happy New Year, lots of love!

I Bet You’re Wondering How Thor Got In This Cage

Thor-Ragnarok-banner-3-1-600x372

I think I’m in a minority here, so you’re about to hear a rant.

greatly enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok. I thought it was a well made, wonderfully paced movie with some stellar performances and more than a few surprise tricks up it’s sleeve. Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchet were sublime additions to the cast. (Though I missed Natalie Portman and Jamie Alexander, not to mention Kat Dennings.) Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are fantastic as Thor and Loki, embodying these characters as they always have from minute 1. Jeff Goldblum is a delight. Idris Elba and Mark Ruffalo kill it.

Here’s what I didn’t love. I get that Guardian of The Galaxy was a colossal monster of a hit, and very unexpected, I get that Marvel Studios has never quite known how to pitch a Thor movie. Saying, “let’s make it as much like Guardians as possible,” though? I’m not sure that worked either.

The “jokey jokes” didn’t always land for me, especially in a series that I always felt had some excellent comedy in it. (The scene in the first movie where Thor demands a dog or cat big enough to ride ALONE cements there was always humor here.) The comedy that did work for me were things like Hulk claiming Thor is “Banner’s friend” rather than his. Loki’s discomfort at being in the vicinity of Hulk, as well as Thor’s test of throwing things at his brother to determine if he had corporeal form.

The larger intergalactic plot, of Thor on Sarac, while fun and cool, didn’t engage me the way that the Asgard stuff (Odin’s death, Hela’s invasion, Heimdall evacuating the city) did. That’s always been where the stuff I liked about Thor lived though. (Well, and in his relationship with Jane, which, I get, was a necessary casualty here, because Natalie Portman, the human being, didn’t want to be in the movie.)

Doesn’t mean I didn’t love Valkyrie (Seriously, Tessa Thompson ROCKS HARD!) or most of the big action set pieces. Or our requisite shirtless Hemsworth scene. I really liked it. Marvel doesn’t make bad movies, I just don’t think this one was as drop dead awesome as the rest of the internet does.

Still really good though.

Rankings!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Battle Of The Sexes
  4. Dunkirk
  5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  6. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  7. Thor: Ragnarok
  8. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  9. The Dark Tower
  10. Cars 3
  11. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: First time seeing it on the big screen and OMG YOU GUYS! We’re so close, and it’s going to be awesome.

Black Panther: Do you wanna know what’s nice? Ryan Coogler found space for Michael B. Jordan in this movie. (Did we think he wouldn’t?) I’m not sure how to articulate how excited I am for this movie, because it’s deep in my gut.

12 Strong: Siggghhhh, I mean, I love this cast, so, there’s that. Fun that Michael Shannon gets to play a good guy. I may see it.

Movie Season, Moving Forward:

Here’s the deal y’all! I know I’ve been slack this year, it’s for a lot of reasons, but I’ve started a new day job! (This is an invariably GOOD thing. Trust me!) And I’ve got a Disney trip in just over a week! (WEE!) But, the good news is that the new day job is a lot closer to my apartment and pays me more money, so I’ll be able to close out movie season fairly strong, as the Oscar-bait movies come out. (There’s also a small independent theater walking distance from my apartment, so…yeah…)

Aless and I are trying to figure out what we’re doing for Justice League, as I’m leaving for Disney the morning after opening. We may delay by a whole week. (This is WEIRD for us, but you know, it’s DC, we didn’t even do Suicide Squad together…) Coco will for sure happen, and we’ve already got our Star Wars tickets.