Tag Archives: Chris Evans

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is a gargantuan, a film hardly marketed that has cemented the legacy of  Marvel if it hasn’t been chiseled into a Mount Rushmore of its own already. I saw this beauty with friends yesterday and what a euphoria I exhibited afterward.

As expected, Civil War makes Dawn of Justice look like the chump that it is, the guy with a big mouth but no product or skill set to back up what he’s selling. Meanwhile, Civil War carries a soft stick, at least to this most recent outing and craters the ground that lies beneath it, sending shock waves along the terrain and bringing the fruits of Marvel from coast to coast.

My friends and I were static, fixated on the pure amazement of this gem. One questioned how long Marvel could do this, an appropriate response to a rapid succession of homers for Marvel while DC struggles to hit singles. I’ll be honest when I say I don’t want to answer that question. I have not seen a film company hit the nail so soundly in Hollywood. Marvel has become, to quote Chic Anderson’s call in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, a “tremendous machine.” Its cogs are firing like the fists of Rocky, repeatedly charged with the same amount of effort, endorsement and impact as the one thrown before it. They’re all planned under the vision of a strategist who has the mind of a chess protegé, someone who has both the patience and the prescience to outlast any competitor. Every sequence of dialogue is laid over a firm plot and sociological landscape. Every stunt has a punch behind the punch. Every character has a stairway to ascend, a fall to take and/or a redemption to pursue. To compare Marvel and DC is to compare an experienced elevator of talent and technique to youthful arrogance and ignorance. There is no comparison. DC has no firing gun or secret serum it is waiting to unleash. It is outmatched in every way, from the people behind the camera to the people in front of it. After Civil War, I see no possible outcome in which DC comes out on top. Marvel is the king and with Civil War, it squashes all competition. These are the halcyon days and I plan to do nothing but bask in the aurora modeled in front of me. There will come a time when we will miss when Hollywood was this good, to the point of effortlessness and when that time comes, it will be too late to join them in the sun filled with heavenly elixirs.

This is not to say that DC films are wiped off the face of the Earth. They will make climbing profits and please DC fanboys and children who continue to turn a blind eye to what is becoming borderline incompetence. Even I will appease DC and pay to see a faltering main event if only to see Batman and Superman again and be reminded they still exist but if DC ever becomes cavalier enough to premiere one of its products alongside a Marvel feature, rest assured a majority of the world, in a resounding decision, will give their money to Marvel.

Civil War is great for the story line it churns out. After another incident in which the Avengers must come to save the day, some civilian lives are lost, causing the United Nations to devise a contract for the Avengers to abide by. Tony Stark, who’s slowly become unraveled after each progression in the MCU, continues to fall into fear of what could be. In his quest to conquer said fear and find inner peace, Stark signs. Captain America, on the other side of the coin, refuses to do so. No doubt pushed to this side by the integration of Hydra into Shield in the Winter Soldier, in addition to the corruption and expediency in government, Cap is reluctant to shed his freedom and allow himself to become a pawn for the world’s leaders.

This discussion on modern politics and technological advances is ingenious as it is one of the main controversies in today’s society. Captain America can see that America, a place that was once free across the board, has been saddled by the incessant need for security while Iron Man believes all that can be done to protect people should be done. Both sides have chips on their side, both in this film and in our culture presently.

The idea of world leaders blaming the Avengers for the damage that’s been done seems erratic and illogical. If it wasn’t for the Avengers, the world would have been taken over by Loki’s army. If it wasn’t for the Avengers, Ultron would have destroyed the world and I haven’t even mentioned all of the other catastrophes that have been avoided in the individual Marvel films. The world would have ended more than five times over if not for the Avengers.

While it seems absurd to me, the world has shown, time and time again, that they must be in control to feel comfortable. What people cannot control they fear. Some people are just as afraid of the Avengers as they are of the interdimensional villainy that keeps taking disaster-filled vacations to Earth. Like we see in Dawn of Justice, Batman fears Superman because of what he could do, not necessarily what he will do. One would argue, “Well, just because they can do it doesn’t mean they will. I mean, with that mindset, you’ll walk around thinking everyone is a psychopathic serial killer.” Those who side with Batman in Dawn of Justice and with Iron Man here do so out of fear or because they really like the character of Iron Man. I love Iron Man, too, but the premise served to us is not, “Who do you like more, Cap or Iron Man?” The question is, “Do you think superheroes should be controlled by the world’s elected officials? Should the world, not superheroes, be the ones in control?” There will always be loss, but would the constraint and restriction of superheroes benefit us? And if so, do you believe that politicians will hold their side of the bargain? Do you think the world’s leaders will treat superheroes like the people that they are and not cage them like freaks?

This film has a discussion on the anti-LGBT legislation here in America if you look close enough. It has a commentary about the cultures that are pervading this country. There are a lot of questions posed in the Russo brothers’ two-and-a-half hour blockbuster and this is a great thing.

This parlance and the way that Marvel interweaves current events and sociological discussions within its narrative is one of many things that makes this film and studio so powerful. It is a perfect mesh of applicable material, character embodiment and the dreams of our younger selves. It is a film that everyone should see. Knowledge of superheroes is superfluous. This is what an empire like Marvel can do, mesmerize all audiences if they give them a chance to do so.

It’s not just the subject matter, but the deliverance of its execution. Every step is taken with humble confidence like a man who has built his reputation on aplomb and equanimity. It is not stoicism but a confidence that is unwavering, a Curryesque humility that excites rather than bores. We know the visual drum roll when we see it. We spot the tempo changes and we can feel the flaring of the tide. The Russo brothers make this conflict of the world’s heroes seem less like the crashing of mighty waves in the middle of a storm and more like the apotheosis of an emotion-laden and articulate dance, finely crafted and executed by the pioneers of its creation.

It’s patient with its cast of characters and its agenda. While Dawn of Justice displays a rushed, last-second effort to catch up to the MCU’s gradual progression, Civil War is a grandioso concerto that serves as a prelude (yes, a prelude) to the pieces that have yet to be flaunted. That might be the best takeaway from the Russos’ masterpiece here: there’s still more. After all the time we have spent with these characters and all of the highlight reels Marvel has given us, this is not the end.

We will still spend time with Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man, who is easily the most changed character since this galaxy was painted. There will be more time for Chris Evans, one of the best redemption stories I’ve seen from Hollywood in my lifetime. I still can’t believe the man who made a fool of himself in Fantastic Four all those years ago has not only redefined himself to such grand proportions but has become synonymous with Captain America. What a turnaround. There’s Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, who after numerous failed attempts by others has defined the green monstrosity. Sebastian Stan’s Bucky continues to battle his inner demons while asking us, “Is it too late for redemption?” Every player accentuates a role and has a story to tell. No one is a sideshow. Some are just more prominent than others. These characters have plenty of tarmac left on the runway before they launch for their trip into the stars of Hollywood fame. Whatever’s in store for them, they’ve all joined forces to make a hell of a franchise, a dichotomy to DC that does not countervail but brazenly excels past it. If you’re not on the train yet, get on it because Marvel doesn’t break for nobody.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (DeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellar)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of Tomorrow)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Running Man10 Cloverfield LaneCreedScouts Guide to the Zombie ApocalypseCrimson Peak)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (The CrowHardcore HenryBatman v Superman: Dawn of JusticePride and Prejudice and ZombiesThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (D-Tox/Eye See YouConstantineRaceEverestHercules)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (BloodsportWar, The Ridiculous 6The Lost BoysZombeavers)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Captain America: Civil War: 98.

With a cast that flourishes in their own personas, stunt choreography and action design that manages to outdo itself time and again, a writing crew that refuses to regress and direction that sculpts it to the point of transcendence, Captain America: Civil War is the best product that Marvel has ever put out. Blockbuster season might have just started, but Civil War has already reached the finish line.

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Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

One of the most anticipated films of all-time, one of the biggest budgets of all-time and one of the most talked about casts of all-time. Did Avengers: Age of Ultron live up to the hype?

I watched this on Sunday so it’s been a week but the things Age of Ultron offers are lasting. Similar to a first impression that can’t be detached from your memory, Age of Ultron gives you a strong uppercut right out of the gates. Whedon holds no punches. The action is almost paralyzing given the amount of intensity and wonder filling these shots. The cinematography and Whedon’s tracking shots lead us by the hand through the battlefield and debris like a parent does a child crossing the street. The visual effects compliment the stunt choreography and the pounding of machines never gets old.

Yet people continue to criticize Whedon’s work, including ultra feminists harassing him on Twitter. The continued but unreasonable argument that “I don’t like it because it’s not like the comics” is for some reason still a thing.

The last time a superhero was modified in a movie and people didn’t lose their minds was Spider-Man in 2002. In 2012, Whedon practically slapped these people right in the face when Mark Ruffalo turned to the Avengers and said, “I’m always angry”, turned into the Hulk and smashed an alien ship in the face. You know what happened? Absolutely nothing. People loved it. Plenty of my friends said it was their favorite part aside from Hulk swinging and bashing Loki like a kid’s toy.

People loved it because it was something they had not seen before. It was creative. I respect anyone who has a comic book obsession, but I have a serious problem with people defaming a film because it didn’t fit prior material. If there was one word to describe the film industry, creativity would be towards the top. That is what keeps people going. If no one made original ideas, what would the point be? What freedom exists in a monotonous, austere replication of past work? Yet these same people, after harassing Whedon for making his own creation, will then throw other films under the bus for being replicas of past ones, an utter double standard demonstrated by hypocrites.

Age of Ultron had the second-biggest opening day in history ($84.5 million), the second-biggest domestic opening weekend ($187.7 million) and has pulled in an estimated $627 million worldwide in 12 days. Apparently none of that matters. Somehow Whedon haters manage to forget that The Avengers presented people with something they’d never seen before: a megafilm. Somehow they forget all of the success Whedon has had both financially and critically.

Basically, what I’m getting at is that no matter what Whedon does, everyone isn’t going to be happy. Comic book nerds will outrage because of their shortsightedness and feminists feel the need to open their mouths about almost anything, but the truth is the truth and nothing will change that. That truth is that Whedon is underappreciated and is a gift to Hollywood. It’s a shame that so many people, both stupid and smart, haven’t recognized his talents.

If you don’t like Avengers: Age of Ultron, you’re probably one of these people and I pity you, I really do, because you’re unable to see the true brilliance of Joss Whedon and man, is it beautiful.

Robert Downey, Jr. leads the pack with Chris Evans right behind. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen were not bad casts, but there is room for improvement in both their roles and their acting fortes. They have some potential that hasn’t been brewed yet. Johansson and Renner are given the opportunity to shine as Black Widow and Hawkeye develop into story drivers.

There’s more impact in Age of Ultron. The Avengers lighthearted nature limited the depth the story could reach. Age of Ultron‘s nature at times mirrors Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but Whedon knows when to tap the breaks and give us a laugh. The comedy in Age of Ultron far outreaches its predecessor, hanging right up there with Guardians of the Galaxy.

I think the reason I find myself lost for words is because Age of Ultron was really that good. The visual effects were killer, the scripting was much improved. I don’t know what to say.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The AvengersThe BabadookInterstellarChappieAmerican Beauty)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (EquilibriumDead Snow: Red vs. DeadSnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands Tall)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Black SheepTwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe Raven)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (BlitzThe PunisherDrive HardRun All NightRage)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (CrankErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (OutcastSabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafe)

My score for Avengers: Age of Ultron: 95.

This isn’t a good review and I’m sorry but let me sum it up like this: Avengers: Age of Ultron is a boss film. It’s the pump that runs our heart, the blood that runs through our flesh, the bones that comprise our body. It’s that type of awesomeness. If living was watching Avengers: Age of Ultron on loop, I wouldn’t be upset. I’d be thrilled and you would be, too.

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Movie Review: The Avengers

Joss Whedon’s comic book marvel flashed before our eyes in 2012 and few were disappointed. It was the first superhero bonanza to show up in theaters. It became the third-highest-grossing film of all-time. It became a legend.

The Avengers had the advantage of being the first of its kind. Never was such a big project undertaken, a money-hungry dog let loose by the leash of Marvel. This money-hungry dog was given a $220 million dollar bone and enjoyed the chainless existence of a freelancer, able to investigate what it wanted, say what it wanted and to create what it wanted.

I truly believe Whedon was given the golden goose. He directed it, he co-wrote the story and created the screenplay. The only metaphor applicable to the type of luxury and novelty that Whedon enjoyed during this production is a child on Christmas. A cast list that few can compete with, one of the largest “bones” to ever be handed out to a director and a partnership of Marvel and Disney? Joss Whedon was given the life that people can only dream of and perhaps in this case, a dream very few can dream of.

I give Whedon props for delivering a Hulk-sized trophy film, a film that made huge ripples in the world of cinema and reignited the comic book world. The Avengers served as a memento for the world and it still does today.

Robert Downey, Jr. proved to be the best of the bunch as Tony Stark. His utter disregard for others, Olympus-sized ego and flippant comedy sketches are some of the biggest highlights of the film, as well as how Stark evolves as a character. Comic book fanatics can argue who the best of the Avengers is all they want, but Downey, Jr. is evidently the most-talented, although Chris Evans isn’t too far behind.

I’m still amazed that Chris Evans is the same dweeb that acted in 2005’s Fantastic Four. He had no bravado, no genuine energy and no talent but somewhere deep, perhaps in the bowels of Mordor, Evans discovered his natural ability to draw the camera to that charming face of his. While Captain America: The First Avenger was nowhere close to where it should have been in terms of production and quality, Evans held the film together and then opened his jaws for The Winter Soldier and really showed us how far he could go. While The Avengers gets nowhere as complex as The Winter Soldier in its story, its got some seriousness to it but not so serious that the lighthearted fall out of touch with it. A lot of that seriousness is provided by Evans. Keep it up, Cap. Looking forward to Civil War.

I’ve got to give a small hand of applause to Mark Ruffalo for giving us a Hulk film that doesn’t make us want to barf all over. The Incredible Hulk has proved incredible in the past couple years, incredible at turning A-listers into actors comparable to Hayden Christensen. Edward Norton is a great actor. He did not look like a great actor in The Incredible Hulk and to my knowledge, Marvel is staying away from Hulk films for the time being. It’s a shame because there’s a great actor there now in Mark Ruffalo that finally calmed the beast down and got him to stop looking stupid and saying stupid stuff. Mostly known for rom-coms, Ruffalo showed another realm in The Avengers and also in Foxcatcher, which I read good reports on. That was my one main concern regarding The Avengers, was that the Hulk was going to destroy everything. Actually, I guess he does kinda destroy everything but I mean the film, not all the baddies that had it coming. Hulk Smash!

Finally, Chris Hemsworth. I know we’re all in love with those beautiful locks of his and are bedazzled by that bod, but to this point, the guy has demonstrated little acting ability and continues to pour me vinegar when I asked for a martini. The Thor movies are the worst of the newest Marvel films by far, especially Thor: The Dark World, my crowned champion of 2013 Worst Film of the Year. The stories are toothless and present no suspense, supporting cast, or logical story line. There might have been more plot holes in Thor: The Dark World than there are craters on the moon. All this said, the guy’s not terrible, he’s just not good. He’s satisfactory, average. He fills the role and I completely understand that it’s too late to recast, but I wish Marvel would have looked elsewhere when they decided to pick the Norse god. Brad Pitt or Ben Foster both would have worked for me. Do you guys agree with me? Who do you think would have made a great Thor? Let me know in the comments.

It’s also important to mention our lead villain, Loki. Tom Hiddleston’s performance was a few pegs higher than in Thor and provided that acidic twist a film like this needed. One of the main complaints about Guardians of the Galaxy was its underwhelming villain, a problem that The Avengers never had. Samuel L. Jackson makes everything so much better as does the beautiful Scarlett Johansson.

Jeremy Renner is probably the only outlier in this cast, but only because the development of the character is not there, mainly because of a plot point. It’s a minor thing but it’s still a thing. When a movie’s this great, you have to get picky.

My only other comment is the drag in the opening scenes. It takes a while for things to get going because we have to introduce each hero, have their little hurrah moment, and move on to the next one. It’s like going on a long vacation but before you get on the road, you have to stop at five different locations and pick all these people up. It’s a bit of a hassle. A necessary one but still a hassle.

Aside from those two things, The Avengers is all the hype. The action is state-of-the-art special effects with stunning visuals and an adrenaline booster. The characters are brought out with dashes of humor and the story is there. It’s the superhero tribute we waited for.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The BabadookInterstellarChappieAmerican BeautyGone Girl)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (EquilibriumDead Snow: Red vs. DeadSnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands Tall)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Black SheepTwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe Raven)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (BlitzThe PunisherDrive HardRun All NightRage)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (CrankErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (OutcastSabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafe)

My score for The Avengers: 96

Three years removed from where it all began and not even a week after its sequel released, The Avengers remains in cinema trophy cases and on millions of bookshelves for its “first shot heard ’round the world” epic. With impressive visual effects, concrete scripting and big-name cast, The Avengers has lost no spark nor has it faded into the recesses of our minds. The Avengers is very much alive.

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Movie Review: Snowpiercer

The trailer intrigued. I would have seen this in theaters but due to some production squabbling, Snowpiercer debuted in few cinemas across the country. God Bless Netflix.

First, Chris Evans. The guy could not act to save his life, or at least that’s how it seemed to me, but Evans made do with his second chance, starring as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, an above-average film primarily due to Evans description of the red, white, and blue hero. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was also a huge box office success and confirmed that the Captain can hold his own in a fight.

Snowpiercer proves to be yet another platform for Evans to demonstrate his acting prowess, this time with Curtis, a man in a future society bound on a metal train. Curtis is one of the under-privileged, stuck in the back of the train with the mass populace while the others live the luxurious life afforded to them at the middle and front parts of the life-saving locomotive.

This setting alone is great. In a world at the brisk of human extinction, people are still finding ways to place themselves above others as if they are superior to other people of their own kind. While not economically feasible, socialism is the moral avenue to take. Considering the circumstances of their situation, you would think the need for an economic system let alone the need for social classes would be unnecessary, but you would be wrong. It is human nature that allows for human degrading. I used to refuse to believe this, but after repeated interactions with such people, it has become apparent to me: people just aren’t very nice. That’s not to say I’ve lost faith in humanity. People have the potential for great things and that’s what keeps me going. You never know when you’re going to run into someone who passes the buck.

So this futuristic train setting, while leaving many unanswered questions, not only works, but excels. A modest budget at $39.2 million also correlates well to this film’s lack of scenery changes, yet the environment never feels boring because you never know what’s going to be behind the next gate. Following each gate is the next car, and you never know who and/or what is going to be behind it. There is some anticipation with this South Korean flick though I’m unsure if I’d go so far as to say suspense.

In terms of character writing, the levels are limited. Aside from the idea of class warfare and the figureheads that would partake in such an event, there aren’t any glaring qualities or traits that reside past the film’s conclusion. That’s not to say the acting is poor in form or execution. An overall thumbs-up display for sure, especially from Chris Evans, one of the new generation’s best actors and one of my new favorites.

Another thing that I liked about this film was that you couldn’t tell it was Korean. When you watch a film and you can tell it’s foreign, very rarely is that a good thing because foreign films just cannot match up to the U.S. market. We’ve got too much money and too much talent to compete with.

The United States exports, in order (in my opinion), are weapons, debt to China, U.S. military personnel, natural resources, machinery and vehicles, and movies.

So when something as profitable as U.S. films are happening on a regular basis, you notice when it’s not the high-caliber product you’re used to paying for. It’s a little like Heinz ketchup. If you buy a bottle that says Heinz ketchup on the front, you’ll know if it doesn’t taste right. Or at least I will, because I’m from Pittsburgh, the city of Heinz headquarters.

However, I couldn’t tell and would have never known of Snowpiercer‘s origins had it not been for all of my fellow bloggers’ reviews. The philosophy was there as was the brutal violence that accompanies it. The characters were a little more uniform than I would have liked but it didn’t get in the way of the film’s entertainment or story arc. It was an overall creative piece.

It was the film’s finale that disappointed. After a dramatic and well-done monologue that encompassed the film as a whole, the screenwriters went overboard with their material, adding too many twists and character reveals to make it believable. It left a sour note to an otherwise well-done piece.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Gone GirlMulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of Extinction)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(The FamilyWhen the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012)Maleficent)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (House at the End of the StreetThe RavenDead SnowRubberHansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (ZoolanderThe Expendables 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage Point)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys and Aliens)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (GallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmenClash of the Titans)

My score for Snowpiercer: 79.

A solid contribution from Chris Evans once again, Snowpiercer’s sets and societal conclusions make the film a worthwhile experience and while the final third was very aggravating, it only brought this from an 82  to a 79. That isn’t a large drop, which is a testament to Snowpiercer‘s success at its earlier stages.

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Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

[ CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER POSTER ]If you read my review on Captain America: The First Avenger, you know that I’m not obsessed with Captain America. As I mentioned in that review, Captain America is just not a stellar, exceptional superhero. He’s a product of steroid testing and an indestructible shield. I appreciate his character and his moral compass though. It’s the type of integrity that more people should have today.

New directors this time around in Anthony and Joe Russo give every component of the sequel a significant upgrade. To start off, the screenplay and plot.

Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America is still doing his thing, working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and stopping terrorist attacks and protecting the red, white, and blue. He’s working with Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow, played by the beautiful Scarlett Johansson, and S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury is still on the scene, starring the gifted Samuel L. Jackson. During a mission to free hostages on a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel, Rogers loses contact with Romanoff, only to find her downloading S.H.I.E.L.D. files from the computers on board. Ends up that saving the hostages wasn’t the only mission. Rogers is pretty ticked when he goes to talk to Fury afterwards and I can’t blame him. He’s Captain America. He’s served his country for a long time and he deserves some respect. A conversation ensues where Rogers and Fury take two different sides. Fury believes that the world is corrupt, full of deceit and muck, and because of that he doesn’t believe that freedom is any more than a concept anymore. Don’t get me wrong, Fury’s not the bad guy (or is he?) here or anything, but this conversation gives us some more character building for Rogers. Rogers takes the high road, the road that superheroes and everyday heroes are meant to take, the road that says that even if there are only a few good people in the world, doing the right thing for those few is worth it.

The high points of the 2011 film were the character development, especially when it involved Captain America, and the Russo brothers don’t lose a step with that here. The character expansion is great. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic as Black Widow and there’s an abundance of chemistry between her and Captain America actor Chris Evans. At points, I can seem them becoming a couple. No Hawkeye in this one, which I was a little surprised by. He wasn’t in the trailer but I thought they might throw him in as a surprise. However, all is well in the mind of Tim because we get Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson a.k.a. The Falcon. He’s more a technological marvel then a superhero, but he’s still fun to watch and I hope he’s brought back in the next continuation. Samuel L. Jackson opens up the doors of Fury’s character and his charismatic self is alive and well on the screen. He plays a larger role in this then he’s gotten in past Marvel films which I was more than content with. Much of the film’s humor goes through him. The seasoned Robert Redford also makes an appearance on the big screen. He’s getting up there in the years but the talent is still there. I haven’t seen him in anything before, but I’m sure a film fanatic such as myself will be seeing more of him in the coming years. A notable performance from Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier works great opposite of Chris Evans.

Speaking of which, how about Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America? As in the previous one, Rogers’ soft-spoken and humble persona comes through loud and clear. Evans has really taken on the uniform of this character and has shown he’s truly a talent worth looking at if you’re about to make a big budget film. While watching Fantastic Four on tv about a month ago (because there was nothing else on), my roommate asked if I knew that Chris Evans played The Human Torch in the film. It never occurred to me. I’m very good when it comes to facial recognition, but it went unnoticed. The fact that it’s the same guy shocked me. Fantastic Four was a bad movie and I don’t know how a sequel was made. Chris Evans’ performance was forgettable, but he’s truly been reborn with Captain America. I’m really glad he was given another chance because he’s made Captain America an icon again.

The disappointing action scenes are nowhere to be found in this film. The Russo brothers probably read my review and thought they’d blow my mind with a visual spectacle that was on par with some of the best action scenes I’ve seen. The fight scenes on the boat in the opening are very well choreographed. You feel the pain being dished out and it’s pretty tender but oh, so tasty.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Mission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible IIISpider-ManSpider-Man 2)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Non-StopDivergentSpider-Man 3Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Captain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys300Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Alien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re NextThe Starving Games)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (AlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens300: Rise of an Empire, A Haunted House)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 92.

Bolstered by a stellar cast and a new and improved directorial direction, Captain America: The Winter Soldier proves Captain America is a successful Marvel franchise where doubt may have lingered in the viewers of the first flick.

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Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

The superhero Captain America has never really appealed to me. While I didn’t know all of Captain America’s story coming into this movie, I felt I knew enough to make an opinion. My opinion was one of dislike. It wasn’t the person that Captain America was so much as the powers that were there or the lack thereof. Aside from a shield that blocks basically everything, he’s no more than a big guy that used powerful steroids. He’s not bulletproof, he’s not incredibly agile although faster than most people, and he doesn’t have any powers that really make him any different then a world’s strongest man competitor. He can take hits and dish them out and he has a shield that deflects everything, yet he insists on throwing it at his opponents, forgetting that without it he’s left vulnerable, becoming nothing more than a heavyweight boxer. He also uses guns, which puts him on the same level as the Punisher, arguably the worst superhero ever.

My family saw it when it came out but I couldn’t bring myself to see it. The trailer didn’t look bad, but my pre-movie bias stopped me from going to see it. After seeing the new trailer for the sequel, I thought it would be appropriate to see the first one.

Captain America: The First Avenger does a very good job of giving the audience background information so that those who don’t know the whole story of Captain America such as myself can follow the story.

Action scenes, humor, and character interactions is what the movie is focusing on most of the time. I’ve seen far better action scenes, but they’re still fun to watch. The humor gets some grins and chuckles, but what really makes this movie what it is are the characters. Chris Evans does a great job with his portrayal of Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America. I picture him in the role the whole time and I feel like I’m actually watching the story of the guy, not watching the story of the guy being portrayed in a movie. The character connection is dominant. As someone who was 120 pounds at my high school graduation, I can understand the trials and tribulations that Rogers had to deal with. I was 6’0″, but was 5’3″ through most of junior high, so I knew what it meant to be the little guy, at least for a while. His character is sincere, a genuine person and what he lacks in size he makes up for in character, something that I admired. He doesn’t get arrogant or self-obsessed after his transformation. The love connection between Rogers and Peggy Carter is sincere and I care what happens between the two.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3World War Z42Just Go With It)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Man of SteelMonster-In-LawWhite House DownJobsThe Truman Show)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Shaun of the DeadSharknadoThe Usual Suspects21 Jump StreetEscape Plan)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss Goodnight)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Road to PerditionTotal RecallDodgeball: A True Underdog StoryAlong Came PollyAliens)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlien)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark Fury, Alien 3)

My score for Captain America: The First Avenger: 76.

It’s not a must-buy by any means, but Captain America: The First Avenger is definitely worth giving a shot. The screenwriting is well-done for the most part and most of the characters are top-notch, which makes up for the slightly disappointing action scenes.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

The action scenes are slightly disappointing but I think that’s more because of who the superhero is. Captain America is just not a high-grade superhero. He’s an underdog, someone you want to rally behind, but if there was such a thing as a “superhero draft”, Captain America wouldn’t be in the top 15.

Captain America crashes the plane to prevent the weapons from exploding and ends up freezing himself. He wakes up 70 years later and realizes that everyone he knew and loved is dead, including Peggy Carter, who he was supposed to have a date with in a week. It was very sad and I felt bad for Rogers, because it’s like starting life all over again, except you remember what it used to be before.

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