Captain America (2011) Mini-Review

captainamericaretroposter

Steve Rogers is a scrawny kid from Brooklyn with his heart set on helping his country turn the tide of the war in Germany, but his physical condition keeps getting him rejected. For his good nature, however, Dr. Erskine is willing to give him a chance to come the super-soldier Captain America, so that he can defeat the evil Hydra led by the Red Skull.

As far as superheroes go, the Cap is one of the sillier ones. While the fashion in which Steve Rogers receives his costume is almost believable, Rogers sneaking into a Hydra camp — all flag-clad — is not. Impressively, the intrinsic silliness of being dressed in red white and blue is trumped by something even sillier: a soldier wearing a bowler hat into battle.

I found the music to be quite anonymous. There was an action montage in the middle of the movie that was out of place and annoying. Some of the climactic scenes were a confusingly put together. There was a post-credit scene, a concept which is starting to feel like a waste of everyones time.

Still, there’s a lot to like about Captain America. Hugo Weaving is an inspired choice — he does wonders with the material he’s given. Joe Johnston delivers on his promise to do a Rocketeer inspired period piece and you’ll see are mini u-boats, tricked out motorcycles and delta-wing planes. The good guys wield colorful weapons and the bad guys are all dressed in black. It’s almost Star-Warsian in its simplistic themes. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll very much enjoy this film.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) Mini-Review

Bruce Banner, changed by an experiment gone awry, now lives in exile in Brazil. As he is meditating and searching for a cure to his rage-induced transformations, General Ross hunts him tirelessly, hoping the green Hulk is the key to reviving a World War II era bio-force project.

Back when I first heard they were rebooting Ang Lees Hulk, I was quite disappointed. Having now seen the result, I have gained an understanding of what Marvel is trying to do; they’re trying to establish a unified Marvel movie “universe”, one in which both Hulk and Iron Man co-exist. We’re alluded to this not only with a Tony Stark cameo but with plenty of little tidbits comic fans will recognize. The possibilities are intriguing, with promises of even more tie-ins with upcoming Iron Man sequels, Thor and Avengers movies. The big question remains, was it worth rebooting Hulk at the expense of a true Ang Lee sequel? No, it wasn’t.

The Incredible Hulk is a dreary affair. It’s long, odd and considering the amount of action, surprisingly dull. The final battle between Hulk and The Abomination is anti-climactic. I can’t tell whether the movie takes itself too seriously, or whether the director simply lacked vision. In any case, Hulk completely lacks the charm that made Iron Man into a very watchable movie. You’ll soon forget this one.

On a sidenote, the music is not as bad and forgettable as I’d expected. While it’s not as good as Danny Elfmans theme (as usual), it’s unique and rather alright. This accounts for one of the two stars.

Defaming, Ridiculing And De-Hyping The Upcoming Hulk Movie Reboot

Do you remember the Hulk movie by Ang Lee? You may, as I, remember it fondly, in which case I salute you, for it is indeed a fantastic piece in its own right. In case you do not remember it as fondly, I shall point fingers at you and laugh at your meager mind. But not before I first explain why the upcoming Hulk movie shouldn’t exist and now that it does, should be mocked and laughed at and why you—the reader who do not fondly remember the Ang Lee piece—are wrong.

Without spoiling Hulk: it ended with a setup for a sequel. Happy Hulk, meaning Eric Bana, was researching stuff in the rain forest when the evil loggers came around. Shit went down. Happy Hulk became Angry Hulk and then Danny Elfmans fantastic Hulk tune played us through the end credits.

Did I properly praise Elfmans theme? Have you heard it? If you haven’t, go now. Listen and bask in distilled awesome. Thus we have reason #1 why we should belittle the new Hulk movie: It cannot possibly have the same theme. A sequel to the old one could.

Did you know Hulk was a comicbook hero? Ang Lee made that poignantly clear. Behold, a plethora of comicbook movie outstandingness:

hulk_01

hulk_02

hulk_03

hulk_04

hulk_05

hulk_06

hulk_07

That brings us to reason #2 why no respect should be paid to Ed Nortons blasphemous effort: it can’t possibly ooze the same amount of cool as the above so clearly demonstrates.

Finally, let’s compare trailers. Ang Lee’s Hulk. Louis Leterrier’s Hulk. Sure Hulk is about smash, but that’s all you’ll get from Mr. Leterrier. It’ll have as much depth as a kids garden pool, as much style as Tom Cruise on Oprah and as much finesse as Pitof’s Catwoman. Who cares if it has as much action as Pearl Harbor? Aptly, the new Hulk movie features a character called “Abomination”. Perhaps they should have called the movie abomination instead. Thus we come to reason #3 why the new Hulk will be a cinematic abortion: watch anything that Hollywood has churned out over the last decade and you’ll have already seen this movie. At least Ang Lee surprised you.

Perhaps the most important reason why Ed Norton and his attempt at angry should instead enrage you: by doing this movie, they’ve effectively killed off any chance of bringing to life what should have been a true Hulk sequel, one that would’ve started in the rain forest. Alas, this writing constitutes an obituary; a farewell to a chance of seeing style and finesse entering the superhero realm.

Louis Leterrier, Ed Norton, Marvel—j’accuse!

Iron Man (2008) Mini-Review

Tony Stark is a billionaire inventor, industrialist and weapons manufacturer. After seeing first-hand what his weapons do, he decides to don a crime-fighting metal cape.

It’s hard to fault Iron Man as it has very few shortcomings. It’s Hollywood at its best: finely tuned action, expensive special effects, golden-haired girls and entertainment made for the big screen. On the flipside, it’s really not a deep movie; in fact it’s all surface. For what Iron Man tries to be, however, such depth is moot.

Iron Man works in all the ways Spider-Man 3 didn’t. It’s well paced, entertaining, believably unrealistic and with a story that doesn’t feel like it’s quilted together in the last minute. Robert Downey works well in his role and surprisingly: so does Gwyneth Paltrow. Now watch out for a cameo early on by director Jon Favreau. In the mean time, I’ll wait patiently for the sequel. Added note: I’m told there’s an extra scene after the end-credits.

The Incredible New Hulk

Hulk is being rebooted, with Ed Norton portraying the not so jolly giant. There’s a trailer which shows this is clearly not like anything Ang Lee would have made. In fact, it looks like every other superhero movie out there. Increasingly dull and done.

Spiderman 3 Mini-Review

I wish I had been 15 years younger when watching this movie.

Spiderman 3 miserably fell short for me. I enjoyed the first one, I loved the second one, and while there is going to be a Spiderman 4, it’ll most certainly be without the same lead actors. Spiderman 3 should have been the end to a trilogy. Instead it was a dizzying, confusing, messy roller-coaster ride that didn’t quite tickle where it should.

Crash! Pow! Boom bang! Poof! More villains! More jokes! More explosions! Did anyone forget about less is more? It didn’t help the movie either that Sam Raimi and Danny Elfman had a falling out; Elfmans gorgeous theme only graces parts of Spiderman 3.

There have been mixed reviews. Some think it sucks, others disagree. Personally, I’d like to take a guess at why I think this movie divides people. To do so, I have to compare with Spiderman 2.

In Spiderman 2 things were falling apart for Peter Parker. As he struggled with the mantle and the responsibility, we developed real emotional attachments to the characters. When he finally decided to take up the mantle, in sickness and in health, the action started with an incredible sequence that could have ended in a trainwreck. Peter Parker, unmasked, managed to stop the train just before it derailed. In Spiderman 3: trainwreck!

X-Men: The Last Stand Mini-Review

There are a lot of good things in the final installment of the X-Men trilogy, and there are a lot of bad things too. It’s certainly better than you might’ve heard, but it’s probably worse than you might’ve hoped.

In X3, scientists have discovered a way to suppress the gene that causes super-power mutations. This “cure” stirs the minds of both the good guys, the X-Men lead by Professor Xavier, and the bad guys, the Brotherhood of Mutants lead by Magneto. The result is a war between the two opposing forces: those who want to destroy the “cure”, and those who want to protect the freedom of choice.

X3 fails in capturing the subtle humour of being clad in yellow spandex that was present in the first two installments. On the other hand, it succeeds in great visuals, fun new mutant super-powers and Ian McKellen (Magneto).

Two hearts for the movie and one heart for the effects. That’s not half-bad, considering I’d give X-men 1 three hearts and X-men 2 four hearts.

Oh by the way, when you go see this movie, make sure you sit and watch through ALL the credits for a surprisingly important scene that’s tacked on to the very end. Just wait.