Category Archives: Movies

My thoughts on movies

Revisiting the MCU: Iron Man 3


Here we are at the beginning of Phase 2, which is all leading up to the conclusion of Phase 2, which is Avengers: Age of Ultron. Iron Man 3 kicks off Phase2, which is fitting since Iron Man started Phase 1. There is definitely a feeling of anticipation for Iron Man 3. We have just seen Avengers, which was what Phase 1 was building toward, and now there is a feeling of “So…What happens now?” How are all of these characters different as a result of what happened in New York (what the Daredevil series refers to as “the incident”)? We get to see it first with Tony Stark, and we get to see a totally different Tony Stark. Apparently that trip through the worm hole messed him up pretty bad. Throughout the film we see him struggling with massive anxiety attacks anytime anyone mentions New York. We also get to see how the regulars are doing post- Avengers, like Pepper, Happy, and Rhodey.

We also get to see how Tony influenced the formation of AIM, a scientific terrorist group in the Marvel Universe. Basically, it was the result of his old lifestyle, which continues to come back and haunt him years after he has become Iron Man. Basically, Aldrich Killian approached Tony on New Year’s Eve in 1999 about getting in on the ground floor of his research. He does this by cornering Tony in an elevator while Stark is trying to get up to a girl’s room. Tony lies to Aldrich and tells him he is interested in the research and to meet him on the roof in a few minutes. Of course, Tony never shows, and Aldrich realizes this and is devastated. Now, 13 years later, he has continued his research, and is quite well off, and is back for more.

Tied in with all of this is The Mandarin. This was probably the most disappointing aspect of this film. He was basically a patsy. A front, a fraud. There never really was a “Mandarin.” Basically, this intimidating terrorist, The Mandarin, shows up on all the TV screens taking credit for a bombing. And then there are more bombings and he takes credit for those. In one of the attacks, Happy is caught in the explosion and ends up in the hospital. In that attack is when we learn that the “bombs” are actually human beings who are giving huge amounts of thermal energy in the explosions. We also learn that these people are tied to Killian and AIM, so we begin to think that AIM is working for the Mandarin.

Tony Stark being Tony Stark, he challenges the Mandarin after Happy got hurt. He calls the Mandarin out and even gives out his home address. The Mandarin replies by sending 3 helicopter equipped with missiles and machine guns and they basically destroy Tony’s Malibu house, and Tony is caught in the wreckage after saving Pepper and a scientist he had a one night stand with on the same New year’s he met Killian. Stark is presumed dead, but  he is really stuck in Tennessee (coordinates he had set prior to the attack, but was not able to fly to). He investigates a bombing that happened in the town prior to the Mandarin and he tries to repair his suit. He also meets a kid there who helps him out. The interactions between Tony and the kid are probably the best character interactions in the whole movie. They have great chemistry and play their parts very well. It was one of the highlights of the film.

Tony gets to where the Mandarin is broadcasting from, which happens to be Miami, and here we discover that the Mandarin is a fraud. He is really some actor hired to play the role. This really sucked. This was one of Iron Man’s greatest foes in the comics, and here they just make him a total joke. A lot of fans got pretty upset about it, and it is still hot topic today. In fact, Marvel released a one shot on Thor 2, just to explain that the real Mandarin is still out there, it wasn’t Killian or Trevor, but the real Mandarin is out there at the head of the 10 Rings. It will be interesting to see if the Mandarin ever shows up as a real villain in a later MCU film.

Overall, Iron Man 3 was pretty good. Not as good as the first Iron Man film, but better than Iron Man 2. We see the characters develop and grow as a result of what happened in New York. Tony is scared because he can’t lose Pepper, the on e thing in this world that means anything to him, that he can’t lose. I can see how it spins from here to the point where he is creating Ultron to protect the world, just to keep Pepper safe. His anxiety and fear grew throughout the film. He is able to control at one point when the kid tells him to just build something, but it will always be there, so I can see Ultron being the next step for him.

The Mandarin was a big disappointment, one of the biggest in the whole MCU. I hope someday they rectify it, beyond just a one shot special feature. I understand taking risks, but don’t just totally disrespect the source material either. I also hope that if the Iron Patriot shows up in Age of Ultron,  that he shows up as War Machine instead of Iron Patriot. War Machine is a way better name. I would imagine we will see more of Col. Rhodes in AoU and in Civil War, as he is being set up, I would imagine, to step in and become Iron Man in Tony’s place when RDJ is done playing the role.

Overall, this is a good start to Phase 2, but it’s not my favorite movie in Phase 2. The next 3 are 3 of my favorite movies in the MCU, so I am really excited to get to them. Thor 2, Cap 2, and GOTG are just 3 really great movies, and as I watch each of these and they lead more and more into Age of Ultron, I am getting more and more anxious to see the film. I can’t believe we are only 2 weeks away. Can’t wait.

What about you? What did you think of Iron Man 3?  Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from you.


Revisiting the MCU: The Avengers



It was a movie event years in the making. This was the culmination of everything we had seen up to this point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There were so many expectations riding on it, so much for it to live up to. And more than almost any other film it lived up to all those expectations. With The Avengers, Marvel rewrote what people expected from super hero movies and completely changed the landscape. DC, previously on the fence about the idea of a Justice League movie, now realized that they had to do it in order to keep up. If they were smart, they would copy Marvel’s formula. Forget about people accusing them of ripping Marvel off, they need to do it exactly how Marvel did it. They’re not, and that is a post for another day, but let’s hope they have enough of the formula there to make it work. Don’t worry, though, it all comes full circle since The Avengers in the comics were a direct response to the Justice League comics, so there you go.

I loved this movie, from start to finish, and watching it again made me really excited for Age of Ultron. There is just something special about the Avengers films, having all the heroes together in one movie is just so much more amazing than their individual movies, in my opinion. There is just more excitement, more fun. Plus, the chemistry that they all had together was incredible. Part of why it all worked, a really big part is that we knew all of these characters already, including the main villain. The story wasn’t bogged down with any back story of the characters. We just saw how they were all finally brought together. Plus it was cool that they were somewhat true to the source material. The Avengers originally came together in t a story in which Loki tried to put Hulk against Thor, and the result was the Avengers forming. Of course, Cap wasn’t part of the team, but still, it was cool that they went that direction.

The action in this film is nonstop. It starts right at the beginning with the appearance of Loki (explained as a result of the teseract) and him stealing the teseract, as well as Hawkeye and Doctor Selvig. It doesn’t slow down from there. This made for an exciting and enjoyable movie, and you don’t really notice the length. It gets heavy in some parts, but not overly heavy, like when they are all arguing on the carrier. It starts to get heavy, but it’s followed up with a great action sequence, that leads into about 5 minutes of rest, before going right into the climax and the final battle.

Overall, this film has a great story, showing how the team is formed. It follows all the classic stages of team building-Forming (happens at the beginning as well as the films leading up to it), Storming (Starts basically when Black Widow goes to get Banner, continues when Cap meets Stark, and hits its peak in the research room on the carrier), Norming (the team comes together a little bit when Hawkeye attacks and Loki is freed, it continues through when they find out about Coulson’s “death”), and finally Performing (the final battle, as Cap takes charge, and they are finally the Avengers). This is classic story telling, and really how team building works in real life. Minus the super powers and alien invaders.

Watching this movie again made me really excited for Age of Ultron.  I can’t wait to see where Whedon will be taking the team next. I have a feeling they won’t be ending on a high note, since this next movie leads into Civil War. We’ll see. In any case, The Avengers  is one of my all time favorite superhero movies and has everything I want. Good team chemistry, a good story, great action, and very entertaining. You almost don’t notice little inconsistencies, like how did Thor get down to Earth? It’s never really explained.

This was a great conclusion to what Marvel called “Phase 1.” It was a very satisfying ending to the Phase 1 story line, and led us well into Phase 2, which will now be wrapping up with Age of Ultron. It also does a great job of setting up Phase 3, where we are ultimately going with all of this, the Infinity War. We see Thanos for the first time, as well as seeing shawarma for the first time. I wonder if there were little shawarma shops through out the country that saw a huge boost in business after this film came out…

What did you think of Marvel’s conclusion to Phase 1? Was it as good as the hype, or did it not really live up to it? Let me know in the comments. We are just over half way there now as we get closer and closer to the May 1 release of Age of Ultron.

Revisiting the MCU: Captain America: The First Avenger



As we move through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, our next film is Captain America: The First Avenger. As I sat down to watch this movie, I was going to try to be as unbiased as possible, but it’s hard because Cap is my favorite of the Avengers, and there is a lot I like about this movie, even if there is a lot that I don’t. The hard part is that the stuff I like I really like, and it can out weigh the stuff I don’t like and maybe I don’t notice it as much.

I really like Chris Evans as Captain America. I wasn’t sure at first, because I couldn’t get past him as the Human Torch in Fantastic Four, and Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers are two totally different personalities. Once I saw the movie, though, it’s hard for me to remember him as the Human Torch at all. He does a great job pulling off the clean-cut, always do the right character of Steve Rogers, and equally as Captain America.

I also like how they built up the character of Steve Rogers as he is becoming Captain America. The scenes during his boot camp are some of my favorites in the movie. Particularly when he brings down the flag pole to give the flag to his drill sergeant so he doesn’t have to keep running, and when they throw in the dummy grenade and he throws himself on it. Those are moments that define who Captain America is before he is Captain America. It shows that there is more to him than his powers that come from the super serum. I also chuckle when he is trying to enlist and he meets Dr. Erskine for the first time, and he thinks he has been caught lying to enlist. And of course, another defining statement is when he is asked by Dr. Erskine if he wants to go over to Germany to kill some Nazis. He responds by saying he doesn’t want to kill anyone, but he doesn’t like a bully. That’s Captain America in a nutshell.

Overall, I always enjoy this movie, it is fun, it is exciting in parts, and I love Captain America, so mostly it’s a win. However, there are a few plot details that drive me nuts. The US government, and especially a US government that later has an organization like SHIELD, would never spend that much money and time and resources to create a super soldier, have it be successful and then not use him for combat. It’s just kind of silly. I struggle with that every time. When Tommy Lee Jones says he was promised an army, and all he got was Rogers, and he wasn’t enough, it’s almost laughable. So, basically, you didn’t get your army, so your still going to go and try to win the fight against Hydra without the one weapon you did get. Seems reasonable. No, the reality is that Rogers would have been on the first boat to Germany and sent to the front lines. Of course he only gets there after spending time as a glorified dancing Uncle Sam, and then going awol to find his missing friend. That’s when the army realizes, “Hey, you know this super powered guy we have that can do almost anything? Maybe we should use him to do stuff.”

Other than that, the film is pretty watchable. It runs a little cheesy and over the top at times, but Captain America was originally cheesy and over the top. This isn’t really our introduction to the modern Cap, it’s our introduction to who Cap was during World War II, and it gets him to our time with the whole freezing thing. Really, it’s a 2 hour set up for later jokes, like in the Avengers when he gets excited because he got a reference to Wizard of Oz. We laugh because we know he just barely got thawed and was stepping out go 1945. It is a film to establish frame of mind, so we understand who Cap was and who he is. In Winter Soldier, we get the modern Cap, and he is awesome, but that is a review for another day.

What did you think of First Avenger? How does it stack up tot he preceding Marvel films like Iron Man and Thor? Let me know in the comments. Always love hearing from you.

Revisiting the MCU: Thor

Thor (2011) Wallpaper 1


The next stop on our tour through the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Thor. For me, this is where I feel like the MCU is really expanding. Up to this point, we have only seen two Iron Man movies and a Hulk re-boot. With Thor, we are getting something new and really different. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Thor because of my Danish ancestry, so I was really excited about this movie when it came out. I was also really nervous. With all the fantasy elements to Thor, there was always a possibility that it could be really cheesy and lame.

Fortunately, Thor was neither cheesy nor lame. Or at least not overly cheesy and lame. I mean, when Thor talks in his normal fancy speak, it can come across as pretty lame, but Hemsworth does it just right. This film was a great addition to the MCU and a great expansion into bigger things. I think they nailed the casting with Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and of course Tom Hiddleston as Loki. I had never heard of Hiddleston before this film, but afterward, he was a household name, and with good reason. He played the role to a T. Just an excellent job.

This movie was interesting because it was an origin story, but it was different from most origin stories. Usually, the main protagonist gets his powers and there is a period of time where he or she is getting used to their powers and how to use them and all of that. There is none of that in this movie. Thor is born a god, and has his powers from birth, so he doesn’t have to get used to them. The real origin story here is how he becomes fond of Midgard, or Earth. In the beginning we see a reckless young god who makes poor decisions and doesn’t value the lives of his enemies or his friends. He is immortal, and he knows it.

This story follows what happens when he is banished to Midgard by Odin to be taught a lesson. He doesn’t really get what’s happening at first, and along the way he meets Jane Foster and her team and befriends them. They are there for him when he discovers that he doesn’t have his powers anymore, and he decides to stay with them when Loki visits him and tells him he can never come home. We see Thor grow as he begins to care about these people and develops a new perspective about what it takes to be a leader. Before, battle was all about glory and things like that. Now he is beginning to count the costs and value life. It’s not all about glory. It’s important for him to get to this point before Loki sends the destroyer down to kill him and everybody else.  Because he is at this point, he is willing to face off against the giant himself with no powers. It is at this moment that he becomes the hero. He becomes worthy of his hammer, Mjolnir.

This was a fun movie in typical MCU fashion. It’s full of humor and wit. It also has great shout outs to fans of the comics. For example, when he puts on the shirt that Jane gives him and the name tag say Donald Blake, MD. This was the identity he used to assume in the comics. Of course he continues to assume it in the movie. That was cool. The best line or humorous moment was when he refers to Agent Coulson as “Son of Coul.”  That was great.  Overall, in the beginning of the movie we have a hard time with Thor and his reckless character, but part way through, we find ourselves agreeing with Hawkeye when he says he’s going to start rooting for this guy. And of course, I can still remember how excited I was when at the very end of the credits it says that Thor would be returning in The Avengers. It was only a year away at that point.

What were your thoughts on Thor? Did it hold up against Iron Man and Incredible Hulk? Or was it a disappointment? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Revisiting the MCU: The Incredible Hulk

MCDINHU EC040The next film my wife and I enjoyed on our road to Age of Ultron was the Incredible Hulk. I know, this is out of order, since we have already watched Iron Man and Iron Man 2. I’m sorry, that’s all I can say. We had planned it all out and somehow had this one scheduled after the first two Iron Man films. I got called out for it on Google +, and I wish I could go back and fix it, but unfortunately, I can’t, so you are all stuck with reading a review for The Incredible Hulk, after my review for Iron Man 2. I promise I will keep the rest of them straight from here on out.

It’s hard to really place this film in the MCU. It is, in a lot of ways, the awkward uncle that’s definitely part of the family, but everyone is just fine seeing him only on major holidays, because he just doesn’t fit in. There are a lot of reasons for that, in my opinion. The first thing is what is this movie, exactly? Is it a sequel to Hulk? Is it a re-boot, meant to launch a series of Hulk centered films? Or is it just one chapter in the Avengers Assemble storyline? Another thing is the fact that this film, this one film, is Universal. The other MCU films prior to all coming under the Disney umbrella, were all Paramount. This one film stands out as the only Universal film. Then there’s the Edward Norton aspect. He is only Bruce Banner in this one film. That’s it. In fact, we have seen three different versions of the Hulk, and Mark Ruffalo is the only guy to play Banner twice now. Taking all of this into consideration, it is sometimes hard to see where this film fits into the grander Marvel scheme.

The truth is, this film does fit in with the rest of the MCU films, in that it is really a great movie. In almost every way that Hulk failed, this movie was a success. This was obviously not a sequel, and they let us know that right at the beginning when they retold the origin story of the Hulk, and it was different, slightly, from the previous movie. That was all we needed to know. I hope they revisit this concept with the next Spider-Man film- condense the origin story down to the opening credits and then jump into the action. I loved that when I watched it this last time. I really hope they do something similar with Spider-Man. Just like Spider-Man, we all know the basic story of Hulk’s origin, so no need to go into super fine detail.

Despite not being an origin story, the film does quite a bit to develop the Bruce Banner/Hulk character. In this film, we get a sense that Bruce is really all alone and wandering the Earth. He wants to get rid of the Hulk, find a cure. We see him trying to learn how to control his anger. He doesn’t want to control Hulk, he wants to subdue him totally. That’s his goal. We also see that Hulk is not a mindless beast. He knows who Betty is, and he wants to protect her. Despite all the destruction he causes, we also see that he is really the victim here. He is being attacked again and again, and he is just trying to protect himself.

We also learn in this movie that here is a tie between Hulk and Captain America. Before we have even seen Cap on the big screen, General Ross has already exposed us to the idea of a super soldier, and Hulk was the result of one of their attempts to re-create the super soldier experiment. Of course, Banner realizes that they would never be able to control an army of Hulks. Or even just one, which is all they would need.

Overall, this is a pretty good film. I am not a huge Hulk fan, but this movie is probably my favorite telling of a Hulk story. It has the despair of being alone, plenty of action, and some pretty good humor. Going away from Edward Norton, though a fine actor, in favor of Mark Ruffalo was the right choice. I enjoyed Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner more than Norton’s. Norton was just to unemotional, to removed. I didn’t feel anything for him. Buffalo brings in all the emotions that Banner should have, and does it well. Despite that, I would say that everyone keeps looking for a Hulk film in the MCU, and when are they going to announce a standalone Hulk film, and I say we have this one already, and it’s not too bad.

Revisiting the MCU: Iron Man 2



We go from the movie that started it all, that surprised everyone, to a movie that was a big disappointment in a lot of ways. It is hard to catch lightning like Iron Man in a bottle twice, but Paramount and Marvel were certainly going to try. Iron Man 2  may be thought of as one of the worst, if not the worst of all the marvel films. That puts it above most other superhero movies. I think part of the problem when I originally saw the film was that my expectations were really high after Iron Man. There was no way that the sequel was going to live up to the hype. That’s only part of the problem with this film. I really feel like the biggest issue is that they were trying too hard. They were trying too hard to be funny, trying too hard to be cool, trying too hard to throw the Avengers hints out there. That was the real issue, I think.

The dialogue in this movie tried to be as smart and as funny as the first one. What made the first Iron Man film so good is that it wasn’t trying to be anything. The whole thing was cool just by being what it was. Iron Man 2 was obviously trying to be that cool, or cooler. The lines all seem forced, instead of natural, and they just seemed to come one right after the other. It almost gets a little painful part way through. Tony Stark becomes more of a character, than an actual character. He is so exaggerated and over the top, it just becomes ridiculous. As a result, the other characters follow suit. Justin Hammer is just as stupid as Tony. The two characters are competing with each other throughout the film, but they both win first prize for “Most Over the Top Billionaire.”

The biggest thing that happens in this film, story wise, is that Marvel is making it absolutely clear that they are leading up to an Avengers movie now. In Iron Man, it was hinted at and little clues told you it was possibly coming. They were planning on it if Iron Man was successful. In Iron Man 2, it is clearly going to happen, and they can’t help but throw in clues, like Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer. These aren’t Easter eggs. These are almost obnoxious with how blatant they are. We also get to meet Black Widow for the first time, which is exciting. We have no idea how important she will be down the road, and it is fun to go back and watch it now, knowing what role she will play later.

One of the biggest disappointments in this sequel is the character development, which is almost nonexistent. Whatever growth and maturity Tony Stark attained in Iron Man is completely erased at the beginning of this second installment. Tony is right back to being Tony, making you wonder what the point of the whole first movie was. In addition, whatever blossoming relationship was there at the end of Iron Man between Pepper and Tony, is completely gone for 99 % of this movie. It is really like the whole first movie never happened as far as the actual characters go. None of the characters came out of this sequel more developed than they were at the end of Iron Man. Most barely made it back to where they were at the end of the first movie.

One of the biggest changes in this movie was Don Cheadle stepping in as Rhodey. Personally, I liked Terrence Howard’s Rhodey better, but the whole contract did not work out, so Cheadle became the sidekick in the two sequels. The inclusion of Rhodey, though, did mean we got to see War Machine for the first time, and the possibilities of the two working together seemed endless. The way it worked out, though, we got one elongated scene and most of it was spent with Rhodey’s suit out of his control and trying to kill Iron Man. Of course, all of this is at the hands of Whiplash, who is basically the Russian, poor version of Tony Stark, the only other person in the world who has figured out the Arc reactor, and he happens to hate Tony Stark. This character just did not work out well. It wasn’t Mickey Rourke’s fault. The writers gave him crummy lines, and Mickey just tried his best to deliver the garage he had been fed. I think there was a lot of potential there, but again the delivery was lacking.

Overall, the film is not the worst movie I have ever seen, just the worst Marvel movie in recent memory. It was still fun in parts, and although the Avengers stuff was almost distracting, on a certain level, it was also pretty fun. That kind of describes this whole movie, overall it was kind of distracting and obnoxious, but on a certain level is was also kind of fun. Overall, I gave it a 2.5 stars.

What did you think of Iron Man 2? Is there someone out there who absolutely loves this movie? Am I in the minority for not really liking this one as much? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you. You can also check out my review of Iron Man here.

Revisiting the MCU: Iron Man



My wife and I thought it would be fun to try to have a Marvel Cinematic Universe Marathon leading up to the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Sure, we could have gotten tickets to the 26 hour long marathon that is playing at select theaters, but unfortunately we have a life outside of these movies, and we have these other beings that live with us, called children, that make a 26 hour long movie marathon kind of hard. Plus, my wife barely makes it through 10 minutes of a movie before she falls asleep. She would probably slip into a coma if I took to something like that. No, we decided instead to take it kind of slow and try to work our way through each of the 11 films that currently make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Then I thought it would be fun to offer reviews of these films as we watched them.

We decided to start at the beginning, the film that launched a universe- Iron Man. I should start by admitting that I am not a huge Iron Man fan (Sorry Eric, I know he’s your favorite). In fact, in the upcoming Civil War movie, I am not entirely sure what the whole disagreement will be about, but I am almost positive I will be on Captain America’s side. At least, I was totally positive until I watched this film again. I was convinced that at 7 years old this film would be starting to show a little age, look a little dated. For the most part it didn’t. It still holds up pretty well. I also expected to find a bunch of holes, like they weren’t totally sure they were going to build the massive universe they have, so you would see things or hear things that would end up happening totally differently. Also didn’t happen. We meet Agent Coulson for the first time and he is totally Agent Coulson.  Fury even shows up at the very end and basically says that Stark is now part of a much bigger world full of Superheroes. Marvel had their master plan all along.

This movie was just as enjoyable as it was the first time around, and maybe even more now that we know a little bit about where the story has headed. I remember being totally surprised by the success of this film. Iron Man was always kind of lame in the comics, at least I thought so. I just figured the film would flop. It didn’t, as we all know, and it continues to impress.

This is solid movie from a character standpoint as well. It develops the Tony Stark Character really well. He is such a jerk in the beginning. Then, of course, he has a whole new perspective after his vehicle is attacked  and he is taken prisoner and forced to build a weapon to help the 10 Rings. I mean, who hasn’t had an experience like that? Of course you come out of it changed. This of course leads to him becoming Iron Man, and Marvel’s resident genius.

My biggest disappointment in this movie is simple. It is a complaint I have had since I saw it for the first time. I get coming back to the good ol’ US of A, and I the first thing you want is a cheese burger. Absolutely on board. What I don’t get is if you are a billionaire, and you live in California, why in the world would you go to Burger King? That’s not happening. At the very least, head over to In-n-Out Burger. I mean, it just almost makes the whole movie unbelievable for me.

Overall, I think this is one of the better films in the MCU lineup. It is easy to see how this movie was as successful as it was, and to see how it would open the door for the movies to follow and lay the foundation for the Avengers. The sequel, on the other hand, well, that’s a tale for another day. 4.5 Stars overall for this great movie. If it’s been a while, check it out before Age of Ultron.


Avengers:Age of Ultron 2nd Trailer Review

The first trailer we got for Avengers:Age of Ultron gave us a glimpse of Ultron and just how scary and ominous he might be. Using the Pinocchio song definitely upped the eery mood:

Today, january 12, marvel dropped their second Age of Ultron Trailer, this creepy little number:

I’m not quite sure what to think about this new trailer, or the new Avengers movie as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, I think it looks amazing, and I truly believe that Joss Whedon can literally do no wrong. I just wonder about how dark this film is going to be. Looking at these first two trailers, Avengers 2 does not look like a happy-go-lucky kind of movie, like the first one was. It looks dark and dreary and Batman like. Can Marvel pull that off? One of the driving factors to the Marvel movie success has been their humor and their jokes and their wit, which all seems to be missing from this film, or at least the previews. Maybe it is there in the film, and I am worrying about nothing.

In any case, it looks intense and exciting and I have no doubt that Marvel will be taking my money on May 1. And, like I said, with Joss Whedon at the helm, I will probably be leaving the theatre thinking this was the best Super Hero film ever.

What do you think of the latest trailer? Are you excited for the movie?  Let us know in the comments below.

Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle


Maybe I am a little behind the times, but I missed this great documentary when it premiered on PBS last year.  Luckily for me, the three-part series is available on NetFlix, and is totally worth the time.  Each episode is 55 minutes long, so it can be easily broken up over three evenings.  This production talks about Superheroes, as indicated in the title, but it discusses them in their purest form: Comics.  I love comics, and for me they are the canon of the superhero world.  Whenever a movie comes out and it doesn’t agree totally with the comics, I always think to myself, “That’s not what really happened.”  Somehow, because this is where they originated, comics have always held a stronger value for me.

This film starts at the beginning of Superheroes in the comics.  The 1930’s and Superman. That’s where it all began.  Say what you will about Big Blue, but he was the original, and without him, you wouldn’t have Batman, or Spider-Man, or Wolverine, or the Avengers or any of it.  It all started with this creation by two boys name Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  This film does a great job of setting the historical atmosphere for the early days of comics and Superheroes.  I think this is very important, because understanding Superman in his historical context helps us understand why he is such a goody-two-shoes.  That was what was expected at the time.  Plus, with the depression and the war in Europe, we needed a hero who was above it all and could do all the amazing things he could do.  This film also talks briefly about the boys who created Superman personally, and how that influenced how he looked and what powers he had.  IT was very interesting.  Of course, as Superman became more popular, we begin to see the rise of more heroes.  Many are copycats of Superman.  Many others are copies of what was found in another medium of the time, the Pulps.  This is where some of the darker, non-comic heroes lived, like the Shadow, who was a big influence on Bob Kane’s “The Batman.”  The Batman was really something else, as this film discusses.  He wasn’t from another planet, or have magical powers.  He was just a normal person who put on the tights and fought crime to avenge the death of his parents.  While hitting on the bigger names like Batman and Superman, the film also mentions some of the lesser known heroes like Bullet Man and the Blue Beetle.  It describes how many of the titles were so similar to each other, and all of them were trying to catch up to Superman.

I love that this documentary talks so much about the History that was happening in the United States as comics hit the scene and so on.  The next segment in this first episode goes into WWII, and the United States joining the War.  This presented a problem for the writers of Superman.  He was a man who could single-handedly end the war in one day if he wanted to, so how would he fit in with what was happening?  This is also where we see the emergence of Captain America. He was of course, very popular during WWII, and everyone could get behind his patriotic message.  More importantly, Joe Kirby’s art was monumental with Captain America.  They discuss this in detail in the movie and talk about how there was just so much movement in every panel.  As more and more women were going into the workforce to do their part in the war effort, society was becoming more receptive to a super heroine.  Enter Wonder Woman.  She had the basically the same powers as Superman, with the addition of the lasso of truth.  She believed in sisterhood and women’s rights.  She was ahead of her time.

The first episode ends with the 1950’s, which was a rough decade for the comics industry.  The things being portrayed in the books were being called into question.  The film discusses how comics are linked to delinquent behavior and how congress ends up setting up a watchdog organization and a comics code to make sure that the content is all appropriate in each title and issue.  many titles were not allowed to continue, and those that were were strictly monitored.  At the same time, TV was catching on, and it didn’t take long for superheroes to show up on the small screen.  Superman, again was the first.  He now represented Truth, justice, and the American Way more than ever, in an attempt to win over the people who now believed that comics led to juvenile delinquency.

All of that was the first episode.  It was great to see the origins of the comics I grew up reading and seeing how the outside world influenced the stories and the content in the books.  IT was also interesting to see how this truly American art form began to take shape and change over time.  The second episode begins with the 1960’s which means we see the beginning of Stan Lee and his work, and how it was much more relatable than what was in DC at the time.  I don’t want to give you a whole rundown of everything in the show, but I recommend checking it out on Netflix.  It will be worth your time.  It explains the difference between DC and Marvel better than most things that are out there, and gives historical context for why the difference is there.  Superman has always been my favorite superhero, but honestly, the Marvel heroes are much easier to understand and identify with.  Yes they have amazing powers, but really they are just regular people, just like me.  Again, check out this three-part documentary called Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle. It is available right now on NetFlix.  It is also a PBS production, so you can also find it at to purchase.  Worth the time, I promise, if you are into Superheroes at all.

Movie Discount Tuedsdays-How to Train YourDragon 2


One thing I have always geeked out about is going to the movies.  I have so many fantastic memories of sitting in a show house and not just seeing a film, but experiencing it.  I remember seeing Jurassic Park for the first time, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Back to the Future 3, Superman 4, Star Wars Episode I, any number of Star Trek Films, etc.  It’s no coincidence that the first job I ever had, was with our local theater.  They could have just paid me in free movies and I would have been happy.  Eventually, I worked in the projection booth, which I loved because I could just go from movie to movie and just enjoy them.  I just love it.  The smell of popcorn, the sticky floors, the fading lights, all of it is just fantastic.  And this is especially great in the summer time.  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to go regularly to see movies.  Watching movies in general has changed so much over the years.  Now, we have a giant screen TV in our basement and great sound and high def, so it is almost like the theater experience at home, but there is something about sitting in a room of complete strangers and enjoying a show together.  That can’t be duplicated.  Like I said, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.  Once we started having kids, red box and NetFlix, and at one time Blockbuster became our best friends.  But that’s starting to change.  My oldest son is just getting old enough to start really enjoying going to the movies.  I might just have my new movie buddy.  I figure this is a good thing, because I can start raising him right and taking him to see the good stuff.  I have been thinking about beginning a series here about going to movies with my son, but it gets pretty pricey, and that was the main draw back.  Well, that has changed.  Our local Cinemark does discount Tuesdays where the movies are just $5.  That’s not too shabby.  If we can both go for a total of $10, I can make this happen much more frequently.  Added bonus: Quality time with the boy, which every young man needs.  Another benefit of the Cinemark is that they are the only local theater that offers good closed captioning devices on each of their titles.  Our other major brand locally only offers it for select titles at select times.  This is a big deal since my oldest is deaf and would also like to enjoy the dialogue of the film.

Tonight’s feature was How to Train Your Dragon 2.  The two of us had gone together when the first one came out, and he has loved the film ever since.  When he saw there was a sequels coming out, he couldn’t wait to go see it.  I loved the first film.  I loved that Hiccup was a hero by being himself and helping his Dad to come around.  He was different from the other vikings, but that difference made all the difference.  I felt like it had a lot of heart, and I wasn’t sure how the sequel would be able to capture that same heart again.  I mean, he changed the town’s way of thinking, they liked the dragons now, so what was there left to do?  Well, they did it.  They found a way.  To me, the overall message of the film was to not back down from what you believe is right.  Stand for it.  I like that message.  Besides that, the animation is fantastic and the setting is beautiful and the dragons and vikings are cool.  I would have loved this franchise as a kid. What’s not to love?    It has action, adventure, dragons.  Just great.  Plus, my son loved it as much as the original.  His first question when it was over was: “When does number 3 come out?”  I think one thing that this film does is the number of dragon species.  Each species has its own special characteristics.  This gives it an obsessibility factor, similar to Pokemon or Skylanders, but cooler because it’s dragons.  It was an overall fun flick, so I would recommend it.  The best part was watching my son enjoy it.  He was glued the whole time and was a little sad when it was over.  So it gets his approval as well.  It looked great in 2D, so I don’t think it would be worth seeing in 3D, which I feel is typically overrated and overhyped.  The animation was great, on level with anything Pixar has done.  It was full of similar humor to the first movie, which kept it light, but it was serious too.  There is a moment, fair warning, where someone dies that is pretty important to our hero.  It drives the point home, without over playing it.  My son felt the seriousness of what was happening, but I don’t think he was scarred for life.  Overall, go see it.  In  fact, if you have the opportunity, go with your kids, and take them on a Tuesday to Cinemark and save a few bucks.