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Avengers: Endgame – Russo (2019)

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This three hour ‘episode’ seems to come right after “Infinity War”. Thanos has wiped out a large part of the inhabitants of the universe, including earth. The Avengers are depressed, the movie is rather gloomy. Then the idea emerges to use Ant-Man’s “subatomic” state for time-travelling, go back in time, gather all infinity stones and prevent Thanos from obtaining them.

First we have the usual Avengers. Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk and Thor. Ant-Man joins the team and different parties go to different places and times to get the stones. During that proces the Guardians of the Galaxy join the club, Captain Marvel, Spider Man, Dr. Strange and when the war with Thanos becomes serious even the Wakandians.

A lot of drama, a massive battle halfway. “Endgame” has less of the feel good atmosphere of earlier Avenger films. There are a few jokes and funny dialogues. Beer belly Thor is amusing.

The story is not too interesting. An alright twist is that some characters from different times end up in the same time, such as Nebula giving the story a new twist.

An alright Marvel.

Ant-Man And The Wasp – Peyton Reed (2018)

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Apparently I saw the first “Ant-Man” well before I started watching the Marvel franchise. At the time (2015) I was not impressed, still expecting a film with comic book elements. Yet the Ant-Man ‘concept’ is very familiar. Did I see the old film again or did Ant-Man appear in another Marvel production?

The scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) created a suit that can shrink a person. Initially using it together with his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer), something went wrong and Pym put the project in the closet. Later the random Scott Lang becomes the new Ant-Man.

The thing that went wrong was that Pym’s wife went “sub atomic” and got lost, but Scott proves that coming back is possible, so in this second movie, the quest is to retrieve Janet van Dyke.

The only reference to the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” is that Ant-Man is under house arrest for having wreaked havoc together with the Avengers. During that period Hank Pym and his daughter (Hope van Dyke) have recreated the project and even expanded it. Now they can not only shrink a person in a suit, but they can shrink anything, whether a car or a complete building. This makes some amusing finds and brings an extra element to the ‘shrink-hit-grow’ type action scenes.

I find Ant-Man not the best Marvel character, he is a bit too goofy for me, but the shrinking-while-fighting concept does bring more of the amusing Marvel action.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 – James Gunn (2017)

The new troupe of heroes from ‘vol. 1‘ have become a team. The talking tree Groot has been replaced by a baby tree, but for the rest, the group remained the same. Even the villains partly did.

The movie is more to the comedy side of the Marvel franchise with silly jokes and screwball humour. The adventure this time involves the father of Peter Quill who may not have such great plans for the universe.

So there is some humour, some drama, some action, a not-too-interesting story. A bit of a filler in the Marvel franchise perhaps. Not even an addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe it seems.

Not boring, but nothing that needs to be high up on your watch list.

Daredevil – Mark Johnson (2003)

So not all Marvel characters make it to the league of Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daredevil is one such.

As a boy Matthew Murdock lost both his father and his sight. His blindness gives him new abilities and he trains himself from a shy boy into a fighting machine. He buys himself a fancy suit and sets out both to fight crime and to avenge his father.

“Daredevil” is a typical comic book action with a villain, drama and romance. Nothing out of the ordinary.

The character is used more often. A series has been made about him. He is one of four smaller Marvel characters in the series “The Defenders” and “Daredevil: The First Defender” seems to be a second movie, while “Daredevil: Born Again” has been announced.

Yep, the super hero factory runs at full speed.

Avengers: Infinity War – Russo (2018)

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The titles say less and less about whom the Marvel films are about. In “Infinity War” the Avengers are no longer complete (Hawkeye died somewhere) and also here we have Spider Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, Thor, there is even a part set in Wakanda, the bad guy is Thanos again. You get it, the Marvel movies are beginning to be like someone asking the entire cast who feels like playing in another movie and all characters of the actors who say ‘yes’ are written in. Think of a name, an there is another addition to the franchise.

“Infinity War” is another extraterrestrial spectacle. Thanos is after all the infinity stones and he is well on his way. Should he be able to get them all in his specially crafted glove, he would have infinite power and hence: destroy the universe. He is the bad guy after all, is he not?

Thor had some of the stones, but Thanos gets it in the opening scenes of the film. Also Dr. Strange appears to get his powers from one of the stones, so he is sought after as well. Vision, who grew out of the AI of Tony Stark (Iron Man) has one in his head as well. Different troupes who either or not met before get together. The Avengers meet the Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man meets Dr. Strange, etc. There are amusing references to earlier films such as Captain America asking about Thor’s new haircut (shorter) and Thor about his new beard or the Black Panther who shouts that Captain America needs a new shield.

Story wise there are not a whole lot of surprises. Thanos has the upper hand all the way to the end, but I will not give a big spoiler when I tell you he does not make it.

Captain America: Civil War – Russo (2016)

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A while ago I found a list of Marvel movies with a suggestion in which order to watch them so that the red thread can be followed. The films refer to each other, but it is not like the movies form some sort of series. Apparently “Civil War” was next in line, so I watched it a few weeks ago. I do not remember if I forgot to review it or simply thought that it was but another Marvel movie, so why review it, but I did not review it as last weekend I almost rented it again. Perhaps I should keep my administration up to date and keep nagging you with Marvel reviews.

So, Captain America is the first of the superheroes. A couple of films have been made with him in the title, as after 75 years on ice, he woke up in the same time as in which The Avengers are active. Hence, Captain America become one of the Avengers. But even when the film is not named “Avengers”, but “Captain America”, all the rest are there nonetheless.

The rescue missions of The Avengers create a lot of collateral damage and politicians want to take down the group. In the end this causes friction between Captain America and Iron Man who become fierce opponents (causing a lot of collateral damage). Also in this film are the Black Widow, Hawkeye, Falcon and even Vision and Winter Soldier.

A typical moralistic Marvel in which -needless to say- the good guys win. Who exactly are the good guys?

The Marvels – Nia DaCosta (2023)

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The speed with which the Marvel franchise is expanded is amazing. Here we have a ‘girlpower’ Marvel.

So far there has been one “Captain Marvel” movie, which I happen to have seen. Captain Marvel is actually Carol Denvers. Captain Marvel has quite some abilities, even on a Marvel scale. She can just take off and fly through the universe without imploding or problems breathing. She seems to have unlimited ‘light energy’ which she uses for fighting. While flying, she can fly through a space ship like a missile. Captain Marvel is more of the comic book type hero with superpowers than many other Marvel characters.

In “The Marvels” we again meet Monica Rambeau who Captain America met when she was a little girl in the previous movie. Introduced is the adolescent Kamala Khan. That part of the story is somewhat like that of “Blue Beetle“. A child of an immigrant family also has superpowers and the protective family makes a few extra jokes. Are these kids introduced to appeal to a younger audience?

“The Marvels” has a ‘new joke. Captain America, Rambeau and Khan prove to switch places once one of them uses their powers. This brings odd scenes in which one is fighting and suddenly another is part of that fight while the other ends up in a teenage bedroom. Once they get a hang of how they can use this anomaly you get some over-the-top fighting scenes reminding of “Ant-Man” who continuously grows and shrinks while fighting.

Of course there is a ‘bad person’ doing ‘bad things’ which need to be stopped. Needless to say that for a while that adversary is stronger than the heroes, but not until the end.

In the previous “Captain Marvel” we got to know “Goose” which looks like a cat, but which is actually a “Flerken”. “Goose” has been written into the story quite a bit here, amusingly so.

“The Marvels” is -like most other Marvel films- amusing. It may actually be the first Marvel film in which actually comic book type scenes are introduced in the beginning. For people who have not yet seen the dozens of other Marvel films, the references to other films are shown in flashbacks. This also seems to be a (somewhat) new element.

Anyway, Marvel action.

Guardians Of The Galaxy – James Gunn (2014)

The Marvel franchise needed a couple of new heroes, so in “Guardians Of The Galaxy” we follow a bunch of space criminals who have to work together. Initially to break out of prison, but then to save the universe.

The only link to the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” appears to be that the globe that everybody is after, contains one of the “infinity stones”. Needless to say that some bad guy wants that globe to destroy the universe and the group of new heroes thinks that is a bad idea.

We have a ‘normal man’, a green woman, a rodent with a walking tree and a hulk type brute. Strange characters reminding a bit of Star Wars fill the screen. There is of course action, but all very ‘spacey’. Nothing too great.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Sam Raimi (2022)

I watched this Marvel ill-prepared. I was going to watch something else and decided to switch the last minute and this one was in the watch-list.

It is by and far the weakest Marvel that I saw so far. The movie is more of a Harry Potter type magical fantasy, but more pompous. Dr. Strange is some sorcerer who encounters a girl being chased by a monster. There appears to be another sorcerer in the neighborhood and the two take the girl to their temple of sorcerers.

Dr. Strange goes to consult his ex-wife who proves to be the most mighty of black magicians and she is after the girl’s powers. The girl has the ability to jump between different universes and so there is an “Inception” like chase through “the multiverse of madness”. This of course leads to a visual spectacle which is quite unimpressing.

Had I prepared myself a little better, I would have known that there have been Dr. Strange movies since the 1970’ies and this one is not even the first Marvel. There are almost no references to the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, What is somewhat amusing is that Lashana Lynch appears as Captain Marvel, while in the “Captain Marvel” film she is Maria Rambeau. For a minute I thought she was also in the Wakanda films, but she is actually in “Woman King“. Also Sheila Atim from “Woman King” appears in this Doctor Strange.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Russo (2014)

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A while ago when I was looking around a bit to see what to watch and I came to a Marvel featuring Scarlett Johansson. I figured that was a good reason to watch “Black Widow“. By now it is clear that the Black Widows is in most Marvel films, even this one which is specifically about Captain America.

Steve Rogers still tries to be the good guy with old values. Values that he finds fading in modern life. For the rest the story is quite typical. There is a mysterious and mighty adversary that Captain Marvel and the Black Widow fight together. Then we have the changed roles in which the good guys appear to be the bad guys and everybody is out to get our super hero duo.

Amusing, with a few notches to the past and close to none to the ‘larger story’. Hence: a Marvel shootout.