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Marvel

Thor: Love and Thunder – Taika Waititi (2022)

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Even compared to the previous Thor films, this one is quite ‘screwball’. Not too bad humour though.

Thor teams up with the Gardians of the Galaxy to fight a new arch enemy (a great Christian Bale btw) and in doing so he finds out that the hammer that his sister destroyed has been reassembled by his ex Jane (Natalie Portman) who is now “mighty Thor”. Thor made himself a new axe for a replacement and tries to prevent ever again falling in love.

In order to fight Gorr, a group of three visit Zeus (an amusing Russell Crowe), but he refused to help out, so another party is created to help prevent Gorr killing all the Gods and all that with the usual action, comedy and drama.

Thor: Ragnarok – Taika Waititi (2017)

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Thor’s sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) is the one to wreak havoc this time. Thor and Loki fall off the Bifrost trying to prevent Hela from entering Asgard and they end up on the same planet. This planet is ruled by “Grandmaster” (an amusing Jeff Goldblum) where he has a bit of Videodrome-type fights. There Thor meets an old pal.

The first task is to get off the thrash-planet and then of course to defeat Hela which succeeds in an unexpected way that gives an amusing twist to the actual Ragnarök theme.

There is another known Marvel character in the film: Dr. Strange.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – Destin Daniel Cretton (2021)

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Early in the “fourth fase” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a new director gets a whole new storyline.

A Chinese legend of a man is told who became immortal when he obtained ‘the ten rings’. Not just immortal, Xu is unconquerable. After a few centuries of battle he tries to settle down, have kids, grow old. Of course things do not turn out that way.

We mostly follow Xu’s son Shaun (Shang-Chi) who lives his life parking cars, whose past catches up with him. He needs to return to his land of birth and find his sister to fight his father. A not too interesting story unfolds.

I wonder how this new storyline will be woven into the rest. There is a Wakanda-like land beyond a waterfall, new dark and light creatures, etc.

The film is not boring, but I wonder why something completely new was found necessary.

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.