“Captain America: Civil War” Batman V Superman 2: The Better Jokes Edition

All the same issues. Like with Batman and Superman, I had no emotional investment in Spidey and Black Panther, as they’re rushed, moving plot vehicles/blatant fan service. Hell, Spidey has LITERALLY no reason to be in the movie. It was obvious he’s here solely because the marketing deal with Sony fell through and Marvel wanted to flaunt it. Black Panther goes from “dad let me kiss your hand” to “I’m going to kill Bucky Barnes” within ten dialogue lines of finding out about the latter’s existence. Jesus.Captain-America-Civil-War-Key-Art.jpg

The drama is cringe-y as usual a la Age of Ultron; the only good, meaningful moment being the final ten minute fight between Cap and Iron Man. And even then, what WAS the shining ten minute moment of this otherwise trashy two and a half hour movie is sullied by *MASSSSSSSSSSIVE SPOILER* an instant reconciliation of ALL the movie’s potential lasting impacts on the MCU.

And to all the goofs claiming the villain “wins” in this one, no, he doesn’t. All the Avengers are basically friends again by the end, minus Tony Stark who will be re-accepted as a buddy by Infinity War Part 2. So again, NO consequences in a Marvel film.

Moving on, the new Spider-Man, beyond being RANDOMLY found by Tony Stark with absolutely no build-up, has a hot aunt and lives in a posh fucking apartment and has zero charm. He’s easily the worst of the three Spider-Men we’ve seen. For me, Garfield remains king by a small margin over Maguire, but both still stomp the shit out of Holland.

Lastly, the Russos direct their action sequences through fucking GIFs. It’s all just BAMBAMBAMBAM without a single cohesive motion in the frame. Scarlett Johansson’s stunt double’s scenes are so shaky-cam filled you can’t even see her. Between bad stunt double filming and cuts that last only a matter of milliseconds before the next disconnected shot is slammed into the forefront, virtually all the action in the movie is an utter mess. The only two exceptions are, once again, the climactic final fight and one sick Bucky+Cap team-up on a stairwell.

The Good:

-Emotional, well-motivated final fight between Cap and Iron Man
-Great Bucky+Cap apartment/stairwell team-up sequence

The Bad:

-Zero consequences
-No build-up to the bevy of unsupported random reveals (Black Panther and Spidey)
-Cheesy dialogue
-Mishmash of sequel setups
-Airport fight is terribly overhyped. It’s underwhelming and average at best
-The movie is only a hair better than its lackluster predecessor, Age of Ultron
The giant ocean prison just appears at a point

The Ugly:

-The continued downward spiral of storytelling in the MCU

The Scrap Yard

Review of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

Did I like The Winter Soldier? Yes. Will this be a glowing review like every other one out there? No.Captain_America_The_Winter_Soldier_Teaser_poster_2

Captain America finally gets his reinvention story in the form of The Winter Soldier, transforming from WWII soldier to modern day lone wolf/SHIELD agent. Everyone returns to help Cap (Chris Evans) in his endeavors, like Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and even generic SHIELD agents like Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). New faces include The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) and the titular Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan, who’s not really a new face but portrays a new character). There are a couple of other surprise appearances, but I won’t spoil them here (and no, Red Skull/Hugo Weaving does not return). Needless to say, the dream cast is all here.

The four core elements of Marvel movies seem to be the plot, the humor, the action and the characters. Characters are pretty much a guaranteed jackpot at this point given Marvel’s track record, but the other three areas need discussing.

Firstly, the humor. Iron Man 3 was godawful in the humor department, with the phrase “too soon” coming to mind almost every time a joke was said. Seriously, a bull in a China shop would’ve been a lot subtler than the writers of that movie. Thor 2 actually managed to get the humor down to an understandable level, but still a bit much for my tastes (although the movie as a whole is tied with this one for my personal fav. Marvel flick of all time). The Winter Soldier nails the humor perfectly: It’s snappy, it’s quick and it’s relatively unobtrusive. Most importantly, it’s actually funny, for a change. +1 point for the writer who included a hella funny Pulp Fiction reference.

The action: It’s brutal, it’s uncomfortable and it actually feels scary for a change. Because it’s Captain America, there is no super-powered suit of metal to save him. There is no magical hammer of the Gods to rescue him. He has his fists and a better-than-average frisbee to protect himself with, and that means combating someone like the Winter Soldier can get pretty messy. Cap’s fights are usually fun, energetic beat-’em-ups when fighting grunts, but his run-ins with the Winter Soldier can get downright uncomfortable near the end, in terms of sheer brutality and unflinching cruelty. I like it, as it’s a nice change of pace from the nonsense of Iron Man 3 where Stark remains unscathed from the billions of insta-killing lasers flying by him every five seconds. There was actually one moment towards the very end where I had to close my eyes for a second — it’s that intense.

The plot: Surprisingly well done, with one gargantuan, fatal flaw. As far as positives go, the plot nails everything: It’s got an interesting, extremely well done opening similar to Hoth in Star Wars Episode 5, feeling like its own epic mini-movie that ties in perfectly with the bigger, stronger second and third acts. From there, the plot keeps the predictability, unlike the average superhero flick, to a minimum. The Winter Soldier only including a handful of annoying clichés; some of which just couldn’t be avoided, I suppose, given the nature of the cinematic universe Marvel has worked so hard to build and maintain.

That aforementioned fatal flaw with the plot will be discussed here, as it is my one, heartbreaking issue with the movie as a whole: It’s a prologue. (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) Similar to the theatrical adaptation of The Golden Compass, The Winter Soldier leaves you with a setup for the next movie, but with no payoff of its own. I can equate this to a movie like Gone With The Wind, which was a 4+ hour epic that was divided into two separate parts (one per each DVD). The difference with Gone With The Wind, however, is that it was all released at one time, as the colossal movie it was meant to be. The Winter Soldier feels like Marvel is just giving you a massive preview; just disc one of a two-disc movie. It’s perfect sequel-baiting, done as well as it will ever be done in the history of cinema, but I’ve had enough of this continual carrot-in-front-of-the-mouth shit that studios are continuously pulling these days, egging us on with the promise of closure and payoff.

On a final note, The Winter Soldier is an utterly amazing movie. The more I let it ruminate inside my head, the more I love it. It’s the most adult, most unapologetic and most relevant movie Marvel has released since the original Iron Man, and it might just be my favorite Marvel movie of all time. But, to be frank, I don’t believe it’s the masterpiece everyone claims it is, and I refuse to call it that until Captain America 3 is released and I can watch this one and that one back-to-back, and have a complete godamn movie.

The Scrap Yard

Review of “The Avengers”

This movie was awesome, hands down. It was explosive, had Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), action-packed, had Thor (Chris Hemsworth), was intense, and did I mention the mothertrucking Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)? THE HULK WAS A BOSS!

The plot of the movie is perfect. Cliche` bad guy (Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston) captures cliche` all powerful cube of destruction, so cliche` heroes must band together to fight an epic battle against space aliens. Done before? Yes. Done to this epic of a magnitude? NO! The CGI is on par with what we’ve been seeing from Transformers, and the plot fits snuggly into the Marvel universe. It’s almost the Alan Wake’s American Nightmare of plots, being a continuation that involves all the main characters, but not being a direct sequel to any individual’s plotline. Even better, it brings in some of the side characters from each hero’s own stories (ex. Pepper Potts played by Gwyneth Paltrow) which really solidifies the connectivity of the different universes.

The acting is a bit of a mixed bag. All characters did amazingly, but a few characters felt lacking in what I’d expected of them. Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t quite top his Iron Man 2 performance, mainly because this movie puts him in a position where he can’t play his normal “billionare playboy philanthropist” self which makes the lines seem a little on the forced side. On a good note, Chris Evans ups his acting from Captain America considerably, capturing the leader role far better this time around.

Sh*t goes down in the Avengers!

Overall, this movie isn’t the dark and grungy film Transformers: DOTM was. It wasn’t the award winning Dark Knight. It was an amazing coalition of superheroes and a giant fan-service package to Marvel lovers. It felt almost like the first time Superman was put on the silverscreen, being awesome in a unique way no other movie can touch. It’s a memorable milestone in Marvel’s history and should be seen by everyone who’s ever liked superheroes.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Captain America: Super Soldier for Xbox 360

Is Captain America: Super Soldier just another movie tie-in game, or does it bring something fun and above average to the table? Read on to find out!

Sound: Even though the actor from the movie, Chris Evans, voices his in-game counterpart, that’s just not enough to save this title from a weak musical scores and generally mediocre (with some exceptions) voice-acting. Sound: 5.5/10

Presentation: When it comes to visuals, this game has a fair amount of ups and downs. The ups are that the action sequences are well choreographed and the scenary represents World War II-era architecture impressively, but the downs are that character models move stiffly, camera angles are sometimes a problem and the overall graphic quality of the game could be more polished. Presentation: 6.5/10

Gameplay: Captain America excels when it comes to combat. You start with a simplistic control scheme and combat system, but the game spices up when you throw Captain’s shield into the mix, adding a fun and unique element into the gameplay. The platforming sections are a bit of a letdown, though, with everything consisting of tapping one button in a QTE (quick-time event) format. Aside from those two things, there are also the occasional puzzles which are fun at first, but eventually grow stale. In the end though, the combat is fun enough that you’ll want to keep on playing to the very end. Also, one additional little thing I noticed while playing is that unlike most movie tie-ins, this game sports gigantic non-linear maps and loads of collectables , which really shows the developer’s effort and pleasantly surprised me. Gameplay: 9.5/10

Multiplayer: N/A

Length: On my first playthrough, I beat this game in just under four hours. So this is definitely not a long game by any standards. Length: 3.5/10

Overall: Captain America gets 6.3 golden stars out of 10. Although it isn’t the most polished game, and it can be completed in a very small amount of time, I still recommend renting it just for the amazing gameplay.