Director: Joe Johnston
What’s Weird: Creepy, scrawny, superimposed Chris Evans. Reminded me of that Wayans Brothers movie Littleman.
What’s Cool: Seeing Bucky in the chair that we later find out was used for brainwashing him. I’m not familiar with the comics so I didn’t know Winter Soldier was coming. Cool to see the foundation for this laid early on.
What Holds: Tommy Lee Jones’ performance. He pulled off the strong military man, along with the subtle emotion and comedy. Agent Carter. Such a great, strong character. We don’t get women in the military too often, and she rocked it.
What’s Weak: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the villain. Weaving did a fine job, but the character hisself was bland.
Where’s Stan: Vet. at Captain's medal of valor ceremony.
After The Credits: An actual trailer, as in one that trailed the feature, for The Avengers.
Final Thoughts: Not much character development. Rogers was a guy with a strong mind, heart, and moral compass, who became a guy with a strong mind, heart, moral compass, and muscles. This was the first instance for me of corniness in the franchise that I can remember, but being a period piece it worked in the context of the film. As I stated I’m not familiar with the comics, but I was aware that Cap. was frozen for decades. That paired with the opening of this film gave the audience a preview of what was coming. That was what worked best for me in this film. If we knew where the journey was going to end, then the filmmakers had to make it a damn fun ride getting there. Even though the plot was generic there was enough emotional depth and heart to make it entertaining. And at least the ending wasn’t a computerized destroy all battle.
In Comparison: On the same level as Iron Man 2 and Thor. Not as cinematic as Thor and not as fun as Iron Man 2, but has the most heart.
Director: Joss Whedon.
What’s Weird: I had a difficult time with this one. I guess how much the Hulk looked like Ruffalo now. But that was also neat, because otherwise it wouldn't make much of a difference who was played him.
What’s Cool: This. The fact that it happened and was rad! Still in awe that it was pulled off so well.
What Holds: Everything in this movie until The Avengers get to New York. Stand out was Loki's speech to Black Widow about her past. Intense, emotional, and powerful—Hiddleston killed it.
What’s Weak: People will probably disagree, but the comedy in the third act was too slapstick for me. Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that it was funny, but it didn’t match the tone of the rest of the movie and felt disjointed because the rest of the was intense with well written interlaced humor.
Where’s Stan: He showed up on a screen during the after math of the battle as a man playing chess rambling about superheroes.
After The Credits: Our first glimpse of Thanos! And the Supers eating after the battle.
Final Thoughts: Aside from Loki’s anticlimactic defeat and there was never an established motivation for the aliens (except maybe they served Thanos, but it was after the credits and unclear) this movie was tight. We got the well placed corniness from Captain America; the cinematic Dutch angles and strong villain from Thor; and the intensity and development from Iron Man blended smoothly into a well written and paced picture.
In Comparison: Perhaps not as cohesive as Iron Man, but as thrilling of a ride. Best film in the franchise so far since Iron Man.
OH! AND THEY FIXED THOR'S EYEBROWS!
Director: Shane Black.
What's Weird: The Kingsley/Mandarin reveal. Felt like an SNL sketch. I thought it could have been handled better.
What's Cool: Tony's new suits and the new way they worked with his body and other people's.
What Holds: Tony's character development. He got the most of this franchise (so far at least), probably because he was the most broken. We get to see him knocked down a peg and forced to get over himself.
What's Weak: The fact the filmmakers went backward with Pepper. In Iron Man 2 she was great. Ran the company, called Tony on his crap, really got stuff done. She was a strong, grounded character, and a nice foil to eccentric Tony. But this time around they turned her back into a distressed damsel. At least by the finale she ended up kicking some ass saving Tony. Also the gloss over of fixing Pepper and getting Tony's shrapnel removed. Lastly Tony's prototype suit which kept falling apart—got boring after the first time, and why couldn't it get through a barn door?
Where's Stan: Judge at beauty pageant.
After The Credits: Tony venting to Banner.
Final Thoughts: A bit silly at times, but riddled with development. I loved seeing the aftermath of The Avengers, and Tony's vulnerability. Tony had to look at who he was without the suit, which directly plays into what he tells Spider-Man in Homecoming (I know I'm ahead of myself, but I love that connection). Another connection to Homecoming was the time Tony spent with the boy in the barn. Not only did it show Tony growing, but demonstrated his desire to mentor. Stark felt like a man on the verge of a break down. Overall the film was solid, but this one also had some slapstick moments—ripple effects from The Avengers, which didn't work for me. This was the first film so far that I've noticed does one of my least favorite Marvel bits…they undercut an emotional scene with an unnecessary joke.
Compares: Better than Iron Man 2 by being less of a retread and more of character piece about Tony Stark's struggle rather than Iron Man.
Director: Alan Taylor.
What's Weird: The Dark Elves squeezed a pod which made their bodies glow red on the inside similar to the super soldiers from Iron Man 3. Was there supposed to be a connection, or was that a coincidence? When Odin said, "your birthright…" he emphasized the "t" enough to be noticeable.
What's Cool: Odin's referenced the Infinity Stones when he described the Ether, "Other relics appear as stones." Subtle enough that we had make the connection, but gave us a hint of what was coming.
What Holds: Asgard still looked amazing and we saw more of it. More importantly though, what held was the emotion-which never gets undercut by a joke. Frigga's death was handled delicately and properly. The repercussions from that were felt throughout the rest of the film. We got emotion from Thor, Loki, and Odin; all of which felt genuine. Stand out example was when Thor and Loki were arguing about Frigga on the hover boat after leaving Asgard. Dealing with loss was like that: fine one minute, then overly emotional, then laughing the next.
What's Weak: Stylistically boring. Since I had viewed Thor recently I felt the lack of Branagh. Too many conveniences. Thor and Jane conveniently found a portal back to Earth within minutes of thinking they were stranded; the big, dramatic ship falling conveniently fell into a portal; even the jets that got sucked into a portal conveniently found their way back. I guess I had a problem with the portals. They felt like copouts to me. Oh, and the male intern was totally useless. Kat could have easily rocked it all by herself.
Where's Stan: Patient in mental health facility.
After The Credits: Asgardians visit The Collector to drop off the Ether. Thor returns to Earth to kiss Jane one last time.
Final Thoughts: I loved the emotional component, but the plot was extremely generic. Thor as a character got better, but I felt the effects of too much Loki. He was becoming a sort of antihero when he was such a great villain. At times the writing felt thin and underdeveloped. It seemed like the studio wasn't sure which direction to take the Thor series so it ended up feeling like another episode.
In Comparison: One of the weakest thus far. Didn't bring much new to the table outside of a new Infinity Stone.
Thanks for checking out this week of Franchise Fever. I'll have more coming soon. Let me know what you think of these films. What works and doesn't work for you? Keep On Creepin'.