Posts Tagged ‘comics’

In a nutshell: This time it’s war

Popcorn rating: 3.5/5

What do you get when you put a gang of vigilante superheroes in the same room? A fight.But what if those same costumed defenders have to unite to face a massive threat to the planet they have vowed to protect? Then, my dears, it’s war.

That’s the basic premise of The Avengers (I flat out refuse to say that other title, you know, the really shit one) which strings together the characters we know and love from the recent Marvel Comics’ films and ups the ante.

The film sees Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (CHris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans)  as well as the lesser known Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) unite to battle Loki (Tom HIddleston) and his intergalactic army.The ensemble cast squabble, flex their muscles, practice their best quips and come to blows before realising the stakes are much higher than their own egos.

Yes it’s cheesy but director and writer Joss Whedon has his tongue firmly in his cheek.With The Avengers, he has been entrusted with the biggest budget production of his career and it has paid off. Whedon adds flair to the scenes of carnage and destruction but it is his trademark humour – which made his TV work like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly such fan favourites – that gives the story the charm it needs.

In interviews, Whedon said he wanted to make a war movie and he has certainly succeeded, but you also get the sense there isn’t enough room to do all the characters justice. As expected, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man steals the show while the excellent Samuel L. Jackson is a little underused as Nick Fury, the leader struggling to keep this rag tag group together.

Overall, The Avengers is a triumph but could have benefited from a stronger villain. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, the adopted brother and enemy of Thor, is more whiney than scary.

Reviewer: DavidMorgan

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In a nutshell: Star spangled hero packs a surprising punch

Popcorn rating: 3.5/5

Pumping a skinny teenager full of experimental muscle drugs and sending him to war dressed like the American flag. What could possibly go wrong? That’s the ludicrous plot you’re faced with in the latest Marvel Comics film – but somehow it works.

Captain America is rivaled only by Batman as one of the most enduring comic book heroes of our time.  Created in 1941, just two years after the Dark Knight, he was an icon of western values during the Second World War. – a hero to inspire American troops. But today, in a world where exaggerated patriotism is frowned upon, credit goes to director Joe Johnston for making him fit for the 21st century.

Keeping the story faithful to its origins, the film is set in the midst of wartime, with the 1940s lavishly recreated in a retro comic style. Amidst this technicolour war-tinged glory is fiesty Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), an American youth with the heart of a lion and the body of an underfed rabbit. All Steve wants to do is fight for his country but he fails to get into the army due to his medical conditions and stature.

Fortunately, his determination does not go unnoticed and he is picked as the guinea pig in a experimental supersolidier project. Just like magic, Rogers is transformed into the star spangled, muscled superhero who thinks nothing of walking into the warzone dressed like a target in red, white and blue with his iconic shield.  It’s camp, it’s cheesy but that’s somehow what makes it work.

On the other side of the good and evil plot we have the always magnificent, Hugo Weaving, this time being purposely overblown (and loving every minute) as the dastardly villain ‘Red Skull’. Let battle commence.

It’s hard not to be cynical about the latest raft of Marvel films when you remember they’re all part of the background build up for the grand finale – an Avengers film which will see all the superheroes (Cap, Thor, Ironman etc) teaming up. Don’t let that put you off. It may be a slice of a much bigger pie but Captain America still offers plenty of bang for your all-American buck.

Reviewer: DavidMorgan