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Which female superhero should be introduced in The Avengers’ sequel?

Which female superhero should be introduced in The Avengers’ sequel?.


#23 – ‘The Avengers’ (2012)

"NEWS TEAM!......."

Cast:-

*Robert Downey Jr

*Chris Evans

*Mark Ruffalo

*Chris Hemsworth

*Scarlett Johansson

*Jeremy Renner

Tom Hiddlestone

*Samuel L Jackson

Director:- Joss Whedon

So this is it. Four years since first alluded to in 2008′s hit ‘Iron Man’ – The Avengers film has finally arrived. And boy, was it worth the wait.

My  main focus is to avoid spoilers, which is extremely difficult for a film such as this, but seeing as it hasn’t been released in the US at the time of this review – I can’t risk the majority of my traffic declaring war on my Limey self. So I won’t delve into the story specifically, rather what I found good and, of course, not so good about the movie.

So, for those who haven’t followed the Marvel Cinematic continuity.. The premise involves an international peace-keeping organization known as SHIELD. Headed by Director Nick Fury (Jackson) – A group who have kept tabs on protecting the world from the most extreme threats, but have also hatched a ‘backup’ plan of sorts if the battles they fought became too overwhelming. This plan was dubbed the ‘Avengers Initiative’. An idea to bring together a group of ‘remarkable people’ to defend the world. These include billionaire genius – Tony Stark (Downey Jr), WWII super soldier - Captain Steve Rogers (Evans), Gamma radiation whizz – Dr Bruce Banner (Ruffalo, previously portrayed by Edward Norton) and Asgardian thunder ‘God’ – Thor (Hemsworth). Rounded off with expert marksman Clint ‘Hawkeye’ Barton (Renner) and master assassin Natasha Romanof (Johansson).

So, the big question is – does Joss Whedon pull off the unthinkable? Has he achieved what many people have had much skepticism over during the last decade? A resounding ‘YES’ will be heard across the globe. The Avengers is, simply put, absolutely amazing for the duration – with a few minor hiccups. But still executed so well that it will whet the appetite of every fanboy and Marvel movie goer.

There’s an abundance of spectacle to behold here. From the face off between Iron Man and Thor, to the epic reintroduction of our Jolly Green Giant. It’s nothing short of some of the most entertaining and memorable action sequences in recent memory. But the standout throughout this piece, is the character interaction - every single character from Tony Stark to Maria Hill gets their chance to shine and it’s certainly where the strength of this film truly lies – no doubt a credit to Mr Whedon personally. Notably the scenes between Banner, Stark and Rogers play out for tension and teething problems during the team’s inception – but it’s a great payoff to see these outlandish and out of this world characters go against one another in witty ‘back and forths’ and sniping one-liner put-downs. Stark, of course being the usual purveyor of this.

Relieved I am to say, the billionaire playboy, as most have feared – does not dominate proceedings. As previously stated – everyone has their chance to shine and the playing field is even. As a whole, the humour is very abundant throughout the entirety of the film, but it’s extremely subtle and does not detract from any tension or build up – it’s very clean-cut, precise and excellently timed. The script is a very effective blend of aforementioned humour in addition to dramatics and emotion (pulled off brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo’s Banner in particular), married to conventional superhero film aesthetics. CGI effects are 5-Star, no doubt. It’s almost seemless and is vastly accentuated positively by some brilliant camera work.

The ensemble cast of superheroes have much to be proud of. With a very organic and smooth integration – each one has a discernible quality and personality to throw into the mix. Which allows the audience to come up for air and still have vested interest. Tom Hiddlestone’s Loki is an absolute beast here – if he was brimming with evil in 2011′s ‘Thor’, then here he is evil personified. His interaction with some of The Avengers makes for some unnerving and downright scary viewing. He relishes in his role and leaves with an unsettling thought of method acting preparation. It’s just that good.

So with the positives (non-spoiler ones) out-of-the-way.. What did this film fail on for me? Well, the biggest for me – was the Alien army. I found the inclusion of the unknown extraterrestrial threats extremely uninspired and pretty useless to the plot and the characters. I personally would have liked to see Loki conjuring up mischief to the extreme and taking on the Avengers on his own. Certainly would’ve garnered more of an edge of seat response. There’s also a few plot holes concerning certain characters that really should not have been there. Another prominent issue I found was the very drawn-out opening to the film. I was expecting a lot of fast paced action to kick-start The Avengers, but it’s disappointingly slow and does VERY VERY slightly discredit the overall effectiveness of the film.

These, in hindsight, are only a few small glitches that fail to seriously tarnish an otherwise spectacular Marvel epic from Joss Whedon. Long may this continue.

Believe the hype.

9/10


My Top Ten MCU Moments (2008-2011)

So last Thursday, in an extremely time-consuming preparation method for the soon to be released ‘The Avengers’ – I decided to watch all 5 films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. As most will know, the films are interconnected and will culminate in the ensemble piece this month. Here are my top ten moments, spanning all five movies, leading to ‘The Avengers’.

10 – Thor’s Exile To Earth (Thor)

Best quote from the entire film… Odin (Anthony Hopkins) – “HEEEEUUURGH!”

Amazing :-)

09 – Banner Becomes The Hulk At Culver University (The Incredible Hulk)

Norton’s face @ 0.02 is a major grin win

08. Stark and Rhodey Take On Hammer Drones (Iron Man 2)

Probably shoe-horned in for fan service, but it’s still a cool scene to see on the big screen 

07. Loki finds out his true parentage (Thor)

Hiddlestone is absolutely divine here. Stellar chemistry with Sir Anthony

06. Birth of The Super Solider (Captain America: The First Avenger)

While this film didn’t live up to everyone’s expectation – this again was a great scene to see immortalised at last

05. The Hulk vs The Abomination (The Incredible Hulk)

A great climax to the often overlooked chapter in the MCU

04. The Star Spangled Man (Captain America: The First Avenger)

Probably not an obvious choice, but this sequence is fun, visually great and backed by a brilliantly composed song

03. Thor vs Loki (Thor)

Again, Tom Hiddlestone throws down some of the best dialogue of the movie. Intense and emotionally compelling. Also cements his ‘evil’ turn after a snarky “Haa haa!” when he takes Thor down. Niiiice

02. Nick Fury Approaches Tony Stark About The ‘Avenger Initiative’ (Iron Man)

This moment was the comfirmation that ‘The Avengers’ was happening. Geek out to the maximum

01. Iron Man – the entire film (Iron Man)

Sure, it’s not a ‘moment’ per se. And the Nick Fury scene wasn’t technically in the main film…But Jon Favreau’s brilliantly acted, written and produced Iron Man film that paved the way for the MCU, is damn near-faultless. 


#4 ‘Crazy Heart’ (2009)

Cast:-

Jeff Bridges

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Robert Duvall

Colin Farrell

Director:- Scott Cooper

 

Let me be the first to admit – Jeff Bridges is one of my favourite actors of all time. This guy can seriously act his chops off and put the world to rights in the space of ten words. His cult iconic role in Coens classic ‘The Big Lebowski’ put Bridges well and truly on the map and ushered in a phenomenon of popularity for the character he portrayed – The Dude. Arguably, the ‘coolest’ man ever. Jeff later went on to star in K-PAX with Kevin Spacey, Iron Man and 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy (balls up there I think…)

But yes, it is a one-sided opinion, and I’ve been fairly off the mark with these things before. My only argument for this one in particular? Academy Award. Jeff scooped the best actor award at 2009′s Oscar ceremony, where he was heralded by his peers and mentors. Far fucking out man…

As it’s nearly Oscar time for the last 12 months of cinema, I thought I’d recap the film that gave Jeff the opportunity to win the award. Crazy Heart.

He plays country music legend, Otis ‘Bad’ Blake – For the duration of the film though, he only refers to himself as ‘Bad’, and will be ‘Bad’ til the day he dies – so he says. An audacious method of separating the good side from the ‘bad’ side – See what I did there?

Travelling across the States armed only with his guitar, bottle of whisky and a packet of smokes, Bad performs at downtrodden, beaten bars and bowling alleys to a pack of beer-swilling, slack-jawed fans of yester-year.  Bad’s problem (apart from this one), is that he’s on his last legs. After years of smoking and alcohol abuse, he’s pretty much one step from being face down in the dirt – but trucks on to make good on his gig commitment and to bag himself some well-needed cash.

Bad Blake, as a character is a screamingly obvious homage to stars like Kris Kristofferson. Jeff’s natural ability toward the character does make it seem so much more grounded and humble. Almost like watching a biopic or documentary – A whirlwind career turned sour. I found myself very skeptical of how the film would pan out however, questioning whether Crazy Heart would have a bigger payoff from either ending in Blake’s ultimate downfall, or ultimate rebirth. A little disappointed I was with the general ending, but it was one of a few niggling aspects which pinched this film of repeat viewings.

The performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal as journalist/love interest Jean was kind of out of place. Maggie’s a solid actress with a lot of good credits behind her – but her connection with Bridges is slightly…awkward(?) And at sometimes creepy. At times I thought this could be a show of pity toward Blake, a show of empathy. Sure, it looks lovely and full of ‘awwwness’ on screen but you may find yourself peeling back the layers and taking a closer look into her real intentions.

I’ll summarise this fairly rapidly…. Was Crazy Heart a great film? Not really. Was Jeff Bridges deserving of his Oscar? Hell yes.

Although formulaic and little too predictable (yesss) at times, it really wasn’t about the story that made it watchable – it was Bridges’ performance. Bringing such a subtlety of class during the musical numbers, and an eerily disheartening feeling in a deleted scene depicting Blake’s relapse into alcoholism and his unforeseen woes at being rejected by Jean.

With credible support from Robert Duvall, and Colin Farrell (yes, Colin Farrell ain’t too bad at all here). Crazy Heart, although not his best movie to date, definitely Jeff Bridges’ best performance to date. Best watched with a cold beer, and a couple of smokes.

That’s how The Dude abides.

 

6.5/10

 

 


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