Ravingnerd Reviews: Captain America the Winter Soldier

Naturally I wasn’t finding myself super exciting for the upcoming Captain America film. The first one was good, but in the scope of the Marvel cinematic universe I generally consider it to be on the weaker end of the spectrum. I find one of the biggest complaints that people who are unfamiliar with Captain America is that they claim he isn’t relevant outside of his Nazi fighting escapades. One of the biggest challenges this film had to face was to prove his relevance in our world. Additionally this film had to introduce the Falcon and promised to show case not only Cap but Black Widow as well.

While there was a lot going on in this film, I think the cast was the most compelling. All the long standing characters did an excellent job at further developing their characters. Both Fury and Widow especially got a lot of extra help thanks to strong performances by Sam and Scarlet. I think what drove this film thought was the great turns by both Anthony Mackie and Robert Redford. Both of their performances were stellar and not only drove much of the plot forward, but also in the case of Mackie helped to establish and update a long standing Marvel character. 

In addition to the stellar performances, the movie was home to some of the best action sequences I have ever seen in a film. Period. This movie was strikingly visual and the fights didn’t leave much to the imagination. They were fast paced and energetic. The movie was constantly exciting, and the extremely energetic action sequences made up for it’s predictable plot. Yes, much of the plot was predictable, but that is to be expected. Anyone who has some passive knowledge of comic books will be able to understand the big Winter Solider twist. That being said, the plot is involving and does keep you on the end of your seat. Lastly this film benefits from having loose subject material to base itself on. Many of my complaints with comic book films is that they play it loose with the subject material. This film however nails the parts it needs to while allowing everything else to fall into place organically.

All in all this is one of the best films in the Marvel universe. It’s catching, gripping, and entertaining. The films shortfalls are few and superfluous in comparison to the scope of the film. This movie did everything it needed to do and more. By a landslide.

My final ranking of the film is an 8/10. This film was solid and should easily fit within the top 5 Marvel films. I highly recommend this film to any one who enjoys comic books and anyone who finds themselves invested in the ongoing plot line of the Marvel movie universe.

My favorite moment of the film was probably Anthony Mackie’s performance. They did a stellar job at updating and introducing the character to the Marvel Universe and the friendship he developed with Cap was one of the nicer touches to the film.

My least favorite moment of the film was when everyone gasped when they revealed that Bucky was the Winter Solider. Read a book.

Until the next time,

Rn 

The Last Arrow

It looks like Hawkeye could be coming to an end. At least the one we all know and love. According to Marvel’s June Solicitations, the new arc of Hawkeye is described as “The Finale Part 1”. If this is the case it would mean Fraction is leaving one of the single best comics on the shelf at the moment (or ending it all together). While not a surprise given how busy he is, his removal from Inhumanity, and his long Hiatus from Hawkeye, it still comes as a shock to many.

What will Marvel do in its absence? Given Marvel’s plan, I wouldn’t be surprised if the current run of Hawkeye were to end and then a new Hawkeye be launched in its place, under the Marvel NOW! banner. It seems only fitting they would try to milk what they could out of Fraction’s immense success on the title. I posted recently my thoughts on the title, so I won’t discuss them at length here. Instead I would like to discuss Hawkeye’s lasting legacy on the comic market, and specifically Marvel.

Majority of Hawkeye’s success has come from word of mouth and reputation. I know many people who have not read it yet, but are well aware of its quality. It’s quality has gotten such positive word of mouth that it is, at the moment, the Saga of Marvel. Saga is easily one of the 5 best books published every month, and because of its success Image #1’s have been selling more as a result of it. Everyone is willing to try a #1 if it will turn out to be the next Saga. Thus all of Image’s new series’ are beginning to see a bump in interest and sales because Saga’s fame keeps growing.

This effect has been demonstrated at Marvel as well. Hawkeye is so popular, that quirky solo series’ are beginning to take off. Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, Moon Knight, and She- Hulk are just some of the series’ that have already seen positive initial sales and reception. Many of which have become a critical hit at my local comic book store (Ms. Marvel specifically). With more coming, Marvel clearly understands the effects of Hawkeye. This massive influx of non team books would not exist if it wasn’t for the sensation that Fraction and Aja’s book has become.

So while saddening that this book is ending, I am thrilled to see how one book can actively change a company and an industry for good. Marvel is now trying new concepts and ideas coming close to reclaiming their title as the “Great House of Ideas”. So while my praise for Marvel is generally limited, I have nothing but positive things to say. Hawkeye gave them an edge and because of it, they have turned its success into a brand wide mantra. That solo series’ can sell, and that giving a creator free-reign can make a tremendous impact.

Until the next time,

Rn

Ravingnerd Reviews: Avengers (in 3-D!)

Welcome everyone, I don’t want to waste much time with formalities but should offer insight to those readers whom are not also on my Facebook. I do a series of reviews on comic book movies, that began exactly a year ago with the review of Thor. Since then I have reviewed many a movie, old and new. I follow a set criteria for each review in order to judge each movie by the same standards. Finally, I will rank the movie on a scale of 1-10. With ten being the near unachievable level of comic book movie-mastery.

So, without further review, I present, the Avengers (in 3-D!)

The Cast: Was obviously built with an all-star team of actors. Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, and Scarlett Johansson round out the biggest names in the cast. With Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans.
The cast was, of course, brilliant. Each member had a role to play and each one of them did it well. Jeremy Renner wasn’t given enough chance to play Hawkeye really well though, and felt that his performance was the weakest of the team. However brilliant Robert Downey Jr may be, it was not him who stole the show, no, instead it was Mark Ruffalo. As Bruce Banner, he added a depth to the character that had not been seen in any of the previous movies. In addition to this, he served a vital role to the team as Bruce, and not as the Hulk. The Hulk however was the highlight of the action sequences. Pleasing even skeptics like me. Samuel L. Jackson was unnecessary I felt, he served a purpose in the previous movies, but did not serve much purpose within the movie after the beginning, other than talk. Scarlett Johansson was spot on again, turning what I find as a lame comic book character, into an absolute brilliant one. On a similar note, Tom Hiddleston does the role of Loki extremely well. And I despise Loki within comics.

The Plot: Though I hate to admit it, and I really do, the plot was perfect. The movie as a whole felt like the Avengers. While characters were over represented and under represented, it still managed to come together as a solid movie. I disliked that Loki was nothing more than the master of the hordes of transformers/parallax-esqu villains. I would have much prefered to see the team fight the treachery of Loki as opposed to the metal alien things. And even despite the fact that the entire invasion sequence from start until close annoyed me to no end (come on Joss, be a bit more original please?) the plot was still fairly seemless in its execution.

Fighting/Action/Drama/Suspense: This movie perhaps embodies this characteristic better than any other super hero movie. This movie blended thrilling fights (Thor VS Cap VS Iron Man), well done action sequences (Cap and Iron Man repair the engine), Intimate moments of drama (the death of *I don’t do spoilers, go see the movie*), and of thrilling suspense (Hulk running loose through the lower decks). Yes, this movie better combined every aspect mentioned above, than any other super hero movie before it. Add in the immense moments of hilarity, and you are set for 2 of the best spent hours of your life.

The Obscure Nerd References: There were not many, which disappointed me. However, did anyone else squeal when Maria Hill showed up for the firs time? No, just me? Alright then. Previous Marvel movies have all done a terrific job of adding in nerdy easter eggs, and least I could tell, not a whole lot showed up within the film.

The Closeness to the Comic it Hails From: Though many people probably will not let me live this down, it felt EXACTLY like an Avengers movie should feel. With exactly the right number of internal conflicts, problems, and dysfunctions and the ultimate success of the unlikely team. Really, I may dislike the team and the characters within the team, I may dislike the entire Marvel Universe, and I may have wanted this movie to fail, so that I could feel some convoluted sense of justice and a DC victory. But no. This movie was absolutely brilliant, just as it should have been. I will give Joss Whedon a lot of credit in this department.

Overall Feel and Fun: Avengers takes the cake in this category. It was an undesirabley good time. You know a movie that kept my attention and still be so invested in the Marvel Universe had to have been damned awesome for me to be saying these words.

Comparison to Other Like Films: There is none. This is the first film super team, and it proved it worked. Now future ambitious endeavors, including the impending Avengers, sequel will suffer by being compared to the high quality work that this movie is.

Favorite Part of the Movie: There was an interrogation scene between Black Widow and Loki, for two periods within this scene the camera panned out and Loki became blurry, while Black Widow (back turned to the audience) was in perfect view. These two thirty-second sequences allowed me to view Scarlett Johansson’s ass…. IN IMAX 3D. I was a very happy nerd.
Least Favorite Part of the Movie: The Transformer/Parallax bad guys. I was displeased with the lack of uniqueness of them. It felt like they were just “generic summer blockbuster movie additions”. I had hoped for more.

And finally, the result you have probably skipped the entire article to find. The final Score.

Avengers earned a rank of………… 8.

Yes. I struggled with this for sometime. It was a brilliant movie, and the fact that it scored perfectly on multiple criteria allowed it to rank this high.

And now to the part where I piss you off. This movie ties Green Lantern in the eyes of the nerd.

Until the next time, live long and prosper

Rn