Category Archives: Marvel

What I’ve Been Watching: Guardians of the Galaxy

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Guardians of the Galaxy could come across as kind of an oddity in terms of Marvel’s films. It doesn’t open with a superhero coming to terms with their new abilities, neither is it based on earth, or is even concerned with earth (constantly referred to as “Terra” in the film). However, like other Marvel films it is an origin story, it’s just it’s concerned with the origin of a team, rather than the origin of a character’s abilities.

The film opens with Peter Quill aka Starlord (Chris Pratt) stealing an orb which everyone in the film wants their hands on. This includes Gamorrah (Zoe Saldana), Rocket the Racoon (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel). However, their attempts to get if off Starlord land the four of them in jail. They attempt to escape and are helped by Drax (Dave Batista) who joins their newly formed merry crew.

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What I’ve Been Watching: Captain America: The Winter Solider

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In my opinion, Captain America has had the most difficult task in making the transition to the big screen. Primarily because both his character and his name comes from the American Armed Forces, not exactly the most popular of organisations across the world.

The first film wisely took Steve Rogers , aka Captain America back to his Second World War roots. After all few can argue with a man fighting the Nazis. That film ended with Steve Rogers being frozen in the Arctic Sea only to be awoken seventy years later in the present age.

Captain America: The Winter Solider is set after the events of Avengers Assemble and sees Rogers (Chris Evans) having to cope both with life in the present day as a civilian. The film sees Rogers working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and being confronted with the reality that things aren’t just as black and white today as they were during the Second World War. Who are the good guys and the bad guys? Who can he really trust?

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What I’ve Been Watching: Thor: The Dark World

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Thor: The Dark World is the sequel to Thor, or more accurately the latest film set in the Marvel universe, which like Iron Man 3 continues its story following on from the events of Avengers Assemble.

It’s hard to think of another film series like that which Marvel has tried to create in recent years. Arguably the X-Men universe comes close with Wolverine and X-Men:First Class spinning off from the original trilogy of films, however, there’s something more purposeful and sure-footed about everything Marvel is doing.

It probably says something that financially the least successful character of the series, The Hulk, is also the most well known. Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America were not household names prior to their big screen outings, and certainly far less popular than A-Listers like Batman, Superman or Spiderman. However, Marvel has made us think of them as big players now, and this is the context in which Thor comes bounding onto our screen.

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What I’ve Been Watching: Iron Man 3

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Tony Stark is back! Kind of. You see he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Whether this is a smart thing or a ridiculous notion is up for debate. However, after the events of The Avengers, Stark is feeling nervous. If someone mentions the word “wormhole” he freaks out.

It is fun to imagine trying a similar trick on other superheroes. “Bus full of kids” to Spiderman, “Kryptonite” to Superman, “Robin” to Batman.

It seems like an appropriate opening to The Avengers 2 would be the “super-friends” attending a self-help group as they unpack their emotions after their harrowing ordeals in each of their stand-alone films.

This is simply a long way of saying I am surprised this idea has never been explored before. And actually, it does make sense that the confident yet fragile Tony Stark would suffer from anxiety. The films thus far have shown us how his over-confidence has gotten him into and out of a whole heap of trouble.

In Iron Man 3 the trouble comes in the form of terrorist Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). A man with a vendetta against America who is capable of taking over the televisual airwaves to get his frightening message across. Apparently he’s never heard of the internet.

Meanwhile, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) has come to Stark Industries with a formula capable of repairing human DNA. Potts rejects the serum, fearing it could be used to on soldiers in warfare with unforeseen consequences.

Iron Man 3 is an enjoyable superhero movie pretty much from beginning to end. Downey was pretty much born to play Tony Stark and does so once again with the perfect blend of humour, arrogance and vulnerability.

Director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) once again shows how well he can balance action and comedy. One compliments the other with such an ease one cannot help but wonder why this is only his second directorial credit.

He even manages to pull-off the lame child sidekick trope without annoying the hell out of the audience in the process. “Can’t I come up with” child sidekick asks at the end of this sequence. “No.” Stark flatly replies and drives off.

That’s not to say the film is perfect, it’s not without its faults. In particular a deus ex machina so big and obvious I’m surprised Thor himself did not appear out of Tony Stark’s iron man suit to help save the day.

However, the fact I am willing to forgive “House Party Protocol” shows just how enjoyable the rest of the film is. The thrust of the narrative attempts to answer the question “Who is Tony Stark?” Surely the answer has to be more than “I am Iron Man.” It is telling that Stark stays out of his iron suit for much of the film, a wise choice that allows it to largely steer clear of comparisons to Transformers.

Iron Man 3 is another solid edition to the Marvel universe which reflects a studio at the top of its game in terms of producing highly entertaining superhero films. Now does anyone hear the sound of thunder?