Monday, 15 August 2016

Roddy Reviews - The Top 5 Marvel Movies

Hey everybody, as you can see I'm taking a break from Middle-Earth (but I'll get back to it eventually) and randomly thought I'd make a list of my top 5 Marvel films. Keep in mind this is my opinion and all that. I'm not trying to force you to like them, or saying this is what they are, this is just where I think they stand. 
Anyway, on with the list!

5) Guardians of the Galaxy

This is normally the film which Marvel fans turn to when people say the MCU doesn't have any ambition. I mean it's a high-budget film based on a comic that hardly anyone knows about, in which some of the main characters consist of a raccoon and a sentient tree which only says "I am Groot". Why Marvel had so much faith in this project I have no idea, but it ends up resulting in a pretty damn good time. It's a weird phenomenon where all the odds are stacked
Love these guys.
against it, and yet it ends up being a massive critical hit and one of the MCU's most beloved films. Now if that isn't ambitious, I don't know what is. 

Story-wise it isn't really anything special; the plot is pretty generic and sticks close to the regular 'Marvel Formula' (basically a recurring theme in Marvel which makes it impossible for a Marvel film to be bad, but equally not great, just good) but I can understand why. With a film as risky as this, you want to keep it fairly safe at an enjoyable level, and wait to see if it's a success before going anywhere with it. 

The villain is also bland and boring with no interesting motivations or anything unique about him. Why is Marvel so bad with all of their villains? The only one that really makes an impression is Loki, and even he's starting to get to the point where he's overused. 

The thing about this film is a similar case to The Avengers and Suicide Squad; it's the characters and acting that carry the film. The way they comedically interact with their own distinct personalities makes it very enjoyable to watch. The CGI is also pretty impressive, and there's no proper flaws in the story. That's what happens when your story is simple; it's difficult to find things to dislike. 

Overall, it's a really fun and enjoyable film, definitely worth the watch. I'm going to give it a Roddy Rating of 7/10.

4) Avengers Assemble

This is the film where Marvel took ultimate domination as a cinematic universe (I'm not saying it's better, but it's definitely way more dominant on the big screen). The Avengers, each with their own origin film (Not many of which are all that good) to establish their character, now come together to fight Loki, Thor's fan-favourite brother. What can I really say about it? It's a really good, fun time which allows for several laughs for the audience and utter epicness for the comic book fans. It's a win-win really. But again, my problems with it lie in the fact that the story and plot are basic. Even Loki isn't as good or interesting as he was in Thor; no tragic motivations or character development, just there for the Avengers to fight and make cheap jokes. Although, it is hard to find proper flaws in it due to how basic it is, and the film itself is still really good. This is why I'd hate reviewing a Marvel film properly; it would get tiring saying the same thing over and over.

Epic tracking shot.
The thing in this film which won audiences over was the extremely loveable characters and how they each interact with each other. They all have their own personalities that shine. Except Hawkeye. His time was to come 3 years later. There isn't as much diversities in the characters as there is in the Justice League, like polar opposites such as Batman and Superman, but still enough to give them a distinct personality. 

The action and CGI was also fantastic, even if it is just fighting a faceless army. But the thing is, that's just what people wanted. People wanted to see the characters introduced and just kicking arse. The character development and taking the characters forward comes in the sequels; this is just establishing them as a badass team. Although, the sequel, Age of Ultron, doesn't take the characters or story anywhere new, but I'm not reviewing that here. What we got in Avengers was a solid film with likeable characters and fun action.

I am therefore going to Roddy Rate it a 7/10. Same as Guardians, I know, but I just prefer it despite it not being quite good enough to get a whole other rating.

3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Man I love this one. The Russo Bros make their big debut as directors in the MCU with Cap 2 and it is awesome. Captain America, the one who was largely overshadowed by the other Avengers who's first film wasn't that impressive, now gets a film that does him justice and shows him for the badass he truly is. Even though I'm not a comic book fan (I've never read a comic book. Ever) I still noticed how underwhelming Cap was before. But with this film really took him to a whole new level.

The pacing was much more solid, feeling more like a thriller than
The action scenes were awesome.
your average blockbuster. The action scenes were way more gritty and realistic and felt less like a comic book film. They were fast-paced, extremely well choreographed and added a lot of intensity which the previous films lacked. The tone of the film was also more of my preference; it actually took itself seriously and more realistically than Avengers and Guardians. The humour also felt more situational and didn't feel like the characters were just spewing one-liners to try and be funny; it actually felt like it worked in that situation.

The plot also begins to break out of the regular Marvel Formula, although it doesn't quite manage it. Hydra, previously led by the un-threatening Red Skull (In the film anyway) has now been upped in scale by a thousand and you feel like it's a genuine threat that needs to be stopped. I loved how the stakes actually felt high. In the other ones, you never felt the gravity of it as they were just fun comic book films. This one though manages to be fun and more gritty/realistic. Again, though, the villain is bland yet they do something interesting with him at first but completely ditched him. I can't talk about it because of hardcore spoilers but you'll hopefully know what I'm talking about.

I'm going to happily rate this one an 8/10.

2) Iron Man

Iron Man. A superhero basically unknown to the general audiences before 2008. After that year though, he's become possibly more popular than icons like Batman and Superman. It genuinely baffles me how Marvel managed to create a highly successful cinematic universe when their first entry's hero was pretty much a B-lister. Although, I'm not complaining, because Iron Man is a pretty damn great film.

This was one of the two MCU films which Marvel produced without being owned by Disney (the other being the Incredible Hulk), and it kind of shows. The tone in this one is somewhat different to any other film in the MCU. Everything else-wise though, it's pretty much exactly the same, just better. It's a great origin story, with lots of effort put into it, with an interesting story arc and an extremely loveable main character. In terms of action though, what we got was
This defined Iron Man.
really fun, but we could have had more
. The last fight, whilst having some cool scenes, wasn't anything spectacular. The rest of it though was great. As I said about the tone, it feels less like a regular family film, and the humour is more mature and teen-like, and ended up making it more entertaining than other films in the MCU.

Whilst the other origin stories were just regular blockbusters, this film actually brought a lot to the table in terms of superhero films. It showed that they don't have to be one extreme or the other in terms of light-heartedness vs seriousness. This film was a perfect blend, hitting all the right notes. It just felt unique in its own way, and none of the other MCU films have managed to hit their mark like this one. It owned itself and didn't try and fit into any formulas or safe-zones. 

Therefore, I'm going to Roddy Rate Iron Man at 8/10.

1) Captain America: Civil War

This is by far my favourite film in the MCU. Not only did it make me feel an actual emotion other than "That was cool" or "I enjoyed that", but a proper emotion, it also attempts to make the audience think about what they would do in that situation; who would they side with. It doesn't only do this once, either, but with multiple situations. There's the first half with the Sokovia Accords (the first half is definitely my favourite by the way) and the second half where it gets a bit more personal but the dilemna is still there.

They also include a motivation for the villain which fits in with the whole Accords debate, which I really enjoyed. The villain himself though didn't really have much of a character, and the way he engineered it all relied on a bit too many variables

Panther is a certified badass.
The second half of the film drops in quality slightly though, becoming less thought-provoking and more of a straightforward Marvel film. I never disliked it at points, it was just doing so well and then dropped. The first half though was really great. It completely broke out the Marvel formula, with a story that wasn't basic but still manages to nail the characters, even better than what Age of Ultron did. That's another good part of the film actually; each character gets their shining moment. Whether it be awesome new characters like Black Panther (who was amazing by the way. Definitely my favourite character in the film) who comes and does badass things with his own origin story and character arc, or unnecessary but cool characters like Ant-Man who ultimately serve no purpose in being there but are still enjoyable to have. Spiderman was also really good in the film, definitely my favourite one onscreen so far. I wasn't a fan of the suit itself, though. The CGI looked really CGI. He also kind of served little purpose in the film, and while he was cool, he had a severe lack of motivations to be there.

The action in this film is also epic. I already mentioned how Panther's action scenes are amazing, but the rest of the action is damn good too. It's what I love about the Russo Bros directing this film; they didn't compromise by giving us one thing and taking away another, for example giving us good characters but taking away a good story, no, they actually give us a good amount of everything

There's the somewhat iconic Airport fight scene, which to me was really fun and enjoyable but it's where I noticed it was turning into a normal Marvel film. The action itself was good, but the constant one-liners and jokes took away the gravity of anything that was going on. For the rest of the film though, the humour was perfectly situational; knowing when to be funny and knowing when to be serious. The airport scene just didn't quite capture that so well. Still, epic scene. 

The emotion I was talking about comes in the last fight, where, after a decline in quality, it all comes together in an actually intense and emotional fight between friends. The reviews were making it out to be brutal,
Such an awesome fight scene.
wasn't quite that. It was a bit short and they only got some bruises from it, but it was still really good. Just a shame it didn't go on for longer. 

The weakest part of this film though was the ending, which rounded it all off way too nicely and took away any real consequence of the previous fight. I dunno, it could have ended on a really emotional note but it chose the easy way out. That's Marvel I guess.

Overall, it's a really good film which is not only enjoyable but manages to be something more. Sadly, I doubt we'll see something of this caliber again from Marvel. I'm going to Roddy Rate Civil War at 8.5/10.

Thank you all for reading, and I'll see you soon, possibly for a return to Middle-Earth but I doubt it. The Hobbit films were a real task to get through. Anyway, goodbye!

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