‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2’ (2017) Review – Galactic Family Reunions

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Believe it or not, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not only the 15th Marvel movie to date, but the first of three Marvel movies in 2017. If this particular sequel is the standard for this year’s Marvel features, then it set a high bar for Spider-Man and Thor to live up to.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reunites the titular group of misfits for yet another cosmic adventure. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) team up once more to deal with multiple problems, including but not limited to: the vengeful Ravegers under Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) command, the spiteful Sovereign People, and Star-Lord’s father, Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russel).

Given how I’m not the biggest fan of the original Guardians movie, I was hesitant about Vol. 2 because the trailers promised more of the same. Thankfully, the sequel delivered a Marvel movie at its best, despite awkwardly tripping along the way to its lofty heights and expectations.

Galaxy Questing on Factory Settings

As a sequel to one of the most popular entries into the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Vol. 2 had the obligation of giving audiences exactly what they wanted before doing anything else. This leads to the movie’s clunky first half, where it prioritized repeating itself over doing something else.

Because the first movie had a sense of humor, Vol. 2 ramps up the jokes and one-liners. Since its predecessor had lots of action scenes, Vol. 2 crams in as many ludicrous fights as possible, such as the skirmishes between the Guardians’ lone ship against an entire fucking armada of golden arcade players. The first Guardians was littered with references to ‘80s pop culture, and you can bet your ass that the sequel nearly drowns itself in this self-indulgent nostalgia trip, bordering on the pettiness of an entitled hipster who was totes born in the wrong generation.

For the first hour or so, Vol. 2 felt as if it were going through the motions. The once-organic banter between characters now feels rehearsed, with the shoe-horned romance between Star-Lord and Gamora being the worst. Their “romance” was already forced to begin with, but Marvel tries and fails to play matchmaker for a love-team that has as much chemistry as a pair of chairs trying to fuck. The Guardians work as a dysfunctional family because of their clashing personalities, not because of a shitload of characters who are burdened by backstories and a romantic subplot that only adds to a growing mess.

Granted, director James Gunn brings order to this chaos. But when Gunn and the Guardians finally get past the contractually obligated explosions, clichés, formula, and set-ups for future cosmic Marvel movies, Vol. 2 comes alive and delivers what almost every other Marvel sequel failed to bring onscreen.

Emotional Seconds

If the first half of Vol. 2 felt like every cookie-cutter Marvel sequel at its most generic, what this predictable fare builds up to is the exact opposite.

Despite being set in a galaxy filled with special effects and computerized aliens, Vol. 2 is actually a lot smaller than its predecessor, but only because the stakes are much more personal this time around. Sure, the galaxy needs to be saved again, but the fate of the nameless billions only comes second to the main characters’ struggle with emotional baggage and old wounds – which they deal with while trying to save the galaxy at the same fucking time. Though the moral dilemmas that could have been played with are never fully delved into, Vol. 2 manages to hit its emotional beats, giving everyone in the cast equal time to grow and earn the audiences’ emotional investment.

Where sequels like Civil War quickly reverted to the status quo despite the implied stakes or where Iron Man 3 proudly shat on audiences’ faces and said “Fuck You” for expecting a better movie, Vol. 2 emphasizes the human tolls of loss, loneliness and betrayal by showing how fucking painful these are for the characters at hand. As far as Marvel sequels go, Vol. 2 is almost on par with Capt. America: The Winter Solider (aka the best Marvel sequel so far) in terms of properly building-up previously established characters not by giving them bigger toys to play with, but with bigger personal problems to overcome.

This dramatic second half was unexpected, resulting in the film’s major tonal issues. The transition from campy to emotional was jarring to say the least, because Vol. 2 has a problem with balancing Gunn’s intent to bring the Guardians to more serious territory and the annoyingly comical audience-friendly Marvel formula that demands stupid quips every five minutes. Thankfully, this problem wanes by the time the second act kicks into full-throttle.

Guardians In Imperfection

On a technical standpoint, Vol. 2 isn’t as well-balanced as the first movie, but it’s more creative, daring and visually batshit insane than the previous Guardians. While certainly not a bad movie, the first Guardians of the Galaxy was a corny, by-the-numbers, live-action Saturday Morning Cartoon that I couldn’t care about because I simply wasn’t a part of the movie’s intended age group. Its sequel, on the other hand, thankfully grew up and showed that a superhero movie can bring outlandish characters and stories to a mature level while never losing any of the entertainment value.

Not only does it stand out among the repetitive Marvel sequels thanks to its calculated but mostly effective emotional punches, but Vol. 2 convinced me to give a shit about what the Guardians will be up to in Vol. 3.  It may be flawed, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an improvement of the first part and a satisfying ride with surprising depth.

And like its titular heroes, the chinks in its armor only add to the sequel’s personality. At least you know the movie took the risk and tried something new, instead of retreading a tired story or revealing the overall antagonist to be a stupid fucking junkie who probably reeks of alcohol, wasted character development, and disappointment. 


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‘Logan’ (2017) Review – Mutants Of The Old West

logan-mainThanks to the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the clusterfuck that DC calls an Extended Universe, superhero movies are often dismissed as childish soap operas where costumed elitists resolve drama by punching each other for 15 minutes. Logan averts this so much that it could be mistaken for a Western if not for its protagonist who has knives in his knuckles.

In a bleak future, Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are two of the few remaining mutants, who are now nearing extinction. Living in isolation and tired of life, Logan is forced to become the hero he once was when the life of the mysterious girl Laura (Dafne Keen), who has abilities similar to his, is threatened by sinister forces.

As shown in the trailers, Logan promised to be a different kind of superhero movie. The third Wolverine entry succeeded in not only fulfilling these promises, but in setting a new standard for a genre nearing dangerous levels of saturation and repetition.

From Spandex To Alcoholism

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Given how Logan is still a modern superhero movie by association, some might worry that the film would one more set-up to yet another planned franchise of interconnected movies. Instead, Logan is the mature stand-alone story that fans of Jackman’s career-making performance have been waiting for.

Gone are the epic fights where the X-Men fought threats to peace between humanity and mutantkind. In these heroes’ place is a lonely, broken Logan who relies more on alcohol poisoning than his healing abilities to mend his scars. For his last run as the titular character, Jackman gives it his all and delivers a performance that somehow turns gore and the word “Fuck” into emotional beats that hammer in the hopeless atmosphere Logan avoids by drinking himself to death.

Without a team of mutants (or otherwise) to crowd the screen, the latest X-Men spin-off gives more than enough screen time to every member of its small cast. Doing so makes each individual’s story just as compelling as Logan’s, but not enough to overshadow the central arc. The minimalist nature of Logan in comparison to other examples of the genre drives home the point that it is a personal story about an old man who just so happens to have the best immune system ever known to man.

In a time when cinematic superheroes almost always end up as toys being sold to kids, Logan is more than just a change of pace that brings a mature understanding of grit to the genre. Logan also serves as the much needed wake-up call for superheroes to grow the fuck up.

Darkly Comical

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Despite being a grounded and serious adaptation of an X-Men character, Logan is still a comic book movie at heart. While its characters deal with relatively mundane problems like balancing jobs and buying medicine, they still live in a world where the Cuban Missile Crisis was instigated by an evil super-powered Kevin Bacon, not communists or the allies of the Soviet Union. Due to the trappings of comic book movies, the progression of events in Logan may come off as predictable to observant viewers. But even if this may be the case, Logan is told with such skill that the movie’s more harrowing scenes successfully draw the desired emotional response from audiences.

I can attest to this because there were some moments when I was close to crying like a bitch.

It also says something about the filmmakers’ capabilities when outlandish elements like mad scientists, cybernetically enhanced soldiers and a surprisingly foul-mouthed Patrick Stewart don’t tone down the story’s tension and bitterness. Even if one particular character who shows up halfway through the movie may be considered to be too much of a “comic book moment” to be taken seriously, this newcomer still manages to be an intimidating presence who may be deemed forced rather than dramatically ironic by some jaded audience members (i.e. killjoys), such as yours truly.

Yet even if it had the right to shit all over the recent X-Men movies for being too similar to what Marvel churns out on a biannual basis, Logan instead pays tribute to its predecessors. Whereas Zack Snyder used Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice to insult Superman’s altruistic legacy because the director’s disturbing Batman-themed fascist power fantasies get him hot and bothered at night, director James Mangold used Logan to show a fan-favorite character at his most adult and visceral form.

Seeing ageless action figures punch evil things while spouting quips may be fun, but the party can only last so long. Logan knows this, and shows audiences the logical, cynical extreme of an aged superhero. Thankfully, this is done in a respectable manner that it come as timely for older viewers instead of mean-spirited, like an entire movie dedicated to showing how useless Superman is.

We’ll Miss Him So

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Outside of a middle act that bogs down the pacing, there’s little else to say about Logan. What few faults I cited can be chalked up to personal preference, since these gripes do little to affect the movie as a whole. Logan is a well-made superhero take on age and mortality that has more similarities to an old-school Western than a blockbuster superhero movie, and yet it still proudly shows off its comic book roots.

Jackman’s finale for a character he cares for is currently the closest thing to superhero movie perfection. It’s obvious that Fox won’t stop making more X-Men movies, but the generation of mutants that Jackman and Stewart defined is definitely over. As painful as this may be for nostalgic fans, there is no other fitting swan song for Xavier’s gifted children than Logan. The movie’s lack of the obligatory post-credits scene speaks volumes in a landscape dominated by superhero franchises.

Logan is different, emotional, and something fans should not miss. For those who outgrew the indistinguishable heroics of standard superhero fare, Logan is the depressing breath of fresh air that proves that comic superheroes can mature when given the chance.


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Doctor Strange (2016) Review: Of Magical Formulas And Trippy Drugs

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Another year is ending, and another pair of Marvel movies made their way to cinemas. Doctor Strange is the second Marvel movie released in 2016 and it is the 14th movie to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It is also the seventh MCU origin story tasked with introducing a relatively unknown character to the general viewing public.By that description alone, experienced viewers will know what to expect from Doctor Strange. 

Based on the mystical comic book character of the same name, Doctor Strange shows how Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) turns from brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon into the incredibly powerful Sorcerer Supreme after surviving a deadly car accident. Helping Strange achieve self-discovery and enlightenment are his love interest Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), and his mentoring mages the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Master Wong (Benedict Wong). Together, they must stop Kaecilius (Mads Mikklesen) from bringing about the end of the world and all known life.

The advertisements for Doctor Strange invited audiences to “open their minds” but if the movie is anything to go by, Doctor Strange doesn’t really give a fuck about what viewers think or deserve. Doctor Strange is yet another entertaining but missed opportunity for Marvel to rock the metaphorical boat though at this point, what the fuck is to be expected from a company that made a massive profit peddling the same shit for the past part of a decade.

A Familiar Acid Trip

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An old adage once preached about not fixing what’s not broken, and this is something Marvel strictly abides by. The story’s formula may be tiresome, but Doctor Strange is still a good showcase of a generic superhero origin story done right. To date, Doctor Strange is the best Marvel origin story since the original Iron Man (2008), and that’s saying something considering how all of Marvel’s origin stories are pretty much the same fucking thing.

Once again, a cocky prick who is knocked into the shit is forced to rise back up through a training montage and reluctant heroics. Doctor Strange may not change the formula, but it follows the checklist with a level of grace, creativity and style not seen in quite a while. The casting of legit award winning actors elevates Doctor Strange’s characters from stock archetypes (such as a Mentor or Rival) into memorable role-players in Strange’s journey to heroism. Unlike other Marvel movies such as Thor where only one guy (i.e. Loki) gives a shit, Doctor Strange (for the most part) maximizes its star power and gives viewers a group of onscreen mages and mystics worth rooting for.The only exception would be Rachel McAdams, whose incredible talents are wasted when she tries her best to portray Marvel’s usual disposable love interest, just like how Natalie Portman wasted her time in Thor. McAdams is so replaceable that her role could have been played by a fucking fridge, and Strange’s character arc and newfound calling would still remain intact.

Doctor Strange also boasts some of the most inventive visuals seen in a spectacle movie. The visuals in question can only be described as a simpler Inception (2010) with both steroids and every known ’60s era psychedelic drug ever sold replacing the mindfuck of Christopher Nolan’s writing. Dedicated comic book fans have always joked about how Doctor Strange was probably drawn while high as fuck, and the movie does an amazing job of bringing the story’s trippy fucked-up worlds to life. That and Doctor Strange also benefits from a sweet soundtrack and more importantly, not being as offensively generic as either Thor or Ant-Man (2014).

Then again, Doctor Strange IS still a Marvel movie. Leave it to Marvel to squander the chance to make Doctor Strange something truly different and deliver the same old story while tripping fucking balls.

By The Power Of The Status Quo

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Everything that could be expected from a Marvel movie finds its way to Doctor Strange and makes sure the Sorcerer Supreme doesn’t stray too far from the formula popularized by Tony Stark. From poorly timed humor to rushing the final act with an overblown action scene, Doctor Strange religiously follows the Marvel Superhero Formula with nary a thought of sin in mind. There are inspired moments when Doctor Strange tries to do something new like trying to actually give the villain, Kaecilius, a sympathetic motive and backstory – but all of that is thrown aside in favor of turning him into a forgettable bad guy who has cool computerized powers and is dispatched in maybe two seconds.

Doctor Strange adheres to the status quo so much that by the end, it literally gives the titular hero the power to reset the status quo whenever he wants. If you thought Captain America: Civil War lacked stakes and lasting ramifications despite the Avengers’ broken friendships, wait until you see Doctor Strange shrug off the Marvel equivalent of Cthulhu, and save reality itself with the power of Tony Stark Snark and a convenient rewind button.

That’s not to say that Doctor Strange is not worth watching.The amount of generic bullshit stuffed in Doctor Strange is not enough to diminish the fact that it is still an enjoyable stand-alone Marvel movie that doesn’t need the overarching lore of the MCU to make sense. While the narrative is functional and serviceable at best, Doctor Strange is still told with so much bravado and enthusiasm that it deserves to be seen at least once. It’s easy to bitch about how interchangeable Marvel movies are, but give credit where it’s due: Marvel’s worst is an other’s best. As safe as Doctor Strange plays, it’s still a metric fuckton better than the self-indulgent and pretentious bullshit Zack Snyder crapped out earlier this year. If it’s anything, Doctor Strange just proves that Marvel knows how to give its loyal supporters a fun time, and it also shows why the comic brand deserves the respect it commands today.


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Capt. America: Civil War (2016) – Avengers 2 Part 2

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It should go without saying or explaining much that AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015) wasn’t half bad but it was still a let down. Instead of just being a sequel dedicated to showing Marvel’s most popular superhero group save the world from the bastard child of SkyNet and Robert Downey Jr, AOU wasted god knows how much time hinting at a bunch of other Marvel Movies that had yet to even hit production at the time, including the coming war against Thanos in INFINITY WAR and whatever the fuck is going to happen in the next Thor movie (which is now apparently a Celestial Road Trip movie starring Hulk and Thor). Another movie that was hinted at through the log chopping scene in AOU was this year’s CAPT. AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, where the polar ideologies of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark finally clash and as expected of Superhero Movies, sparks and punches fly before any disagreement that could’ve been solved by chatting in a coffee shop for maybe two minutes could be tossed into the backburner.

Taking place right after a massive fuck-up during a mission and with the wounds of Ultron’s attack still fresh, CIVIL WAR sees Cap and Co. dealing with the real world ramifications of being a group of “enhanced”beings enact their own brand of justice with close to no government control on their actions and as engaging as the premise is, it’s not given much light or substance at all. Even if the movie was advertised with that particular theme in mind, CIVIL WAR instead chooses to ignore the politics and rhetoric in favor of the more personal conflicts between friends who find themselves on opposing sides of an ideological war. This bold narrative choice which is barely seen in Superhero Movies serves as a double edged sword that lifts CIVIL WAR above the rest of the Marvel shlock in terms of character development while also dragging it from being the perfect Superhero Film fans were hoping for.

I’ve said this quite a few times in reviews of previous Superhero Movies but for the sake of argument, I’ll bring it up again: One thing that never sat well with me was the lack of humanity and stakes in many examples of the genre, where everything usually ends with the world being saved and everyone moving to the next adventure. Thankfully, CIVIL WAR decides to fuck that happy ending crap up and shows just how catastrophic the human toll of Superhero Shenanigans really are. By building up from the damage seen in AGE OF ULTRON before it, CIVIL WAR doesn’t just acknowledge Marvel continuity but fixes AOU, somehow turning the lackluster AVENGERS follow-up into an important plot device in a serious debate about superpower. From collateral damage to the angry relatives of the dead, CIVIL WAR smartly took a lot of hints from real world events and disasters to drive in the fact that living in a world where an Artificial Intelligence could go rogue and develop a sick fascination for songs from Disney’s PINOCCHIO is seriously fucked up dangerous and not fun at all, even if a beefy senior citizen with a weaponized Frisbee could save you. Too bad this serves more as a great concept than a critical element in this movie.

When it comes to pushing the envelope and showing just how devastating the personal toll really is, CIVIL WAR pulls its punches all the fucking time instead of going the extra mile. Sure, there’s a lot of onsceen property damage and reported civilian deaths that acknowledge the human cost of previous movies like AGE OF ULTRON but when it comes down to the characters themselves, the conflict comes out more as simplistic than divisive. What should’ve been a grey debate instead ends up being painted in broad black and white strokes, where everyone on Team Cap is a saint and the rest can go fuck themselves. Compared to the last movie starring Steve Rogers (CAPT. AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER) where the fate of the free world was literally hanging by a thread, arguments and conflicts were surprisingly resolved quickly in CIVIL WAR with little to no impact outside of witty snark. This was most evident in the way the movie ended, whereas in WINTER SOLDIER it finished on an ambiguous note that implied Hydra was still a threat, CIVIL WAR just calls it a day the same way a teacher would break up a playground squabble: there were some bruises but everyone’s all hunky fucking dory by the end so who gives a shit.

Obviously this has something to do with the fact that the stars of the movie have contracts that stretch all the way to INFINITY WAR and beyond but the lack of grave stakes and desperation made the titular internal conflict of the Avengers feel slightly hollow and lacking. Yes, there were bonds and friendships that were severed for maybe two minutes but knowing Marvel Movie Logic, everyone will be back to talking in the annoying dialogue of One-Liners and trying to upstage Tony Stark in terms of come backs. But to be fair, CIVIL WAR at least knows it’s based on a fucking comic book so even if it treats its politics seriously, it doesn’t forget to have fun so even the energetic action scenes and Tony Stark Snark has its place.

And yet despite that massive hole in its armor, CIVIL WAR is still a surprisingly strong Superhero Movie. As mentioned earlier, this movie did a curious thing by concentrating on the personal conflicts rather than the ideological one and this helped CIVIL WAR turn into a Character Piece rather than the Espionage Thriller it was hyped to be. While we don’t get to see what exactly is written in the Sokovia Regulations, we’re shown in detail how these rules and limits affect the heroes in play. Some of them don’t like being told what to do while others are more than ready to atone for their mistakes and if they need a government body to get that done, then they’re going to fucking get it. The stakes may not be global but they sure as shit are personal, with Rogers fighting to prove Bucky’s innocence from a conspiracy that threatens to tear the Avengers’ public image in half. Giving light to the more human moments of the story may have affected the political themes and analysis in CIVIL WAR but it gave the characters more time to shine and be given something most Superhero Movies tend to forget: humanity.

CIVIL WAR may lack the philosophical depth of stuff like THE DARK KNIGHT but it greatly benefits from a cast filled with people you can give more than a fuck about and considering that there are twelve named costumed heroes here who at one point engage in the most epic Royal Rumble ever, that’s a fucking accomplishment. By evenly balancing each character’s amount of screen time and never letting any one of them overshadow the other no matter how popular or obscure they may be, everyone gets their time to shine and showcase just what they can do while earning the sympathy of the audience, minus the forced emotional moments weaker films have. Even if the conclusion of some of the character arcs ended in either contrived or convenient ways simply because sequels just HAVE to be fucking made, there’s no denying that these guys were all likable and fun to see on screen.

Remember the smart banter and group dynamics that made the non-action portions of the first THE AVENGERS so great? Imagine that spread throughout an entire movie and you’ll get where I’m coming from. For perspective, think of it this way: You’re reading the words of a man who fucking hated Paul Rudd in ANT-MAN because he was nothing but a bargain bin Tony Stark who just couldn’t shut the fuck up in a two hour slog of a movie but here in CIVIL WAR, the dude has maybe twenty minutes of screen time and yet I actually found him funny.

Another praiseworthy bit of writing in CIVIL WAR was how naturally it introduced the new MCU entries, namely Black Panther and Spiderman. A common complaint I share with many out there who grow weary with each passing weak Superhero Movie is that these movies tend to concentrate too much on establishing a connected universe instead of making stand-alone movies work well, with a common symptom of this being too many fucking characters. Even if CIVIL WAR has quite a fuckton of people in it, it learned from the mistakes of AGE OF ULTRON and instead seamlessly weaved these newcomers into the narrative of the Regulation conflict rather than shoehorning them for in-movie trailer filler. In doing so, CIVIL WAR turned itself into a self-contained story that still successfully hypes up its audience for future Marvel projects. Couple in some fucking amazing action set pieces and possibly one of the best Marvel villains since the Neo-Nazi/Illuminati hybrid of Hydra and you’re good to go.

It’s a pity that CIVIL WAR wasn’t able to fill in the shoes of the astounding WINTER SOLDIER but it’s far from a failure. Rather than just redeem the Marvel brand for making generic PG-13 crap, CIVIL WAR does more and proves that there’s a lot left in Marvel’s creative bank. Maybe by the time INFINITY WAR hits, we’ll finally get to see Marvel mature as a brand and take its movies into the same dark and unforgiving territories its Netflix shows have shamelessly reveled in but for now, CIVIL WAR will have to do because even if it kept shying away from greatness, it’s still a good watch.

 

 

 

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Daredevil (2015) – Online Dark Redemption

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Back in 2004, a movie about a bad lawyer who moonlights as a blind ninja was released and everybody fucking laughed at it. If you want to know why many people consider almost every Superhero Movie with the exceptions of the first two SPIDERMAN and X-MEN movies prior to BATMAN BEGINS as horseshit, look no further than 2004’s DAREDEVIL, a movie so dark and brooding that it had a training montage set to the tune of Evanescence music.

Factor in the fact that I never really liked the Daredevil comics to begin with and given how silly the premise of the character is, I was doubtful that I’d ever take Matt Murdock seriously again after seeing him beat the fuck out of the guys he can’t prosecute in the 2004 movie. Hell, the only reason why I decided to watch Netflix’s take on the character was because season 2 of DAREDEVIL has my all time favorite Comic Book Hero (hint: he has a skull on his shirt) in it and if I wanted to know how Daredevil would face-off against this brand new take on The Punisher, I better watch season 1 first to know where Matt Murdock’s coming from.

But thankfully, Netflix proved me wrong. When you have a thirteen episode TV show about a blind lawyer who fights a fucking ninja at one point and yet that show manages to be something that can be taken seriously, you know there’s some grade A talent calling the shots.

This version of DAREDEVIL seems to be a direct answer to almost every criticism people throw at the mainstream Marvel Movies and the answer the audiences got was a fucking impressive retort. There’s blood, stakes, character development on both sides of the law, action, drama and a hell lot more of stuff that could help improve the fuck out of a Marvel Movie but accidentally bump its rating to a hard R.

Taking place directly after the failed alien invasion in THE AVENGERS, the people of New York do what every person in real life does after a disaster: move along. For once, we’re given a good glimpse of everyday life while living in a society filled with superpowered beings and it’s a story worth checking out. Aspiring defense attorneys Matt and Foggy find themselves entangled in a massive conspiracy born from the citywide destruction inflicted by the Chitauri that involves real estate, murder and corruption from the highest rungs of society. Even if this is technically a Superhero Story due to the Marvel license, random shout-outs to pre-existing heroes and a dickhead in spandex, the main conflict of DAREDEVIL is curiously enough a very human and realistic one, where regular people feel powerless when facing politicians and business tycoons whose influence reaches far and wide. All of this helps make DAREDEVIL one of the most grounded and relatable stories the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has to offer alongside JESSICA JONES and CAPT. AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, which are by far the best stories of the MCU.

Unlike some of his weaker comic book arcs and as of recently the failed 2004 movie, this version of DAREDEVIL manages to balance both the vigilantism and the legal battles his dayjob implies, giving way to some engaging mysteries and well paced crime yarns that would satisfy any Noir nutjob out there with dashes of comic book action to even up the pace. Rather than ignore the lawyering and focus on the punching, DAREDEVIL chooses to connect the both in a massive web of lies that’s fueled by laundered money and gang violence, all of which leads to a more mature Marvel experience that’d be perfect for anyone who got sick of the kiddy bullshit shenanigans of IRON MAN 3.

The problems do crop up when it comes to the characters that take center stage in this story of (literal) blind justice and vigilantism. Now I’m not saying any of the cast members did a shit job but rather, it’s the source material that’s at fault this time around. Matt Murdock himself is a boring as fuck hero who, just like Superman over there in DC, decides to save the world with his awesome powers because why the fuck not. The one thing I never really liked about Clean-Cut Superheroes was that they were one dimensional saviors of mankind who should be accepted because fuck you, they just punched an alien in the face and this reiteration of Daredevil didn’t do much to change things for the better. While it is commendable that the writers used the Frank Miller run as reference since it IS the best Daredevil comic arc to date, the source material itself served as a shackle that locked Matt Murdock into a one-sided debate about the pros and cons about following the law. When his friends and foes debate Murdock about the effectiveness of the legal system, it sounds like a bunch of Political Science students preaching to an Ideologue that fucks the Lady Justice statue on a nightly basis, making the need for such philosophies useless because Matt’s gonna fucking win anyways.

Matt isn’t as flat as any of the pretentious assholes in FANT4STIC (2015) thanks to him questioning the ramifications of his choices every now and then but when you consider the fact that some of his character arcs are predictable especially if you’ve read enough comics and crime fiction, these debates feel a bit more like padding than development. The only way to make such One Dimensional spandex lovers worth giving a fuck about is to surround them with infinitely more interesting people, both friend and foe, and this is DAREDEVIL’s solution to having a boring lead.

When Murdock’s put up against Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin) and his awkwardly stilted manner of speaking  that may come out as weird at times, he still proves to be fucking boring because here you have a fucking intriguing reinvention of an originally hammy crime boss with actual motive and drama fighting a dude who decided to save the world because heroics. I think it says how forgettable Matt Murdock is when he’s out of the costume when Wesley, Wilson Fisk’s bro for life, is way more interesting than the blind ninja despite the fact that literally nothing about the past of Wilson’s favorite dude is known while everything about Murdock hogs up all thirteen fucking episodes.

But once more, it goes to show how strong DAREDEVIL is as an online TV show when these problems do nothing to tank the show. Matt Murdock may be boring at times but Charlie Cox delivers his performance as the titular vigilante with such charisma it looks like he was born for the role. The show itself may feel tedious at times when it gives way to some informative yet lengthy discussions on legal technicalities especially when it takes three episodes to introduce the main conflict involving Fisk but none of these bog the story down because they instead add to the mounting tension and plot twists the series paced out evenly over the course of thirteen great episodes.

While I still prefer JESSICA JONES when both Marvel Netflix shows are put side by side and while it’s fucking obvious that Punisher and Elektra were brought in for season 2 because Matt Murdock is still boring as fuck and it’s gonna take more than just a Cool Best Friend to make him and his moral code more interesting, this revival of a character who was once the punchline for failed Superhero Movies and Failed Acting Careers (which Ben Affleck awesomely turned around into some really good fine grade stuff) up until GREEN LANTERN came along, DAREDEVIL did what it set out to do and more by giving audiences a different kind of Marvel experience while staying true to what comic book fans know and love.

 

 

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Deadpool (2016) – SkullPoopL Is A Godsend

Deadpool

Like it or not, Superhero Movies are going to be around for quite some time and looking at how successful the Marvel Money Machine is and how the DC hype train is only just getting started, there’s not much anyone can do about it. I’m not complaining. Hell, if future Superhero Movies are done well like CAPT. AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER and THE DARK KNIGHT, why the fuck not bring that shit on.

The problem here is that when they were given enough time, these Superhero Movies found a formula that worked and stuck to it ever since, keeping things safe for all those dicksucker kids who wanted to see a man wearing weaponized armor listen to shitty jokes about soccer from a drunk British asshole whose Super Villain Name should’ve been Cock Tease instead of making the cast go through some legit development because obviously, shitty punchlines are more important.

With that obligatory IRON MAN 3 bashing over and done with, I’m going to get straight to the point right now:

Thank fuck for DEADPOOL (2016).

DEADPOOL currently exists in a level of its own as it is possibly the only successful Marvel movie to be made outside of a kid friendly studio without any intention of pandering to the PG-13 crowd. True, it’s not the first R-Rated comic book property to be adapted to the big screen, but it’s the very first one to make everything work and be more than just a guilty pleasure (sorry PUNISHER: WARZONE) and that alone proves that miracles and good exist in a world where a dead murderous fuckhead of a dictator can be worshiped as your dumbass country’s lord and savior.

After Fox fucked the character up so bad in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009), everyone basically gave up all hope in seeing a shit-talking Anti-Hero go on a rampage on the big screen but thanks to Ryan Reynolds’ undying determination, redemption for Wade Wilson has finally arrived in the form of a righteously R-Rated DEADPOOL movie that clearly doesn’t give a fuck about anything. The glorious thing about DEADPOOL is the fact that when it comes to the R-rated stuff, it doesn’t hold back on anything. From brain matter hitting concrete to sex jokes to a juvenile excess of my favorite four letter word that starts with an “F,” DEADPOOL revels in the fact that its leaked test footage forced Fox’s hand to greenlight the R-Rating when they kept trying to forcefeed audiences a sanitized PG-13 version. At worst, DEADPOOL’s just downright immature and too reliant on pop culture but its jokes and use of the R-Rating thankfully never sink to the lows that were established by the self-indulgent nature of Seth MacFarlane’s garbage. The jokes here may be childish, but at least they don’t scrape the bottom of the septic tank for ideas.

The casting here is pretty much gold, especially Ryan Reynolds as the titular character. Say what you will about his pathetic Rom-Com past but here we see Reynolds at his best and least restrained, and by god is it a fucking blast. If this were any other Superhero Movie, I’d ramble about how everyone who isn’t named after the movie’s title was a boring stereotype or a copy from some other movie but since this is a movie called DEADPOOL, that shit gets a slight pass because at least the titular characters calls everyone out on their bullshit. It’s rare we see some idiot in spandex look at themselves and laugh at how ridiculous their bright colored BDSM leather gear is and that’s what makes Deadpool so special: he knows he’s stuck in an absurd fictional situation and he doesn’t give a fuck about it.

Look, this is a “hero” who openly talks about jerking off and happily shares stories about his adventurous sex life to anyone in his vicinity. Yeah, it’s that kind of movie.

Right off the bat, DEADPOOL shows its lack of shits to give when it starts with one of the funniest and most kinetic opening sequences I’ve seen in recent memory, where every single detail in the scene is a hidden joke that’s guaranteed to make someone’s day. There’s only so much you can do with an Action Movie that relies heavily on firearms and practical choreography but thankfully, DEADPOOL manages to make things feel fresh and entertaining while throwing in a lot blood and laughs along the way. Factor in the aforementioned meta-comedy and everything that made the character so popular in the comics in the first place is brought to life in the best ways imaginable.

While that may sound like the perfect R-Rated comic book movie, the final product isn’t. The thing is, at the end of the day and despite all the shit-talking, DEADPOOL is still a Superhero Movie and it sadly didn’t do much to deviate from the established safety nets. When severed heads weren’t flying around to the tune of 90’s music, the movie literally grinds to a halt with its origin story half and while it’s actually praiseworthy that the writers went down the BATMAN BEGINS route and spliced flashbacks in between the present story instead of telling things in a predictable chronological way, it was still a drag. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice seeing some much needed backstory and character development to establish what made Wade Wilson the merc he is today but these scenes tended to go longer than what was necessary, making me impatient for the movie to get back to what I was here for: Deadpool in his red leotards causing as much chaos as possible while dissing everyone in his path.

When it wasn’t distracted by the need for a romantic subplot and superhero origins, DEADPOOL was one of the most creative and refreshing takes on a genre nearing dangerous levels of saturation, with both middle fingers raised at the biggest Superhero Movies at the moment. When it WAS, though, it was a generic love story with super powers thrown in the mix along with a damsel in distress, a swear jar and a dildo. It felt weird when during the present scenes, Deadpool would comically remark at how stupid the events he’s in are but for some reason play everything straightforward during the flashbacks without a hint of irony outside of an occasional snarky side comment.

Making fun of these tiresome tropes via witty narration doesn’t equate to parody or commentary, it just shows someone pointing out an obvious flaw and not doing jackshit about it. But since the annoying need for an origin story’s out of the way and a sequel has been officially confirmed, maybe we’ll get to see Deadpool at his 110% best in a few years’ time because right now, the sudden shifts in mood disjointed the overall experience.

But try as it might, that issue up there doesn’t have a hope of demolishing the fact that DEADPOOL was a joy to watch. In a time when (in the titular character’s words) almost every Superhero is a Teacher’s Pet or a brooding asshole straight out of highschool, DEADPOOL’s swagger was more than just a crowd pleaser: it was a fucking breath of fresh air.

Ryan Reynolds finally got his dream of slaughtering people while insulting them to become reality and we’re with him all the way in celebrating the (correct) cinematic adaptation of the Internet’s favorite walking meme in a movie Superhero fans don’t just want but one that they rightfully deserve. Even if its heavy dependence on the Superhero Formula was constricting, DEADPOOL was still a great example of liberated R-Rated creative genius at work that will surely serve as the standard for future R-Rated Superhero outings.

 

 

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Jessica Jones S1 (2015) -Alcoholic Comic Noir

Jessica-Jones

As entertaining and fun as they may be, there’s been one thing that the majority of the entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe lack which if they had would make them a hell lot better: stakes.

No matter how big the evil motherfucking alien army that’s invading a city and no matter how dangerous the Illuminati-level faction some random superpowered enforcer is representing may look, the good guys wearing those funny spandex costumes always win with nigh a scratch on them because you have to admit, who the fuck else do you want to see square it off against Thanos in the upcoming AVENGERS: THE INFINITY GAUNTLET movies?

More expendable shitheads like Quicksilver? Yeah. Thought so.

This is mostly due to the fact that the so called Marvel Creative Committee which represents the Marvel Comics brand had quite the iron grip on every single MCU title up until CAPT. AMERICA: CIVIL WAR’s pre-production stages, where they demanded that every story with the Marvel brand on it be as generic and safe as possible, hence 2015’s lackluster Marvel Movie lineup which included the disappointing AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON and the forgettable ANT-MAN. That being said, it did make me wonder how the hell CAPT. AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER even made it past the board but then again, the cinematic equivalent of a “fuck you” called the Mandarin from IRON MAN 3 is still a thing. But thanks to the committee’s recent dissolution and a team-up with the online streaming giant Netflix, Marvel Studios has finally gained more creative control over their intellectual properties, allowing them the freedom to take more risks with their stories without the need to water everything down for the twelve year olds in the audience.

Enter JESSICA JONES, the second of Marvel’s Netflix backed projects and possibly the brand’s best offering to date. I say that with great confidence because if ANT-MAN represents Marvel at its laziest, most juvenile and pandering only second to IRON MAN 3, JESSICA JONES represents the brand at its most matured state and overall best.

As you may have read in the opening paragraphs, stakes and risks aren’t such a big deal in the Marvel movies unless the WINTER SOLDIER’s take on HYDRA is the point of the discussion and thankfully, there’s plenty of that in JESSICA JONES. Unlike the world-invasion and/or world-domination plots most every villain in every Marvel movie ever made has, JESSICA JONES locks its major conflicts to a minimal cast of people who just so happen to have powers and special quirky traits that would make them feel at home in the pages of a comic book. Keeping the conflicts down to a personal character driven scale does the show a lot of good, making the story’s players and the problems they face a lot more relatable. Case in point, when Jessica Jones fears that a dangerous serial killer from her past is back in town, the first thing she thinks of is nopeing the fuck out of New York all the way to Hong Kong. You know shit’s serious as fuck when the Superpowered Heroine’s way of getting out is drunk instead of facing her archenemy.

It’s a welcome change of pace in a mainstream comic book adaptation when there are scenes mostly made up of people (superpowered or otherwise) doing nothing but chill and shoot the shit instead of talking like one-liner obsessed caricatures and walking stereotypes. Rather than trying to out-snark each other like a script filled to the brim with Tony Starks would, the characters in JESSICA JONES talk about ordinary things like paying the bills, liquor and even sex in the most down-to-earth and ordinary ways imaginable, leading to lots of well paced character development that works well enough to make you give more than just a fuck about everyone, including the doped-up basehead that lives next door to Jessica. I’m not against anything as action-packed as any of the big screen Marvel movies but after roughly ten Superhero Adventures filled with enough green screen to make George Lucas cry tears of joy, seeing Jessica and Luke talk about their feelings instead of spending a good forty minutes punching gangbangers or CGI aliens was a fucking breather. Even if there were some moments when the Noir writing of the show went overboard and tried too hard to resemble the Private Eye stories of old with all the angst and alcoholism the titular heroine embodies, these instances were thankfully too few and far in between to actually hurt the main story as compared to both seasons of TRUE DETECTIVE where the overlong philosophical monologues ranged from laughable to boring as fuck. Other writing issues occurred in the form of padding and subplots whose only purpose was to tease future Netflix-Marvel collaborations but at least they never distracted the viewer from the actual plot the same way AGE OF ULTRON did and introduced twenty new plots that had no fucking connection to the bastard child of SkyNet and Robert Downey Jr.

Thanks to its allegiance with Netflix which has built a solid reputation for doing things most major TV networks that aren’t HBO wouldn’t even dare think about, JESSICA JONES benefits a lot from this new found creative freedom, allowing itself to show content rarely seen beyond the covers of a Marvel MAX imprint. Mature content gets center stage in JESSICA JONES’ 13 episode run, featuring violence, sexual relationships, legit psychological drama and even discussing some of the riskiest themes in current fiction that no mainstream production even mentions. These themes include rape (in both mental and physical capacity) and PTSD and JESSICA JONES’s entire writing crew deserves a fuckton of praise for showing just how ugly these things can be but all shown in a fair and mainstream light. By seamlessly weaving such tragic and harsh real-world cases into a narrative that takes place in the same world where the Avengers and a talking tree alien-thing from a galaxy far, far away exist, JESSICA JONES brings light to issues that really need some attention in the same praiseworthy methods of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD without the need to be preachy and heavy handed about things. Instead of whipping out a soapbox out of its asshole to stand on while pointing fingers at people for being fucking stupid (fuck you, FANT4STIC, you pretentious fucking cunt), JESSICA JONES uses these ideas to make viewers feel for and at times fear the characters at the story’s center, making them seem all the more human even if one of them can control minds while another has indestructible skin.

Speaking of those Superpowered Beings, one thing that JESSICA JONES forgot once in a while was the fact that a good number of its central characters are “gifted.” For the first few episodes, it’s easy to forget that the story of the P.I. Jessica Jones takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because they barely acknowledge that such things exist with the exception of a few scenes and some throw away lines. It’s only by show’s second half when these powers come to play and while it’s understandable that Luke Cage would prefer to keep his invulnerability a secret than risk getting lynched by the Marvel’s version of the fear mongering GOP, a lot of the problems he and Jessica faced could’ve been solved in a jiffy if they used their powers for a second and if the writers weren’t too fucking busy pulling the audience’s legs with some contrived and predictable twists that turned tension into frustration. Then again, Jessica Jones makes a living being a stealthy drunkard so bending cars like paper on a daily basis would go against everything that’s subtle in her line of work.

The only Superpowered Being to have their powers at full force is Kilgrave, who is by far the only Marvel villain to be an actual threat despite him being the pettiest shithead on the villainous block who could make Ultron and his childish rambling resemble Adolf Hitler. “Blessed” with the ability to control minds by means of a dapper fucking British accent, Kilgrave uses these abilities in the most realistic ways a person in today’s day and age would: all for sex and money. Following the already refreshing toned-down feel of the show when compared to other Marvel titles out there, the overall villain has no plans whatsoever to rule the world and instead just uses his psychic skills to get laid, which actually makes him more threatening and disgusting since these are things we are all too familiar with. We as regular people can’t really fathom what it would be like to have the fate of the entire global population in our hands when it’s being threatened by a Neo-Nazi ran Illuminati unless we’re playing a video game but we all fear for our personal safety on the streets while commuting and Kilgrave’s perverted and base selfish desires are the very things that we can lose to some fucked up junkie with an ice pick on a dark night, making him someone to truly fear given his powers and already fucked-up inflated ego. This is a surprisingly effective combination of the Obligatory Philosophical Asshole and the Psychotic Manchild villain archetypes, two tropes I’ve grown sick of thanks to anime, that works perfectly and is a great example of good writing.

JESSICA JONES is a shining example of a brand that’s already given quite a lot but is still itching to give more and, fortunately for viewers, it’s also more than eager to improve its already fine tuned craft. After releasing itself from its constrictive corporate shackles, Marvel goes full force with the stories they always wanted to tell and all those risks paid off in one hell of an online TV series. Admittedly, there are some moments when major events could be seen coming from a mile away especially if you’ve seen enough mystery fiction and some tropes are overdone at this point but none of that is enough to tank the overwhelmingly positive viewing experience I got from JESSICA JONES. It’s rare that we get a superhero AND an anti-hero protagonist we can truly relate to and it’s a moment to be revered so do yourself a favor and watch it.

Right now, Jessica Jones is probably one of my favorite Superheroes second to the (Marvel MAX) Punisher but that most probably has something to do with my preference for the Anti-Heroes and Garth Ennis’ graphic novels. That and I have a bad tendency to hate the bastard I see in the mirror everyday the same way Jessica does but that’s an entirely different story for another day.

 

 

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Ant-Man: An All Too Familiar Dance

Ant-ManThere seems to be an ongoing trend in current movies where they tell a very familiar story complete with all the obligatory tropes and character archetypes but said movies tell this story in a fresh manner. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE at its most basic is just another White Boy Power Fantasy but the way Vaughn directed the movie made it feel more like a homage to older Spy movies instead of being nothing but juvenile wet dreams like every Michael Bay TRANSFORMERS entry and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is really just another team building movie where a ragtag group of outcasts find camaraderie in their differences but it was told in one of the most refreshing and outlandish ways imaginable that it became a pop culture sensation. There’s nothing wrong with rehashing a story’s basic elements since at this point, fuck next to nothing is original and what matters most is the execution. If a writer can make a generic Hero’s Journey feel awesome and new again, then obviously the writer did a fucking good job.  

Enter ANT-MAN, Marvel’s latest entry into its ever growing line-up of superheroes and eventual Avengers members. After the entertaining let-down that was AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, it was up to ANT-MAN to restore peoples’ faith in the Marvel cinematic brand since ULTRON disappointed a lot of fans (like myself) who wanted the Avengers to finally hit the level of maturity seen in CAPT. AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER but what we got instead was a bunch of jokes and Deus Ex Machinas (it was bad but at least it wasn’t IRON MAN 3 fucking bad). ANT-MAN, thankfully, does manage to restore the sense of enjoyment, entertainment and wonder the earlier Marvel movies had where you get to watch a comic book character come to life for a big cinematic adventure (only this time told as a heist) but at the cost of being a very generic Superhero Origin Story.

The problem with Superhero Origin Stories is that there’s so little one can do with them to make them unique and that flaw with any superpowered storyline is very obvious in every Marvel Origin Story. Here’s how every Marvel Origin Story goes:

  • Hero starts out as a douche or a weakling
  • Hero goes through life-or-death situation that changes their perspective on things
  • Hero sulks
  • Hero finds powers or Magic Stuffs that make them awesome, thus putting them on a self-imposed crusade to save the world and fight for justice
  • Cartoonish Bad Guy remembers they’re in the story and tries to steal Stuffs
  • Boss Fight; Cartoonish Bad Guy loses by Irony when their own Stuffs kills them
  • Hero wins the day, saves the world and gets the girl
  • Cue the end credits teasers

Now there’s nothing wrong with the formula but following it to the letter without doing anything innovative is where the problems arise. Since ANT-MAN had the burden of introducing a new and relatively ignored superhero that no one gives a flying fuck about, it decided to go to its ancestors for aid and it wisely chose the 2008 smash-hit IRONMAN. By following the format IRONMAN used to introduce Tony Stark to a new audience and launch a cinematic juggernaut, ANT-MAN succeeds in its task of showing the world how cool Ant-Man can be but it does little to be a hero of its own. When put alongside the other Marvel Superhero Origin Stories, ANT-MAN’s only distinguishing factor is the fact that its main character can shrink at the push of a button. And he steals shit. And they curse a bit more. And (OH MY GOD) women can punch people in the face (wow movie, it’s 2015, I think that’s a fucking given at this point… enough with the Shitty 90’s Action Movie Tropes). That’s it.

In ANT-MAN you have the Snarky Loveable Rogue who’s trying to get his life back together, so he does that with the aid of Superpowers bestowed unto him by a Mentor Figure. Helping him is his handy group of Quirky Minority Sidekicks and the Obvious Love Interest Who’s Just Acting Tough as they plot and scheme to bring the Cartoonish Bad Guy’s plans to a halt. Minus a few tweaks here and there like the backstory of the Mentor and the Obvious Love Interest and the fact that the entire movie is more of a Heist than a Rescue Mission, ANT-MAN has so few differences when compared to IRONMAN that these key changes can be counted with your fingers.

ANT-MAN may have made a good decision in following IRONMAN’s footsteps but it failed in taking advantage of the situation by changing what put some dents on the normally invincible armor of Robert Downey Jr.’s comeback, and one of this is the Overall Villain. With the exception of WINTER SOLDIER and how expertly they depicted Hydra, the problem ALL Marvel movies as of late have is that their villains are bullshit. They may have nice designs and costumes and they sure look like bad motherfuckers but other than that, the guys who were supposed to be the perfect foil or challenge for the Heroes turn out to be either Cartoonish Bad Guys that make Dark Heart from CARE BEARS look complex or they’re Pure Bullshit (fuck you Mandarin) and this flaw is highly evident in ANT-MAN’s Cross/Yellowjacket. Hell, Yellowjacket could be the worst example of this flaw of every Marvel movie so far since he’s so fucking obnoxious he looks more like a cartoon character than an actual threat.

Cross as a dude is a fucking annoying and predictable one-note bad guy who does Evil Stuff for the laughs and nothing more. There’s some cheap excuse about his head getting fucked up by a serum but that’s never really given any depth so why the fuck should you. To make it worse, it takes the entire movie for him to put on the Yellojacket armor to finally fight Ant-Man and while the fight scenes were cool, the resolution via Deus Ex Machina could be seen the moment Michael Douglas’ character mentioned it earlier in the movie. Cross/Yellowjacket is so fucking hammy that he would’ve been perfect as the bad guy in some random soap opera where he does the usual Bad Guy Stuff like sneer, jeer, kill cute animals in a lab, be a general asshole for no apparent reason, state the obvious and be an expert at not being able to shoot shit even if the target’s 2 fucking inches away from his face. For a scientific genius who was able to create a fucking death machine that can shrink to atomic size, this guy is a big fucking dumbass that still does every stupid fucking villain thing on the list, including threatening the hero’s family because that’s the best fucking thing to do on a whim. Have you guys ever heard of underdogs? Yeah, cause they always have a bad case of winning when the Cartoonish Bad Guy does something stupid like gloat and threaten people instead of killing shit.

When compared to its superior counterparts in the Origin Story department, ANT-MAN fails in making a name for itself even if it does manage to do what movies of its genre should do: entertain. Unlike GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, which correctly relied on its cast’s diverse personalities even if it suffered the same Bullshit Villain problem all Marvel movies, ANT-MAN has no personality of its own. While GUARDIANS had a cool gang of Individually Distinct Outcasts who found a semblance of family amongst themselves, ANT-MAN just has a dude with a nice power armor suit who wants to save people because reasons. Tell me that doesn’t sound familiar and I will slap you across the fucking face like a little bitch because you’re obviously lying (or you live under a rock and never heard of Iron Man, which is totally understandable given your situation).

ANT-MAN is an entertaining popcorn movie that shows off a brand new take on a normally forgettable hero but it doesn’t do much to make a name for itself. Sure, it had great comic timing, the action was good and the use of a heist was a great setup for a Superhero Origin Story but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. It may be one of the better Marvel Origin Stories in the pack but it’s something that no one will be remembering any time soon, outside of two end credit scenes.

That’s right, stick around and there is a VERY interesting end-credit scene for a certain major crossover movie event lined up for next year.