Mini Movie Reviews: Inside Out, Ant-Man, and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Inside Out

inside-out

I have not been happy with Pixar’s sudden shift from creating brand new, original stories to CRANKING OUT ALL THE SEQUELS, though admittedly, I had also not been happy with their last original offering, Brave. My expectations for Inside Out were cautiously optimistic. Thankfully, I really enjoyed it! The main character, Ryleigh, is about 11 or 12 when her family makes a big move from Minnesota to San Francisco, and I was really able to relate to it with the big moves I’ve made in my life. I really enjoyed all the characters and, as a movie about emotions should do, it gave me all the feels. Definitely recommended.

Ant-Man

ant-man

With Ant-Man, the latest offering of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (note: do there is a difference between Marvel’s cinematic universe and other Marvel films that are being released like X-Men, the new Fantastic Four, etc.), I was again cautiously optimistic. The marketing department had not done much to convince me this would going to be better than an average superhero movie (because I expect better these days), but I also hoped it was probably going to be pretty good because, well, Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thankfully, it was quite enjoyable, maybe not profound or earth-shattering, but very funny. I think this movie for me is what Guardians of the Galaxy was for a lot of other people, with just a little twist in the typical superhero image and fun. Paul Rudd really sold the show for me. Recommended.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

rogue-nation

I like the first MI movie. I kind of liked the second and third ones for a while… and I still think the third one is a pretty strong movie, but man does Phillip Seymour Hoffman chill freak me out in it… but recently I have grown a little less interested in them. Probably because they’re all overshadowed in my mind by the fourth one, Ghost Protocol. Brad Bird did an amazing job with the direction, I liked the addition of Jeremy Renner to the team… I don’t know, it just hit all the right notes for me. It’s got to be one of my favorite action movies. So my hopes were high for Rogue Nation and THEY WERE MET. This movie was twisty and left me guessing constantly. This is definitely going to be one I will want to watch over and over again like Ghost Protocol. Highly recommended!

Have you seen any of these movies yet? What are your thoughts?

Advertisements

Movie Review: Avengers Age of Ultron

I saw this movie on opening night. I enjoyed it. I went home.

I almost forgot about it.

Almost.

avengers_age_of_ultronBut let me back up. I love what Marvel has done with superhero films. I think what made Iron Man so great was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was self-aware. It was what we all wanted deep down and didn’t even realize.

i-am-iron-manCaptain America was very different, more historical and tragic, but it was about the American spirit and hero we all want. It touched something different inside us than Iron Man did.

captain-america

And then Thor was different because it took place in Asgard, a whole new world that was fascinating. And he’s a fish out of water when he’s on Earth.

thorAnd all these movies have great lines and great side characters: Pepper Potts, Peggy Carter, Sif and Loki, etc.

Where The Incredible Hulk unfortunately suffered in all this is that it was still just a regular superhero movie, like all the others we had seen before Marvel and Christopher Nolan changed the game. Apparently Edward Norton, who played the Hulk back then, was super involved in the writing of the movie, and he was a big fanboy of the Hulk. This sounds awesome in theory, but I wonder if he was trying so hard to fit the Hulk in this box that he had created that it didn’t give the character the chance to shine.

I’ll admit, I still wasn’t sold on Mark Ruffalo’s version of the character in the first Avengers movie, but I can give Age of Ultron the credit for making me care about him much more this time around. Or maybe what I should say is for making me care about Bruce Banner, the person underneath the Hulk.

bruce-bannerWhile we are talking about character exploration in Age of Ultron, I’m going to say that is the movie’s strength, and that is what has stuck with me since walking out of the theater.

There’s been a lot of talk about Black Widow in this movie, and say what you will about her role, but I think we got to see a whole new side of her and I was really glad to see it. Would it be cool if this was explored more in a movie or TV show? Yes. Will I move on with my life if it’s not? Yes. We see a much more vulnerable side of Natasha, but I don’t think she’s ever portrayed as weak. And while (mild spoiler) the interest between her and Banner did kind of surprise me and I wasn’t entirely sure I was 100% there with it (since we’ve had no build-up to this it felt like it came out of left field), I don’t think this weakened her either. It made her human. Same with their talk about infertility, which he started.

natasha-blackwidowI also appreciated that we finally got more from Hawkeye, after that poor guy got brainwashed in the first Avengers movie. His character has become a more relatable, almost every-man sort from this movie, and I thought that was a nice touch.

hawkeyeThe addition of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch really didn’t do a whole lot for me, though funnily enough, their best moments were when they were with Hawkeye. Quicksilver and Hawkeye had their running, “What, you didn’t see that coming?” joke, and Hawkeye hyped up Scarlet Witch for the battle against Ultron.

(Highlight for spoilers) Ultimately, the death of Quicksilver did very little for me. It made me sad for his sister, because it obviously put her in a lot of shock and pain, but I wasn’t sad for anyone else or for me. I had barely started kind of liking the guy when he died, though I appreciated the act that led to his death, especially when I was starting to worry that Hawkeye was going to be a goner. There was no real emotional resonance with it. 

There’s also the introduction of Vision, who is sort of interesting? We’ll have to see what happens to him in the future. We really get very little development with him at all.

Now let’s talk about the villain, Ultron. Even though he demonstrates just how much he is capable of, I never really feared that the whole entire world was actually in danger of this guy. I know it sounds ridiculous to say the stakes weren’t high enough when the whole idea was that he wanted to destroy the world but seriously, they weren’t high enough, because I was never worried that he would actually accomplish this, and not just because it’s a movie and I know it’s going to turn out OK in the end. But that could have been part of the problem. In Captain America: The Winter Solider the movie ends with SHIELD in shambles. It’s not a happy ending. While it was still probably surprising for many people watching the movie (unless they watched Agents of SHIELD, which they should have, honestly), destroying SHIELD is a much more viable option for a movie ending than destroying the world. But really, I think it was mostly that Ultron never truly frightened me enough.

But, the way Ultron was created was fascinated and I hope that comes back up because even though there is heated debating about it in the movie, it definitely feels kind of glossed over in  the grand scheme of things.

All in all, this is another solid movie from Marvel, enjoyable, witty lines, and some pretty good character development, but there were some weak spots in the movie that keeps it from being a favorite in the long run.

4stars2If you’ve see Age of Ultron, what are your thoughts?

Agent Carter, Inhumans, & I Have No Idea What’s Happening in the Marvelverse Now

*Warning, if you’re not caught up on Agent Carter or Agent of SHIELD, there are spoilers below!

I watched the first half of this season of Agents of SHIELD excited every single week. The show was finally just consistently good. Then the mid-season finale hit and… I don’t know… I felt like my tires got deflated. It was really hyped up by Marvel, and in some ways it was good, but I felt sort of like I got punched in the stomach and then the offender just ran off. I wrote a long blog post about it that I never published on the blog, because after I wrote it I thought maybe I just needed to get my feelings out and I was actually fine now that the words had been written.

Thankfully, Agent Carter was there to divert my thoughts for a while. If you know me, you know I’m a Peggy Carter fangirl, and I was super stoked about the show. When it started I was… confused… about the direction it was going in and the plot. I thought it was sort of going to pick off where the Agent Carter one shot left off, but it actually feels more like it never happened. I thought Peggy was supposed to be in charge of the beginning of the SSR, I mean, this had been alluded to in the one shot, in Captain America The Winter Soldier, and in Agents of SHIELD. Instead, she’s just the glorified secretary to the boys. But after a few episodes, I decided to enjoy it for what it was. I still loved Peggy, as well as many of the new secondary characters, such as Jarvis, Angie, and Sousa.

I ultimately enjoyed the season. I still never completely understood what the plot of it had to do with the Marvel universe at large, but I hoped for a second season to help sort it out some more. And I still want that.

Then Agents of SHIELD returned, and we’re one episode in and while it was a fine episode, I’m still feeling uncertain about what’s happening. Fitz finds out what’s happening to Skye but he’s going to keep it a secret. Raina’s essentially a demented porcupine. Bobbi and Mack are up to something, but what? Are Fitz and Simmons ever going to talk again? OK, I know they won’t let that drop, but I want it now, dang it. I have a hard time caring about the Inhumans storyline at the present because I’m still very worried about the humans on the show. I am completely not over Trip’s death (that was what my unpublished ranting blog post was about, essentially), I worry about Fitz-Simmons, I worry about all of them.

Except Ward. He wasn’t in this last episode and I did not care or miss him for two seconds. They made me hate him that much. (Or maybe that indifferent to him.) I just don’t like feeling this way. I guess I’m not supposed to like feeling this way. No one said this was a Hallmark movie. But just the thought of him popping up again just makes me feel… ugh. I just don’t care about him. I want him to leave. I want Trip back (not matter how impossible). I want to smoosh Fitz and Simmons’ faces together, and then we can carry on with Hydra and Inhumans and whatnot.

I’m happy that this next episode features Lady Sif, because I love me some Sif (not quite as much as Peggy, but still a lot). I just hope things will make sense soon. When the season ends, I want it to feel like the story is heading in the right direction. The season one finale left us hanging, but it was good and left me wanting more in the right ways. I know there’s some time and I shouldn’t worry, I suppose I just hoped that after such a long hiatus I would get something I was hoping to see, instead of basically nothing at all that I cared about (other than Coulson yelling and bringing down some Hydra folks, because that was good stuff).

Also, how is this going to tie into Avengers 2? What the heck is that movie about anyway? That first trailer really gave me chills in the best way, and this newest one is just not nearly as interesting to me. I’m sure it will all work out, but I’m just curious about what direction the Marvel universe is actually going if there’s supposed to be Civil War and so much other crap going on. I’m sure someone with comic book cred could help me out.

What are your thoughts on Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, and the various Marvel storylines? 

The Top 3 Superhero Side Characters Who Deserve Their Own Spotlight

Sometimes there are side characters in the superhero story that really deserve their own chance to shine. These are the three that I would love to see get there own spotlight… in no particular order…

1. ROBIN John Blake

johnblakeMy husband and I recently rewatched the three movies of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you may know that I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan in general, and in the very infantile stages of my blog I fangirled about ROBIN John Blake from The Dark Knight Rises and why he needed his own movie. These feelings only intensified upon my rewatch. I want to see Christopher Nolan turn Joseph Gordon-Levitt into the new Batman and push Batfleck aside.

Why do I love John Blake so much? He’s intelligent, resourceful, and brave. He isn’t dramatic and he doesn’t get distracted. I’m not saying he’s perfect, but… he’s pretty awesome. And he deserves his own trilogy!

2. Peggy Carter

260364422177501418_KTseeC91_cMy love for Peggy Carter and my enthusiasm for the upcoming Agent Carter TV show is unending! I adore how she is feminine yet tough and able to handle herself. She grew to care for Steve for his courage and heart, and she possesses those qualities as well. And though it was hard, she was able to move past his death and accomplish great things. She’s amazing and totally deserves this show and I cannot WAIT!

3. Lady Sif

lady-sifLady Sif is awesome. More awesome than Jane, more awesome than Thor. She doesn’t need some silly hammer to knock down the enemy. She did appear in an episode of Agents of SHIELD, which was GREAT, but I could definitely use more Sif! A Sif movie? TV show? Even a one-shot! Just give me more SIF, please!

Which side character from a superhero story would you like to see in the spotlight? 

Mini Movie Reviews: Divergent and Guardians of the Galaxy

Divergent

Divergent-movieI enjoyed the Divergent trilogy, but I have often said I liked it but didn’t love it, and this is true of all three books. It seems to me those who were most passionate about the first book hated the way it ended, but for me, my feelings for the books are mostly consistent. So when I say I liked but didn’t love the movie, I’m saying it was a pretty good adaptation of a pretty good book. It hit all the high points (that I remembered) and also explained itself well to those who have not read the books (like my husband).

I do have one complaint about the movie, though, and that is I did not like the way Caleb was portrayed. I’m not sure if it was the writing or Ansel Elgort’s portrayal of him or both, but he came off so flat and dull, and I really liked him a lot in the books (yes, even during Insurgent, though I am still mad at Veronica Roth for not explaining his motives in Allegiant).

One thing I did like about the movie more than the book is that the Tris and Four romance was less prominent (though it still existed, so don’t freak out if that’s something you can’t stand to lose!). Though because of the pacing of the movie their interest seems a little sudden, but I was relieved we didn’t get multiple make-out scenes.

I think most of the actors/actresses did a great job portraying their characters, and would recommend the movie to fans of the book or to anyone who’s interested.

3.5starsGuardians of the Galaxy

guardian-of-the-galaxyI have to say, I was wary of Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie looked like it was directly aimed at 10 year old boys (maybe it was?) and it just looked too different from the Marvel cinematic universe I have come to know and love as the various Avengers’ films have rolled out. Thankfully, it turned out better than expected. It is different from the others, and the humor primarily used is not necessarily my favorite brand of humor, but it has funny moments and even tender moments. I also appreciated the fact that the characters started out as unlikable misfits that somehow turned out to be more likable misfits.

As far as its weak points go, Guardians was pretty formulaic, and I found myself guessing correctly on a few things before they were revealed. It’s no Winter Soldier, and don’t let anyone else tell you any differently.

The villain, Ronan, also left something to be desired. We are told he’s a bad dude, and he seems like a bad dude, and when given such a powerful weapon you know things can get really, really bad, but it all ended up a bit forgettable at the end. I even momentarily forgot who the villain of the movie was a few hours later. Oops.

If you’re a fan of Marvel, I would recommend it. It’s fun and a unique addition to the universe’s mythology.

Also check out these other reviews of Guardians:

Matt says it’s fun back lacks a little on heart

Aidan wasn’t too impressed with the villain but otherwise enjoyed it

3.5starsWhat are your thoughts on Divergent and/or Guardians of the Galaxy?

A Few Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Finale “The Beginning of the End”

Alright, so I’ve gotten behind on things, as I really wanted to discuss the last three episodes of SHIELD and I simply got busy and by this point I’ve forgotten details, but I remember that they were AWESOME. Especially the finale, which I did rewatch (while multitasking, which generally results in me not actually absorbing as much of it as I would have liked, but I have a weird thing about rewatching TV episodes I’ve seen before when I’m home alone where I always feel like I have to do something else at the same time, I don’t know why!). But I wanted to share a few of my thoughts.

* WARNING – SPOILERS! *

– It was basically perfect. I thought the storylines that needed to wrap up did so nicely and without getting too tropey. Ward wasn’t redeemed and is still an antagonist in the eyes of the team. Garrett was killed in the most awesome way. But of course, there were things planted to make way for new storylines in season two (and there is going to be a season two, yay!).

– Fitz + Simmons = OMG FEELS. Look, I know I’ve been kind of obsessed with the Fitz-Simmons development lately, but seriously, the chemistry! These two will break your heart.

So my prediction for these two in season two, with Fitz being alive but possibly not quite the same, is that he’s going to lose some of his memory and forget that he admitted to Simmons that he had feelings. He may even forget that he started to develop feelings for her. Meanwhile, Simmons will have to grapple with knowing while still trying to figure out if she feels the same way.

Fitz-Simmons-boxElizabeth Henstridge has been quoted as saying that “Fitz is going to be her main priority. 100%” in season two. So yeah, I’m dying. I NEED SEASON TWO NOW.

– Nick Fury tells Coulson it’s his job to rebuild SHIELD, and to do it right. I’m sure this will be a big part of Season 2. And I’m hoping that in doing this, by Avengers 2 he can finally let the Avenger crew know that HE’S ALIVE!

– AGENT KOEING LIVES! Sort of… So at the end of the episode we’re introduced to Agent Billy Koeing in a new secret facility of SHIELD, twin brother of Eric Koeing perhaps? And by twin brother, I mostly mean clone, because I’m thinking there must be several Koeing clones in these secret bases. I mean, he says the same exact things! It seems a bit unethical but… I’m game to have Patton Oswalt back on the show.

The show did start off slow, but there was a point where it really started to pick up and would deliver week after week, often times getting better week by week. I finally grew to love and care about the characters, there was a lot of action, some fun cameos and references, and some back-stabbery. Now that SHIELD has found its footing, I really can’t wait for season two, and especially with Agent Carter being picked up alongside it! I love Haley Atwell as Agent Carter and I’m really looking forward to how they translate her character for TV.

Share your thoughts on the season finale of Agents of SHIELD, as well as your thoughts on the show overall and what you’d like to see in season two! 

My Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD Since Winter Soldier

This probably goes without saying, but just to be safe, this post is filled with spoilers from all released episodes of Agents of SHIELD.

As I mentioned in my review of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, the show Agents of SHIELD was clearly building up to the movie. And it was obvious after the movie that the repercussions of what happened there was going to bleed onto the show. It all started just days after the movie released, with the episode Turn, Turn, Turn.

skye-gun

The whole episode is fashioned in such a way that we are constantly questioning who is loyal to SHIELD and who is loyal to Hydra, as well as make you wonder and guess and re-guess who “The Clairvoyant” is. Needless to say, I really did not see it coming that it would be Agent Garrett!

IAIN DE CAESTECKER

Triplett: “But hey, if we get questioned, let me talk. You’re a surprisingly bad liar.”

Simmons: “I know. But I’m getting better at it.”

This episode was jam-packed with action and misleadings, and also many character moments. Coulson still doesn’t trust May completely, even though she is an “ally.” Fitz is crazy worried about Simmons. Ward tells Skye that he has feelings for her and they share a kiss. And of course, we learn the truth about Garrett. And then at the end, we see Ward kill Agent Hand and nod towards Garrett. But then he seems distant as Garrett starts telling stories of his grand escapades of the past. What’s going on with Ward? Surely he’s a double or triple agent, right? We never heard him say, “Hail Hydra!” and besides, it doesn’t seem to fit that he would be bad.

ward-distantNext was Providence, in which everyone starts to question what’s next as SHIELD has obviously shattered. Coulson makes an impassioned plea to his team that they are Agents of SHIELD, not Agents of Nothing, and they must continue to fight for what they know is right. And meanwhile, Ward and Garrett go to the Fridge to spring out those being kept there, and to grab anything that can be beneficial to the cause of Hydra.

Raina: “So you’re a liar. You’re a fraud.”

Garrett: “An artist. A con artist, perhaps, but an artist all the same.”

From the coordinates that light up on his SHIELD badge, Coulson is able to find a secret SHIELD facility called Providence where Remy the rat Adam Goldberg Patton Oswalt Agent Koenig is waiting for them (or at least for Coulson). He tells the team that Fury is dead, though reveals to Coulson in private that Fury is actually alive, but only a few people can know, and that the rest of the team will have to pass a lie detector before they are trusted.

coulson-koeing I have to say I loved Agent Koenig so much in this episode and the next, and I’m so sad we won’t get to see more of him! This episode also solidified, at least in my mind, that Ward is really working with Garrett, at the very least, and he is allegiant to him first and foremost. It will be interesting to see if anything happens with that allegiance if Garrett dies or if he makes Ward choose between him and Skye. At the end of the episode, Garrett sends Ward off to get Skye’s hard drive encrypted, and of course poor Skye has no idea who Ward truly is when he reunites with the team at the end.

BRETT DALTONEver since the episode “FZZT,” I’ve been all aboard the Fitz-Simmons ship. Fitz has a couple of moments where you can see that his feelings for Simmons have truly gone past those of a brotherly/sisterly nature and have turned into more of a romantic love for her. But of course, Simmons is clueless.

Simmons: “Did you mean what you said earlier? About Coulson?”

Fitz: “I don’t know know, Jemma. I want to believe that Coulson knows what he’s doing but…”

Simmons: “Well, we still have each other.”

Fitz: “Yeah. Good. Cause the last thing I want is for things to change.”

Simmons: “It’s too late for that.” 

coulson-cold-badgeThis week’s episode was The Only Light in the Darkness, in which any previous caring I had for Ward before is absolutely gone by everything he does, May leaves, we finally meet Coulson’s lovely cellist, and the Fitz-Simmons feels only grow. It starts off with everyone going through the lie detector test Koenig mentioned to Coulson in the previous episode.

B.J. BRITTThe lie detector sequence was great because it provided even more insight into each character. When asked, “Why are you here?,” May decidedly says Coulson. Simmons admits she’s not sure. When asked if they were stranded on a deserted island with a box, what’s in the box, most people have practical answers, but Simmons declares she wants the TARDIS, and after asking for the variables of the box and being told to say what first comes to mind, Fitz finally says that Simmons would be in his box. (*FEELS!!!*)

PATTON OSWALTWhen Ward has his test, his readings are all over the place. Koenig starts to suspect him. But then Ward is able to work around it through half truths, convincing Koenig at least temporarily that he’s a good guy. Unfortunately, Koenig pays for that mistake and Skye finds a dead Koenig and with this, the truth about Ward. And though she has her freak-out moment, she is able to pull herself together enough to think and act. I’m really glad Skye is wise to the truth now and I’m interested in seeing how she handles herself in the next episode as she is off with Ward.

AMY ACKER, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGEI loved Amy Acker in her role as Audrey Nathan, AKA, the cellist. Her plot involves a villain of the week who Garrett released from prison, obviously to keep Coulson busy in chasing after him to protect Audrey. But it was all so sad that Coulson had to just watch her from a distance. And then when he kissed her on the forehead and told her he was there and then ran off before she woke… ACK! FEELS!

“Why don’t you tell her the truth? That you’re still alive? … It’s just – the way she talks about you, it sounds like the two of you had something nice… So it’s not because you’re afraid to talk to her?” – Fitz

Yes, more Fitz pining at the end, with more clueless Simmons. My heart is breaking for Fitz. TELL HER HOW YOU FEEL, MAN!

And then the episode ended with May and… Mama May!

mama-mayMay doesn’t know who to trust , other than her mom, and is on the hunt for Maria Hill, who will be in next week’s episode. I’m intrigued by all this.

In short: I’m enjoying the direction of the show and how it keeps bringing its A game. I love Fitz-Simmons. I’m so over Ward, though I am somewhat interested in his backstory. I loved Koenig (RIP!). I continue to love Coulson. I’m curious to see what happens with May, Skye, and Triplett too. And the finale, I have a feeling, is going to leave us with a brutal cliffhanger.

What are your thoughts on these last few episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Since I saw the first Captain America movie, I knew Captain America was going to be my favorite of the Avengers. I mean, he’s such a gentleman! And he hails from the 1940’s, one of my favorite time periods in history! And Peggy Carter! Oh, I adored her too! But then, spoiler if you haven’t seen the first movie, when Steve crashes and he ends up asleep in ice for decades, of course this separates him and Peggy. SO sad! We saw him adjust to his new life in The Avengers, but we see more in The Winter Soldier.

winter-soldierFirst, my shorter, non-spoliery thoughts on the movie. I will always love the period feel of the first Captain America movie, but I do believe this was a better film. There is some great character development, the stakes are high, and there was a lot added to the overarching storyline of SHIELD. Steve has a bit of an identity crisis, but he works through and continues to act on what he knows is right, and there was never a heavy-handed *STEVE HAS FOUND HIMSELF* moment, but I think he did find his place in the end. This is a great movie for secondary characters as well with Nick Fury, Natasha/Black Widow, and Sam Wilson/The Falcon (a new character) all getting good screen time and moments in the film. If you’re a fan of the Marvel universe, I think you’ll really enjoy this latest installment.

4-5stars-editNow for the longer review, complete with spoilers…

So first off, the TV show Agents of SHIELD has clearly been setting up for what happened in this movie, and if you haven’t been watching it, I can only imagine that Fury showing Steve the message “SHIELD has been compromised” had to take you for an absolute loop. But on the show, we’ve been catching wind of something amiss. Now the exacts of it were definitely still surprising, to find out that SHIELD has been infiltrated by Hydra for decades reminded me of the movie Salt and was really surprising to me. Also, Agents of SHIELD has featured Agent Sitwell from time to time, so to find out in this movie that he’s with Hydra was a big deal, whereas it wouldn’t have been had I not been watching the show. So for the folks who gave up on the show or never gave it a chance, it’s gotten better, and now it’s clearly tying in with the movies. WATCH IT!

captain-america-hospitalI liked that Nick Fury and Black Widow had larger roles in this movie. I was curious to see how Steve and Natasha would work as a team since they’re so different, but they worked well together. I loved how Steve actually took Fury’s advice to trust no one and was skeptical of Natasha until she proved herself. And I love that they team up with Sam Wilson, a military veteran who Steve meets turns out to be quite skilled in his own way.

Captain-America-2-The-FalconI think most Marvel fans knew going into the movie that The Winter Soldier is, in fact, Steve’s old friend Bucky Barnes, who was experimented on (Steve rescues him from an operating table in the first movie, in case you have forgotten), and somehow was able to survive his nasty fall and then be turned into this villain of The Winter Soldier. I did hear one moviegoer in the theater with me audibly gasp once we finally get a good luck at Bucky’s face, and I could tell Steve certainly felt a gut punch in that moment as he realized it too. He tries to reason with his old friend, though it’s clear he does know who Steve is, but then at the very end, when he’s trying to figure it out… wow. I wonder if that’ll come back up. Marvel doesn’t seem to have arbitrary scenes in their movies though, so I’m thinking it must be important. That’ll be interesting.

winter-soldier-buckyNow, let’s talk about Peggy Carter. SHE’S IN THE MOVIE! (Hopefully you already knew that, if you’re down here reading the spoilery stuff.) We find out that she did marry a few years after Steve “died,” which is understandable, and we also find out that Steve has reconnected with her, and she is now of course elderly and living in some sort of assisted living or nursing home. At first it was really sweet as we watched the two of  them talk like old friends, and I was so happy for some kind of closure with her and Steve, but then suddenly she got confused and was like, “Steve! You’re alive!” and oh my heart broke. Dementia. Uh it was so sad! Hasn’t poor Steve suffered enough?! And then we never got to see the two of them together again after that scene. It doesn’t detract too much from the movie, really, I just wish we could have ended on a better note with the two of them. But kudos to whoever did the makeup job on Haley Atwell because WOW, it looked so real.

Also speaking of Peggy, it’s clear Steve still cares for her, but he knows he needs to be open to meeting 21st century girls. But when Natasha asks Steve if she’s his first kiss since 1945 and he says no, I’m like, seriously?! He’s spent the whole movie acting like he has not been socializing with ladies and then suddenly he’s been kissing them? I don’t buy it. I’m just pretending that line doesn’t exist, or that he was being so sarcastic I couldn’t tell, because it didn’t feel in character. Maybe I care too much about my belief that Steve was a true, chivalrous romantic, but yeah, that line about the kissing is definitely not in my personal head canon.

captain-america-black-widowNeedless to say, I really enjoyed a lot about this movie and thought it was very solid. And I’m really curious to see the next Agents of SHIELD episode (which I am about 99% positive is going to be aftermath of this movie) on Tuesday, as well as see what’s in store for this ever-changing universe.

What are your thoughts on Captain America: The Winter Soldier? 

 

Mini-Review: Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World is the latest addition in the Marvel movie franchise as well as the continuation of Thor’s story… but I’m sure you knew that! I wanted to keep this review short and sweet by covering the movie’s good points and “meh” points…

Good: The Snarky Dialogue… Especially with Loki

thor-loki-glassesAs all Marvel movies should be, Thor: The Dark World has many quotable moments. I don’t know why Thor goes from speaking Shakespearean-style English to telling Loki to shut up, but regardless, I still enjoyed a lot of the dialogue, especially where Loki was involved. They had some great brother banter moments.

Good: Darcy!!!

darcy-thorI absolutely adored Darcy in the first Thor film and was thrilled she was coming back. She did not disappoint!

Meh: Thor + Jane = Still Not Buying It

jane-thorI like Natalie Portman and I like Jane, but I didn’t find Jane and Thor together believable in either the first film or this film. (Team Sif all the way!)

Good: Thor’s Mom is Awesome!

thor-momI thought Thor’s mom was awesome, but I don’t want to spoil anything, so you’ll just have to watch to see why.

Meh: Poor Dr. Selvig

thor-erikIt was sad to see that state Dr. Erik Selvig ended up in after The Avengers. 😦

Good: Zachary Levi!

thor-zacharyleviI think Zachary Levi did a pretty seamless job filling in for the role of an actor who was in the previous installment of Thor. And I’m always happy to see Zachary Levi!

Meh: Just OK Villain

thor-villainThe villain, The Dark Elf or whatever he was called, didn’t impress me in the slightest and I never really felt a sense of danger with him. I never thought about this until a few days after I had seen the movie though, which tells you how little I think about villains (unless they’re awesome), but I would compare him to Nero in the 2009 Star Trek movie… just not that impressive. But without getting too spoilery, let’s just say there’s plenty of questioning Loki’s motives throughout the film, and that is much more interesting… and then there’s the mid-credit scene that opens a new door…

Good: Overall Just Fun!

thor-2It’s Thor, it’s the Avengers, and it’s just fun.

4stars2Others’ thoughts:

Nashville Book Worm liked it OK but didn’t love it

House of Geekery loved it!

Have you seen Thor: The Dark World? What are your thoughts? 

In Which I Fangirl About Fitz-Simmons

A while back I shared my thoughts on the first three episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I expressed that I felt the show had its share of flaws, but with such lovely quips and hints of more to come, it left me satisfied enough to keep tuning in. The show continues to get better each week, and this last episode, FZZT, seriously gave me ALL THE FEELS. It finally made me fall in love with two of the show’s characters: Fitz and Simmons. It starts off like a normal case of the week, but halfway through when they’re wrapping the case up, you know there’s more to go. (Not only because it’s wrapping up quickly, but also becuse virtually nothing from the preview for the episode has happened yet!)

Basically this episode was all about why you should ship Fitz and Simmons if you don’t already. OK, not really, but I think that’s what some of us got out of it, myself included. I tried to hold out, but now it’s hopeless. When Fitz yelled, “Jemma!!! NO!!!!!!!” it was all over. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

jemma-noOne thing I lamented about when I talked about my first thoughts on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was that I didn’t really love any of the characters yet (except Coulson, who we already knew), and that was just so weird for a Whedon show (based on my experience with Firefly and Dr. Horrible; I haven’t seen any other Whedon shows yet). And lately, everything has felt so Skye-centric and I’ve just gotten tired of her. So to have the focus to shift on the scientists of the group, who have always had such quirky conversations but we knew so little about, was great. We knew they went to school together, but what is their history exactly? At first, before I caught that they had different last names, I thought they were brother and sister because of their obvious connection but lack of romantic behavior toward each other. Then I learned they were just long-time friends, and of course your mind jumps to the conclusion that guy + girl + friends = future romance, but there are an equal number of guys and girls on the cast of this show and somebody needs to keep it platonic, right?  That’s what I told myself anyway, as it was obvious they wanted to set up Skye and Ward for future romance.

There was some great dialogue that I think revealed a lot about Fitz and Simmons’ friendship without spelling out all the details of their background together.

Every minute of every day you’ve been stuck in a lab right beside me. At the academy. At PSYOPS. This plane. You’ve been beside me the whole time. You have to fix this. -Fitz

IAIN DE CAESTECKER, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGEWe’re doing what we always do. We’re going to fix this. Together. – Fitz

fitz-doorIt wasn’t Ward by my side in that lab searching for a cure. It wasn’t Ward giving me hope, when I had none. it was you. -Simmons

kiss-1But seriously, despite all my ship talk, I don’t want for things to get ruined by them rushing into romance too quickly. A lot of times when couples hook up on shows, the dynamic is suddenly a lot more boring. I don’t think that has to be the case with Fitz-Simmons, but I don’t want to see any hyper-acceleration into a relationship either. And if and when they get into one, I want them to still be normal, not all lovey dovey. I want them to have the same kind of fights and say the same kind of things to each other. I just hold a personal belief that best friends can make great life partners.

And honestly, other than Simmons’ thank-you kiss to Fitz, I don’t think the episode was actually trying to be heavy-handed with a romance potential. Obviously Fitz is worried about his friend and lab partner, because they are so close. I just love how pure-hearted their friendship is, and seeing those kinds of relationships usually make me want to see it become more, but still remain pure-hearted. Typically TV shows like to dramatize these things though, and honestly, I’d rather them be friends forever than see a ruined romance. So I’m not thinking ALL about romance here. I just want what’s best for their friendship, and them, because now I love their characters.

Another highlight of this episode was seeing Fitz, Simmons, and Skye poke fun at Ward, and then to see Ward loosen up and poke fun at himself. And then also we got to see Coulson open up to May, and it continues the mystery of just what happened when Coulson died, and just how much May knows about what happened to him, and perhaps if she knows something about dying herself. Overall, this was the episode that made me care the most about everyone, and I think that’s a sign of a strong episode, fangirling aside.

For differing thoughts on this episode, check out what Nashville Bookworm had to say.

If you saw the episode “FZZT,” where were your thoughts? Are you a Fitz-Simmons shipper or do you want it to stay platonic?