Despite Thor, The God of Thunder being one of Marvel’s most iconic characters and virtual co-founder of The Avengers, making him a compelling action hero has been a tough task. Even with some great directors and sleek scripting, “Thor” hasn’t quite been as exciting as Iron Man or Captain America. He’s barely risen to the Hulk who, so far, has only had one movie and a hand full of appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With “Thor: Ragnarok,” Marvel has reached the point where audiences are familiar enough with the character that they can begin to change his identity a bit. In the end, he’s still Thor, the God of Thunder, but he also comes in touch with his god like abilities when he allows himself to embrace humility once and for all.
Director Jon Watts handles the element of Peter Parker’s life that the previous “Spider-Man” iterations didn’t, offering a compelling coming of age high school drama, whose main character is a super powered being trying to live up to impossible standards. When we meet Peter Parker, he’s a typical teenager vlogging his experience in “Civil War” where he brushed up against a slew of heavy hitting superheroes in an effort to help Tony Stark. When the movie begins Peter is returned to Queens to go back to being just a teenager who happens to be Spider-Man. Peter is a young man always trying to do what’s right and noble, he’s the true underdog of the Marvel Universe.
It’s not that “Lightspeed” is pseudo-superhero junk; it’s that its pseudo-superhero junk that’s so painfully derivative, it’s boring to endure. Its ninety minutes of an origin story of two very uninteresting characters, both of whom are the resident hero and villain of said film, no less. The titular Lightspeed is just downright dull, even when the writers borrow (read: rip off) heavily from the lore of Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and The Flash. With executive producer Stan Lee, the writers have license to rip off the aforementioned, I assume, but said elements are so poorly implemented that the movie itself is a chore. The derivative material wouldn’t be so bad, even, if Don E. FauntLeroy’s direction wasn’t so lackluster.
It’s amazing what kind of feat the Russo Brothers have pulled off. Not only do they offer up a pseudo-sequel to the continuing saga of “The Avengers” but they also manage to squeeze in a superhero epic, and revenge saga that stretches out over the Marvel Cinematic Universe without ever missing a single beat. “Captain America: Civil War” finally brings the Marvel Universe full circle creating something of a wider scope now that Marvel has been able to acquire and introduce superheroes and characters that were long thought to be incapable of appearing. In just a two and a half hour movie, we’re able to watch a full fledged tale of friendship unfold in the face of a revenge plot, while being given marvelous and overdue introductions to iconic Avenger The Black Panther, and Marvel’s long awaited iteration of their iconic superhero Spider-Man.
Adapted from the iconic Marvel Comic, the film iteration was made on a measly budget of a million dollars with a joint venture by Fox, Marvel and Neue Constantin Films. After casting and initial filming was conducted, “The Fantastic Four” was a highly anticipated film covered in major magazines like Wizard and Film Threat. After a long tour of fan meetings and interviews with the press, the cast and crew learned that their hard work would result in a film that was cancelled by the studios and never to be released. Shortly after, the folks that took part in “The Fantastic Four” learned that, much to their horror, the film was never intended to ever be released. Worse, much of the struggles to conceive a fantastic cinematic vision in a decade bereft of epic comic book movies were merely to secure the rights for the comic book property and nothing more.
It’s apropos of Marvel to finally bring in Spider-Man to “Civil War.” Because while it is essential that he be introduced to a brilliant cinematic universe, he is representative of the underlying message behind “Civil War.” With great power comes great responsibility. After spending so many years doing battle with aliens and super powered foes, the Avengers are finally taking a toll on the world, and the government from all sides of the globe is angry at their inherent recklessness.
Superhero movie fatigue, my balls.
“Deadpool” is proof positive that the comic book movie is alive and well and prone to various iterations of the comic book movie mold beyond capes, tights, and bat ears. “Deadpool” is one of the most anti of anti-heroes ever conceived. He’s a man who works for any side that’s appealing to him, and you can never quite pin down whether he should be a friend or foe. Wilson like Marvel comrades The Punisher and Iron Man are never villainous, but also not the clean cut superheroes we’d expect. In the end, Wilson is about self gratification, even though he tells himself that his intentions are pure. He’s a man who loves being vile and obnoxious. Even Wade Wilson during the opening of “Deadpool” explicitly states that he is by no means a hero, and we’re given extensive insight in to how he lived his life before he became the “merc with the mouth.”
“Ant Man” seems like a stand alone superhero effort at first, but it fits comfortably in the pegs of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also introduces us to a wonderful superhero who, by all logic, should not have translated in to such a great film. Surely enough, with a script by Edgar Wright (and various others) and an excellent cast (including a welcome Hispanic presence), “Ant Man” is one of the best adaptations of Marvel’s Phase Two in their Cinematic Universe. Like every hero in the Marvel Universe, “Ant-Man” is just an average man thrust in to great circumstances, and he has to earn his stripes as a crime fighter while overcoming his own flaws and insecurities.