Natasha Romanoff finally gets to spread her wings and star in her own solo flick. Too bad she gets upstaged by her sister and her father. Tough break
A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.
It took long enough, actually, all it took for Scarlett Johansson to land her BlackWidow solo movie was literally dying. I don’t want to say it was too late or this didn’t matter because it did and BlackWidow is surprisingly one of the better MCU solo flicks that sets up a few storylines for Phase 4. After the big showdown at the airport in Civil War, which leads to the break up of the Avengers, Natasha only has one choice and that’s to go on the run. She no longer has any friends or family…….. or so she thought.
Audiences and fans have always wanted to learn a little more about this character, she has always been at the forefront of the movies, being an original Avenger and one of the biggest female characters if not the biggest the MCU has to offer. So this movie was a great opportunity to showcase who she is and where she came from. Introducing her hilarious and superfamily, baby sister Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), father Alexei (David Harbour), and mother Melina (Rachel Weisz). These are worthy additions to the MCU, all of them providing a ton of comedic moments, especially Pugh who was so rough around the edges and I really felt like all of her jokes landed. She had great chemistry with Scarlett and I’m very excited to see what they do with her next in the MCU. As for her parents, Harbour plays the Russian Captain America still living in his glory years and he was just a dumb stump for the majority of the film, but in the best way possible. Melina serves as the voice of reason, the strong motherly figure who is so happy to have her “family” reunited.
One aspect of Black Widow that I enjoyed was in all other solo movies, there is always some world-ending event going down, and everyone is like “why don’t you just call another Avenger,” but this time she actually couldn’t and I think it was cool to see her with her back against the wall and relying on people she thought she had lost forever. Behind this event is the scum of the Earth Dreykov (Ray Winstone) and his trusty sidekick Taskmaster. Honestly, the villains could have used a little work, Taskmaster has a cool gimmick but they certainly didn’t showcase it enough and from the trailers, I really thought Taskmaster would be at the forefront of the movie. On the other side of things, I don’t really think this movie needed a strong villain to be successful, because this was more about spending one last movie with Natasha and finally learning about her backstory and what really went down in Budapest. They achieve that goal and it was nice to get some emotional scenes with Natasha and everything that’s happened to her prior to this movie finally catching up to her.
I thought the first 20-30 minutes were solid as a rock, especially the opening credits. If you can pull off and execute effective opening credits, it only helps your movie. Throw in some Nirvana cover songs and we are talking nothing but positive things. Yelena and Natasha’s first encounter was a great scene and you knew right away that they would be fantastic throughout the entire film together. The comedy really works, although with some more emotional scenes I think the MCU as a whole needs to stop tossing in one last joke to overshadow the scene. It takes away from some of the most powerful scenes in the movie and you really don’t need jokes in every single scene of the movie. I think that and the weakish third act would be my only complaints about the movie.
We got introduced to some great new characters going forward, we got an amazing sendoff to one of the OG Avengers and it was nice to have an MCU movie back in our lives. Overall, Black Widow works on just about every single level and I look forward to seeing where they take all these storylines next.
Been waiting 11 long years, just to see Thanos kill Captain America
Mild spoilers? Well that’s my guess anyway, Cap will bite the dust by the hands of the Mad Titan in the up-coming Infinity War. It’s been a good run for Captain America though, it’s been 11 years since I sat down in the theatre about to watch Iron Man. At the time much like everyone else, I didn’t know too much about the titled character. I’ll admit I didn’t really know anything about Iron Man or the rest of the Avengers, because I always considered myself as a DC fan rather than Marvel. But 16 movies later, I have seen every MCU movie in the theatre and have come to appreciate almost all of them. Some are better than others and some of them are even some of the very best comic book movies. Sometimes MCU movies can follow the same cookie-cutter formula, but when it ain’t broke don’t fix it. They have something really special going on with their universe, and this upcoming May, things are really going to get interesting when all these characters will finally come together to take on Thanos and try and save the world. With that being said, this week Thor:Ragnarok is coming out, and I’m going to break down all previous MCU films and rank them! So here we go! Side note: I’m not going to include The Incredible Hulk, I know technically it’s part of the MCU but with Edward Norton no longer being the Hulk and they kind of just disregard that, I’m just going to not rank it, even though I think it’s a pretty awesome movie!
15.) Thor: The Dark World. Director: Alan Taylor. Box Office: 644.4 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
The worst of the worst. Sorry Thor, but in my opinion the weakest of the MCU films. It has the lowest RT score, and it’s crazy to think this movie is 66% and Batman vs. Superman sits at 27%. For me that is mind boggling. I know people didn’t love BvS, but at the same time, these two movies are easily comparable and sometimes I think that critics were just really rough on BvS. The only good thing to really come out of this movie, was the fact that the first director of choice was Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) but she ultimately dropped out and that was the best thing to ever happen to her. We got Wonder Woman out of it and well we all know how that turned out. This movie also has by far the worst villain in the MCU and I bet if you are reading this, you don’t even know his name so I’m not going to tell you! The crazy thing is, this movie probably has one of the most emotional scenes in the entire MCU run. When Loki appears to be okay in his cell after his mothers death, yet he is tortured and just lost. Sitting there and then screaming out that he lost the one person he cared about. For me it’s honestly one of the few real heartstring moments in the entire MCU.
14.) Iron Man 2. Director: Jon Favreau. Box Office: 623.9 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
When I think back on all the MCU films, Iron Man 2 has the most wasted potential. Coming off the stellar Iron Man, I think the sequel was a little rushed, because they were really trying to get this universe started. When you bring in an actor like Mickey Rourke to play your villain; Whiplash and hardly use him, that’s wasted potential. When Whiplash actually turned out to be really cool, and I think Mickey was all in for this role and the last encounter between him and our heroes is 90 seconds long, again wasted potential. I was just so disappointed when I saw this, I remember this was back in the day of Thursday midnight showings, so I waited all day and night to watch this, and it turned out to just be “meh.” Terrence Howard left this franchise of the role of Rhodes and entered Don Cheadle which was great and I think in the long run it worked out. Also we got introduced to Black Widow aka Scarlett Johansson. This is just a lacklustre movie, with zero to no action sequences and a really big waste on probably a great villain idea. I don’t think I can ever forgive Marvel for the last battle scene in this movie, its a shame really.
If someone told me ten years ago, there would ultimately be an Ant-Man movie, I would have called them crazy. Scott Lang, the weirdo of the Avengers, I guess he really isn’t an Avenger yet? Anyways this movie was fun, it had a ton of laughs and overall it was another solid outing by Marvel. I really like Paul Rudd in this role, I think this was almost perfect casting, because he can be a bit gritty but at the same time bring that humour and charm that this character needs. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym was a great choice as well, I loved him in this movie, and I look forward to seeing him again. Yellow-Jacket as the villain wasn’t so bad either, with some of the action sequences being really fun and unique, but at the same time being something that we really hadn’t seen before in a comic book movie. I think the sequel Ant-Man and The Wasp will be much improved, and I think it will stand out a little better than just Ant-Man.
12.) Iron Man 3. Director: Shane Black. Box Office: 1.215 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
The first MCU movie following the events of the Avengers. Holy shit this movie made a ton of money. Incredible feat considering well Iron Man 3 just wasn’t good. I couldn’t decide which Iron Man sequel was worse, but this movie was all sorts of messed up. I’ll never forget the excellent trailers for this and how I was so excited to finally see the Mandarin – especially because Sir. Ben Kingsley was playing the role. We all know how it worked out in the end, that twist or reveal at the end of the movie, was not well received by myself or fans of the character. Rebecca Hall was also up for the villain role but her role in the movie kept getting smaller and smaller. This was revealed later on in interviews with her. Instead we got Guy Pierce playing the bad guy, the inventor of the Extermis virus and soon calls himself the Mandarin. I was just so disappointed with this movie, because the trailers made it seem like something was at stake and that Ben Kingsley’s character was going to be a real threat to Tony Stark. That never happened, and I don’t know, I love the character of Iron Man, but man, they have a hard time with his stand alone movies. Seriously this had some of the best trailers for any Marvel movie to date, with the Kingsley voice over. Not to mention the whole thing with Pepper Potts, and boy thinking back on this movie, it really was just a giant mess.
11.) Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2. Director: James Gunn. Box Office 863.6 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Boy was this movie just plain old average. After the success of the first GOTG, coming into the sequel expectations couldn’t be higher for this sequel, and for me, it just fell flat. Crazy to think, because it was kind of the same material as the first, and adding Kurt Russell into the mix as Star Lords father, it just didn’t hit home for me. The last act of this movie is a complete and utter mess, and it felt so out of place, with Star Lord pretty much becoming Superman and having an all out slug-fest with his dear old Dad. This is a tough one to digest because I love all the characters so much, yet the story wasn’t the greatest and I feel like the relied to much on humour. I am looking forward to the third installment and seeing the Guardians interact with the Avengers in the up-coming Infinity War. I think Tony Stark and Star Lord are going to mesh really well together and will have some really good scenes with one another. This movie however just wasn’t Marvels best, but they all can’t be home runs, that’s just impossible to ask.
Three different Spider-Man’s since the year 2000. Can you believe that? We had two incredible Toby Maguire movies and I don’t really want to talk about the Amazing Spider-Man Movies. Let me be clear, when I say that Tom Holland is a really good Peter Parker/Spider-Man. There’s no doubt about that, but this movie was just AVERAGE AT BEST. It’s really hard to keep pumping out Spider-Man movies and trying to have them be different and unique from one another. Enter The Vulture, the villain in this movie. If he wasn’t played by Michael Keaton, boy this movie could have been one big pile of shit. They also needed to add in Iron Man to peak interest and to juice up the movie. I don’t want to see the Vulture against Spidey, I don’t think anyone wanted that, but you can’t do Green Goblin for the third time and I guess it’s to early for Venom or Carnage. The movie was just boring, and I don’t know, just not a lot went on. There are some great moments in the movie, but I’m just tired of stand alone Spider-Man movies that aren’t about the villains we want to see. We need a proper Venom, like make this happen, it’s not too difficult, not some guy flying around in a mech-suit. One of the rare MCU movies that I have only seen once and really have no desire to watch again. Tom Holland is great, and I hope big things are on the horizon for this franchise, because Spider-Man fans deserve that.
The King of Asgard! Thor actually gets better with age, just like a fine wine. This movie is always on cable and when it is, I find myself being sucked into it. Chris Hemsworth does such a great job at capturing Thor’s “clueless” side in this movie, not knowing Earth things. One of my favourite lines from any MCU movie is “I need a horse!” when he enters the pet shop. I just really enjoy Thor, and I’m excited for the third installment coming this week. By far the better of the first two installments, I think this franchise kind of gets a bad wrap, but it really shouldn’t. One great thing about the first Thor, was it made it clear that the MCU is a big universe that will surpass Earth, and it really touched on the “mythical” side of the MCU. The MCU has had some pretty bang on castings, but its been 7 years now and I still don’t think anyone could play Thor other than Hemsworth, it’s just perfection. I can’t talk about Thor and not mention Loki and how well Tom Hiddleston plays him. If it weren’t for him, the run of the villains would be absolutely pathetic. Now it seems he may turn into an anti-hero, at least in the upcoming Thor. Who knows what will happen with Loki once Thanos shows up.
8.) Captain America: The First Avenger. Director: Joe Johnson. Box Office: 370.6 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
How awesome was Chris Evans in Not Another Teen Movie? Or as Johnny Storm in the god awful Fantastic Four movies. Who knew, he would become almost the best part of the entire MCU. He’s come along way since joining the Avengers and the MCU. Another MCU movie that over time as grown on me. I remember walking out of the theatre and thinking “that movie sucked” but over time I have really come around to Captain America. The movie and the character himself. I just thought it was super cheesy and I thought the ending was just lame. I remember laughing when Cap is about to crash the plane into the water. One thing I liked right away was Red Skull, like come on Hugo Weaving playing a villain in your movie? What could go wrong. We haven’t seen Red Skull since, which in my opinion sucks, because he’s such a great foe for Captain America, and I don’t think we will see him pop back up. I’m really going to miss Cap, because I don’t think he will be making it out of Infinity War alive.
7.) Doctor Strange. Director: Scott Derrickson. Box Office: 677.7 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Probably the coolest MCU to date. Again another super hero, that 10 years ago would never get released and now, it’s one of the most successful MCU movies. We have Thor exploring the mythical aspects of the MCU and now Doctor Strange dives into the “magical” aspects. This movie can be a little confusing for causal fans, but overall it was really well done. Casting is great, Benedict Cumberbatch kills it as the cocky doctor turned superhero. The visuals are some of the best within the MCU, and that is a huge compliment. I can’t really think of a single problem, the villain was great and the reveal at the end making Chiwetel Eijofor the next baddie to face the doctor will be fun. He’s one of the most, if not the most powerful Avenger, considering he can bend time and space so it will be really interesting to see what kind of role he will play in Infinity War.
6.) Iron Man. Director: Jon Favreau. Box Office 585.2 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
The movie that started it all! Can you believe they originally wanted Tom Cruise to play the playboy billionaire. How crazy would have that been? Is the MCU as successful as it is today? I can’t really see Cruise playing Iron Man nearly as well as Downey Jr. in fact I think the execs over at Disney and Marvel probably get down on their hands and knees everyday and thank god he is in this role. No one knew about this character before the movie hit, nor really cared much for Iron Man, but they were certainly talking about him after this movie dropped. I love this movie, I think it’s one of the strongest stand alone comic book movies ever. Its slick, its cool, its got style and it’s just overall really well done. Jeff Bridges as Iron-Monger is so perfect, he was really good in this role, and I think its just been so long since Iron Man came out, that they forget how good of a villain he played. This movie also started the whole “after credits scene” and no one knew that was coming, but to see Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) talk to Tony Stark about the Avengers initiative was a really cool movie moment for everyone. It didn’t make nearly as much money as other MCU flicks, but if this movie wasn’t a hit and wasn’t appreciated and loved by the fans, I don’t think the MCU would be standing today. Honestly one of the most successful films ever, just in terms of what came after it and whats still to come, hats off to Kevin Feige for knowing this road map way before anyone really knew the possibilities of the MCU!
5.) Avengers: Age of Ultron. Director: Joss Whedon. Box Office: 1.405 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Personally I don’t think this movie gets the credit it deserves, because well, its the follow up to arguably the most loved and successful comic book movie of all time. I remember watching the trailer for this over and over again, with the Ultron voice over. Done by the legendary James Spader, who again credit to Marvel was so perfect, his voice was so menacing and it really captured the spirit and the essence of the character. Was the actual follow through of the character that well received, no not really, but I still think Ultron was the best villain in the MCU – so far. There was just so much hype and the expectations were so incredibly high for the follow up to The Avengers – that it was next to impossible to meet all of those expectations. After going back and watching this movie, I really do love it. The Hulkbuster scene is awesome, I loved the introduction of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (still hoping Quicksilver can come back). Joss Whedon was ousted from the MCU after this movie, and I’m not sure why. Thankfully he will be helping Zack Snyder with the upcoming Justice League movie, because if anyone knows how to make a superhero team up movie, its Joss. I saw another rankings list and they had this as like the third worst MCU movie, which for me is just blasphemy. I know some gripes with the movie is the story line and stuff just not adding up, but when it comes to comic book movies and certainly big team ups, that can be really hard to do at times. Clearly it was a success it made over a BILLION dollars, so again this is one movie that I scratch my head at when people tell me they don’t really like it.
4.) Guardians of The Galaxy. Director: James Gunn. Box Office: 773.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
The most lovable group of misfits the MCU has to offer. By far the biggest surprised hit of the bunch. But when you have an incredible soundtrack, amazing cast, the right amount of humour and just a great story, that is a recipe for success. Considering it has a talking tree and raccoon, well I think some people thought this movie would fall flat on its face, that wasn’t the case, in fact, at the time, this was arguably Marvels most well received movie. Even myself, I had a blast sitting in the theatre, I remember laughing my ass off a ton and at the same time really enjoying the action and the characters. I’m a huge Chris Pratt fan, so seeing him in this role seems perfect and again it will be really interesting to see interact with everyone else, because I think he will certainly take a big leadership role in trying to take down Thanos. I think this was the movie that I finally realized that Marvel can make any kind of superhero movie and I will be in the theatre watching it and I know it will be fantastic.
3.) Captain America: Civil War. Director: Anthony & Joe Russo. Box Office: 1.153 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Talk about Avenger on Avenger crime. As a huge fan of the graphic novel, when this was announced by Marvel I was so excited and it didn’t disappoint. Yeah, it couldn’t follow the exact formula as the graphic novel, but overall this is one of the best comic book movies to date. Who side were you on? Did you flip-flop through out the movie like I did? Who are the bad guys in this movie, because the actual villain was maybe the worst in the whole MCU. Helmut Zemo is actually a really cool character from the comics but in Civil War they just really dumbed down his character and he didn’t even put on his signature purple ski mask! They introduced two new characters into the MCU which could be hard to do, considering the amount of people we have in this movie. Black Panther and Spider-Man, both highlights of the movie for me, were so awesome in this and each brought their own sense of favour to the film. Clearly like most people walking away from this movie, Tom Holland as the web-head was the stand out and everyone wanted more Spidey! But the same can be said for Black Panther and with the King of Wakanda getting his own movie next year, which looks incredible by the way, both of these characters were worthy additions to an already stacked roster. The airport fight scene, which takes place during the day! We always get these big battles in the dark and I hate that, was so fun to watch and everyone has their own moment and it was just so well executed, something that could be tough to juggle, because of just how many people were involved. This might be a Captain America movie, but the best part of the movie was Tony’s story arc. Finding out about his parents and how Bucky was responsible for their deaths, makes for one of the best emotional scenes the MCU has to offer. I’m not too sure whats to come with Cap and Iron Man, and trying to put aside their differences, but they will have to when the Mad Titan shows up to Earth.
2.) Captain America: The Winter Solider. Director: Anthony & Joe Russo. Box Office 714.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
I think this is the most serious and grounded MCU movie, and I believe that’s what makes it so successful. I almost think this has the most rewatchability out of any of the MCU movies. The first Captain America was kind of serious, but this movie just felt really personal, just like Civil War did. But this had some much on the line, because you didn’t know how you felt about Bucky, and Cap was trying to figure out how his best friend can now be a bad dude. I think The Winter Solider is such a bad ass character with his metal arm and just his calm and serious presence. He doesn’t need to say much for you to realize he means business. Black Widow is terrific and so is Nick Fury. I say this is the most grounded MCU movie, because it doesn’t really have much “super powers” it’s almost like a spy thriller and you are right there along for the ride. The chase scene on the highway which leads to the encounter of the streets was awesome and fun to watch, and I just really love this movie. You don’t need a boat load of CGI or super heroes to make a great super hero movie. Just a really compelling story and all around great performances. Frank Grillo is so great in this role and this movie also introduced Falcon. Who I have really taken a liking too, and his cameo is Ant-Man is one of the all time greats. It’s funny because you know that can’t be Iron Man, so Marvel is thinking “who can we get for cheap, to be in this movie for 5 minutes?” Answer – Anthony Mackie Bucky is such an interesting character and I can’t wait too see what happens with him going forward, because I’ve now mentioned three times, that I just don’t think Chris Evans will be making it through Infinity War alive. So does that mean Bucky will take up the shield and be the new Captain America? Only time will tell I guess.
Can’t have a photo for the movie and not put in the still of one of the most iconic scenes in comic book movie history. The pan-around of the entire team, standing there, waiting to face their foes gets me every time. Known as the “hero shot” now, it was just something we had never seen before and when it’s tried to be replicated, well it just doesn’t pop quite like this does. What can I say about The Avengers, it was 5 years in the making, it was the first movie of its kind, and in the end it was a gigantic success. We got to see the NYC battle, Loki being Loki, the team coming together, and at the time, the best on screen Hulk. Like without doubt the best on screen Hulk, watching him jump around NYC smashing Chitauri to bits is always a treat. We even get two great Hulk moments, the punching Thor and smashing Loki are huge standouts for the movie. It was just so incredible well done, it is damn near perfect this movie. We also got our first look at Thanos, which for everyone was awesome to see. That’s another thing, it will be 6 years in the making to finally see Thanos in action with Infinity War, and I just pray it lives up to my expectations. I want Thanos to finally kill an Avenger and them not be brought back to life, I want their to finally feel like something is actually at stake. He can’t show up and be defeated in 20 minutes, it’s not fair to us fans. He needs to really come and sorry – fuck shit up. I can’t wait to watch it and I really think it will live up to my expectations, because after writing this, you can never take the MCU for granted. They know exactly what they are doing, so we can all sit back, relax and enjoy Thor: Ragnorok and Black Panther until all hell breaks lose.