It’s not quite the Platonic Ideal of Captain Marvel, but. Well. It’s definitely in my top 5 MCU films.
And it’s not just because of Sam Rockwell. Not… entirely, anyway.
It is definitely problematic that a narcissistic, arrogant man like Stark is so compelling as a character. I think partly it’s his self-awareness that helps this. Also, what I noticed on this viewing – perhaps more than any other time – is just how much of his behaviour in this film is driven by the knowledge that he is, in fact, dying. I don’t think I had fully appreciated that before. I continue to love watching his genius at work, and the fact that he is perfectly willing to take a sledgehammer to walls in order to build – what? a synchrotron?
I continue to like Pepper. I like that the development of her character makes sense – also driven by a desire for getting things right, at heart – and that she was perfectly capable of cutting off from Tony when it was clear that he was going in a bad direction. And then there’s Rhodes – now played by Don Cheadle, and maybe it’s just because he’s been Rhodes for longer than Howard had the chance but Cheadle really IS Rhodes for me. There’s something that he brings to the character – understated determination and resilience, and humour, that I really love.
Far, far more than Obadiah, the villains really make this film. I do not love Mickey Rourke as an actor, but as Vanko here he is magnificent (“I vant. My boid”.) It’s just such an off-the-wall character – out of proportion, an exaggerated and distorted vision of Stark himself, as shown by Vanko making an arc reactor in his own version of a cave – and all of his actions are outrageous. He’s so much fun to watch. And then there’s Justin Hammer. Truly, any opportunity to watch Sam Rockwell cut a dance move is all right by me. Everything about Hammer’s character is such a spectacular cringe: he wants to be the exaggerated vision of Stark and he just. Never. Will. Be. Calling Stark Anthony! Trying to sleep with a woman who slept with Stark! Copying his weapons! Oh Hammer. You’re terrible.
Another thing that makes this film is the soundtrack. I am not the biggest AC/DC fan, but it works in this context. As with Captain Marvel, all of this comes together with a fact-paced narrative with an appropriate number of explosions, chases and well-choreographed fight scenes to make a really great film.
This makes it sound like I’m mostly here for the characters, but that’s not true: the story is great! Genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist goes on self-discovery trip that nearly destroys the people around him and is nearly brought low by psychotic Russian genius-poor-convict-revengenut!
Also, Scarlett Johannsen in some of the most ridiculous outfits a woman has been compelled to wear while pretending to be “from Legal” or while being an assassin. Plus a cold, tired, take-no-shit Fury, who really can’t be having with Stark’s nonsense.
I am so ready for Avengers. I don’t mind watching Thor first, but… I am so ready for Avengers.
I guess it would be foolish to call any movie perfect, but Captain Marvel comes pretty close to the Platonic Ideal for me.
Brie Larson is fantastic: has the comedy timing when required, serious and distressed and determined when required… I read about how she went up with female fighter pilots to get a sense of what it was like being in the cockpit, which is awesome. And I love the character of Vers/Carol: always committed to what’s right but not so fanatical that she can’t accept when her truth is challenged. An excellent friend; balancing compassion and ruthlessness (looking at you, Yonn Rogg); her persistence as a child and young woman make me so happy. Also, THAT COMMENT to Yonn Rogg at the end makes me SO HAPPY every time.
I adore that this film has no romance. Don’t get me wrong: I am totally here for romance in my stories; ask me why I like Empire Strikes Back so much. But so often when the focus of a story is a woman, romance gets shoehorned in as if audiences can’t cope with a woman not having men fall over her, or her over men (and let’s be honest, it’s usually hetero). So it’s refreshing to have a female hero with male and female friends, but no hint of romance.
The friends! Maria Rambeau is awesome – the right mix of courage and guts with appropriate trepidation (going into space in a vehicle not designed for it…) – what a great best friend; just falls back into the friendship after six years of anger and grief. Monica is also cool and I look forward to seeing her as a hero in her own right. And Fury… well. Fury. I adore that we got a younger Fury in this film, to see where he was before the Avengers Project really blew up in his face. And maybe it’s a bit tacky but I love the jokes about his eye throughout the film.
Then there’s Ben Mendelsohn. MENDO. Playing brilliantly on the expectation that he plays a villain – inspired casting! – I think the writers did a really great job with the character of Talos, and Mendo fulfils it wonderfully. Why would I want to turn into a filing cabinet?
AND Annette Bening! Such a delightful cameo; I know it mucks with the comic canon to have her as Mar Vel but ask me how much I care.
The mid-90s setting is hilarious for someone of my age; the Blockbuster always sets me to reminiscing about getting 5 weeklies for $10, and the awesome responsibility of getting an overnight rental. The flannel, the NIN tshirt, the waiting for the modem to connect… and of course, the music. What a soundtrack. I’d forgotten about Elastica and “Connection” before seeing this; back in heavy rotation now. Aside from Guardians, this makes the best use of music of any MCU film.
All of the characters and the setting work together with a really great narrative. The contrast between the high-tech Hala and what looks like a very low-tech Earth is pretty funny; the gradual reveal of Carol’s past and the truth about the Kree is paced beautifully; there are a good number of chases, well-choreographed fight scenes, and explosions. Like I said: Platonic Ideal for me.
Oh, and I forgot Goose. Sorry Goose. Who’s a good pussy cat, eh?
We got Disney+; we decided to rewatch the MCU; we decided (after watching Iron Man) to watch in internal chronological order.
Thus, we went back to Captain America: The First Avenger.
This is… not my favourite MCU. It’s fine. It’s a solid war film. And that’s what this is: a WW2 film. It’s Where Eagles Dare without Richard Burton, but with weird ray-guns and a disfigured villain (because that’s such a novel idea; see: every James Bond film ever).
This is actually one of the positives about the MCU. The Powers That Be haven’t insisted that every film have exactly the same feel; Iron Man and this film are very different. And so they should be! They’re telling different stories, and Rogers and Stark are very different men, and so on.
The film is: little guy doesn’t like bullies, undergoes radical transformation, becomes a ripped Chris Evans… manages to stay the virtuous little guy in a buff bod, and punches villains. Don’t get me wrong, I do think Chris Evans is great in this role; as an Australian I can say that he seems to fill a very particular idea of American masculinity (which, ahem, given the period of this film, is remarkably like the Nazi version of Aryan…).
I love Stanley Tucci in the minimal time he’s given; I would watch Tommy Lee Jones in basically anything (fight me if you don’t like Space Cowboys); Hayley Atwell is excellent, of course. And Sebastian Stan is fun, and it does make me excited about re-watching the Winter Soldier stuff. Hugo Weaving is a marvellous scenery-chewing villain, and Toby Jones is also fantastic.
Having seen the rest of the films, this feels like such a prequel in many ways. It sets up Cap’s personality – his quirks, his doggedness, his reasons for the at times holier-than-thou attitudes that so pisses off Stark; and of course, the dedication to Bucky. Which is integral to all that is to come, and the depths of which I had probably forgotten when I watched Winter Soldier last time.
I didn’t love this film, particularly, but it does make me excited for what’s to come.
We’re however far into lockdown 2.
We have however long left until things even begin to be ‘normal’.
And so we have caved. We have subscribed to Disney+. Partly for The Mandalorian… partly for the MCU.
And so, we have begun The Epic Rewatch Of The Entire MCU (movies only).
(We love Agents of SHIELD and look forward to catching up on the season/s we haven’t seen yet, but I have zero intention of rewatching the whole lot. Also, I watched the first couple of eps of Agent Carter, and it just didn’t work for me.)
Initially, we planned to go on production order, and so:
We’ve probably seen this three or four times, I guess? Of the individual-focused films, Iron Man would have to be my favourite set. I haven’t seen this in a while and I did wonder whether it had aged.
The answer: nope.
Downey Jr is still marvellous to watch as Tony. Tony is an unpleasant, arrogant, wilful, privileged, and selfish man, who actually begins to change through the movie. The fact that he is also a mechanical and theoretical genius makes his other traits more frustrating, for me – but yes, I still like him overall. Yes, this is a problem. I really liked the cave-construction part of the film, and the fact that it’s clear Tony is no Elon Musk; he can actually make stuff. He’s a Tesla rather than an Edison; a Robert Hooke or Robert Boyle. In fact one thing I really like is the somewhat-reality of the iterative nature of making the suit: that it’s not perfect, needs refining, etc. (And looking forward, the way that this progresses for Tony’s character is truly fascinating.)
Everyone else in the film is also great. Jeff Bridges is outrageous as Obadiah; Terrence Howard is fine as the long-suffering Rhodes; yes, I like Paltrow as Pepper, too. The pacing works, the soundtrack is infectious, the graphics still look fine to my eyes (which may be slightly rosily-hued, who can say). It was delightful to see people who carry on through the whole set – especially Coulson, of course, and Fury in the end-of-credits scene; and Iron Man’s musical motif, too.
Overall, this is a film that really stand up.
… as foreshadowed, after we watched this, we reconsidered our viewing order. We’ve decided to go internal chronology, which means we go back to The First Avenger and Captain Marvel next, rather than moving straight to Iron Man 2. So that will be fun.
The Sum of All Fears * Sherlock Holmes (movie)* Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows * Like Water for Chocolate * Logan * Iris * Robin Hood (2010) * Hidden Figures * Last Cab to Darwin * Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise * Moana * Doctor Strange * For the Love of Spock * Wonder Woman * The Mummy (2017) * The Fate of the Furious * The Zookeeper’s Wife * Kong: Skull Island * Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them * Searching for Sugarman * The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies * Thor: Ragnarok * The Last Jedi *
The Italian Job (2003) * Arrival * The Expendables 2 * Gone in Sixty Seconds * Master and Commander * Gladiator * Spy Game * The Abyss * The Martian * Under Siege * Escape Plan * Arrival (yes, again) * Rogue One * Mad Max: Fury Road * Ghostbusters (2016) * Sahara * The Mummy * Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation * Rogue One (yes, again) * Wonder Woman * Ocean’s Eleven * Iron Man * Iron Man 2 * Iron Man 3 * Grease 2 * The Poseidon Adventure * The Towering Inferno * Thor * Thor: The Dark World * Men in Black * Men in Black II * Men in Black III * Jurassic Park * Charlie’s Angels * The Dark Knight Rises * Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle * Ocean’s 11 * Ocean’s 12 * Ocean’s 13 * Star Wars: A New Hope * The Empire Strikes Back * Attack of the Clones * Revenge of the Sith * The Force Awakens * Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban * Interstellar
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Netflix 2016) * Ascension * A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix) * Arq * Person of Interest (season 2) * Person of Interest (season 3) * Person of Interest (season 4) * Chef’s Table (season 1) * Person of Interest (season 5) * The Blacklist (season 1) * The Blacklist (season 2) * Agents of SHIELD (season whatever we’re up to) * The Blacklist (season 3) * Orphan Black (season 5) * The Good Place (season 1) * The Blacklist (season 4) * Wynonna Earp (season 1) * The Expanse (season 2) * Glitch (season 2) * Doctor Who (season what, ten?) * Cake Master *
Some Doctor Who bits and pieces.
We have definitely amused ourselves in doing this particular set of reviews. It was fascinating to see the Scotts’ style over a few (um, four) decades.
A: not one I’ll rewatch endlessly, but beautifully constructed.
Ridley – Blade Runner (1982)
A: I will never ever think this is as good a film as all those 80s boys think it is. 30 min of awesome flying; the rest is stupid love story.
Ridley – Gladiator (2000)
Ridley – Robin Hood (2010)
A: as above.
The final in our Great Scott! reviewing adventure.
A: Basically this is our reward for getting through the others. We saw it twice in the cinema…
J: Mars has never been rendered more beautifully.
A: or realistically. I love that this is not the first mission, but well into the history of Martian exploration.
I also love the banter. And that the Commander is definite in her commitment to safety because THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE.
J: If this was really a NASA mission that whole conversation about aborting or not would not happen.
A: I think being on a different planet is going to have an impact on attitudes to command structures.
I love the cinematography of the storm.
J: Yup, it does a really good job of intense and frenetic without being shaky cam or hard to watch.
A: There’s a touch of the ‘do we sacrifice everything for one man’ but I like the grim reality of … no, of course you don’t. Continue reading →
Getting through Great Scott!
A: And so we come to the only film on our list that neither of us has seen. This promises to be interesting. I have an abiding fascination with Robin Hood: both visually (I will quote the animated version at you; I don’t care if you disapprove of my adolescent love of the Costner version) and academically (Stephen Knight’s history is awesome). So… I’m a bit scared.
J: In ye olde times …
A: Yikes look at that font.
So, 12th century eh. Blanchett already being forceful, with a bow? I’m pleased. A flaming arrow!
J: More ye olde times …
A: Robin Longstride, eh? That’s different. But it’s still Richard not-so-lion-heart’s time. AND we’re actually on crusade with Rusty! (wait, not crusade – this is France, surely, with Richard more interested in running French bits than his English territory)
J: So basically it’s Gladiator … gosh I hope it’s not as slow. I wonder if they will show the archer’s paradox… slow motions arrows n all. Continue reading →
Molly * Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo * X-Files (reboot) * Sonic Highways * Once Upon A Time (season 1) * The Night Manager * Carmilla (season 2) * The Expanse (season 1) * Agents of SHIELD (season 3) * Orphan Black (season 4) * Trepalium * Revolution School * Games of Thrones (season 4) * Game of Thrones (season 5) * Games of Thrones (season 6) * The Americans (season 1) * The Americans (season 2) * The Americans (season 3) * The Durrells * Once Upon A Time (season 2) * Once Upon a Time (season 3) * Person of Interest (season 1) * Carmilla (season 3) *
Fringe (season 2) * Fringe (season 3) * Fringe (season 4) * Pride and Prejudice (BBC) * Jericho (season 1 and 2)
Dallas Buyers Club * San Andreas * State of Affairs * Captain America: Civil War * Deadpool * The Hollow Crown (Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, Henry V) * Ghostbusters 2016 * Frozen (um, without most of the singing) * Batman v Superman * Sherpa * Pride and Prejudice and Zombies * The Art of Flight * X-Men: Apocalypse * John Carter * The Huntsman: Winter’s War * Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children * The Congress * Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy * Only Lovers Left Alive * Lover Come Back * Underworld: Awakening * Jason Bourne * Suicide Squad * Star Trek Beyond * Independence Day: Resurgence * Rogue One *
Mad Max: Fury Road * Sahara * Aliens * Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade * Chronicles of Riddick * The Fifth Element * The Avengers * Ghostbusters (original) * The Edge of Tomorrow * Thor: The Dark World * Captain America: The Winter Soldier * Independence Day * Alien * Top Gun * Beverley Hills Cop * Beverley Hills Cop II * It Might Get Loud * Bridge of Spies * Crimson Tide * Stargate (the movie) * The Edge of Tomorrow * Underworld * Underworld Evolution * Blade Runner * Mr and Mrs Smith * Enemy of the State * Pacific Rim * RED
Enemy of the State
J: Straight into the action – with the same credits sound effect as Top Gun.
A: I haven’t seen this in ages… is it pre-2001? Yes, 1998. Because whoa, the whole thing about spying on American citizens… feeling very apropos.
J: Oh the poor Goldie.
A: Given that I’m also currently obsessed with Person of Interest, this is feeling a bit surreal. Urgh surveillance state.
Watching the credits and wait what? Jack Black is in this?? I had forgotten that!
Lisa Bonet, you are awesome. Will Smith, you look sharp as a lawyer, but I’m a bit worried about the dealings you two appear to be having.
Video player! And a mafioso… uh, mob… in a kitchen. Seems a bit old-fashioned frankly. Oh and now we have a mini video cassette player in the woods. Naw, 90s.
J: Love a good ops center… ‘Call it a training Op’ …. Duh …. Continue reading →