Spider-Man: Far From Home

After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker goes on a school trip to Europe with his friends, only to be recruited by Nick Fury to take on the Spider-Man mantle once again and team up with interdimensional hero Mysterio to fight new threats known as the Elementals.

Spider-Man: Far From Home marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and had a lot of expectations to fill consider it not only has to follow the grand phenomenon that was Endgame but also follow up on the story of Spider-Man: Homecoming and make a story that still feels new and exciting. Well not only does Spider-Man: Far From Home live up to the expectations for a good Homecoming sequel but it also introduces new concepts and unexpected turns even after 23 Marvel films, proving that they haven’t yet lost their steam. Tom Holland still carries the film wonderfully and continues to convince me that he’s the best Spider-Man yet. Peter is now trying to hold onto his youth and is afraid to accept new and bigger responsibilites after losing an important figure in his life. Peter must learn to mature and step up throughout the film which makes for a strong arc in the film. Also great is his chemistry with Zendaya, who is also really great in her role as MJ, who we didn’t see enough of in Homecoming but is a leading part here. Watching their connection blossom throughout the film is really sweet and was done well by the writers and actors. Also really fun parts of the film are Jacob Batalon as Peter’s hysterical best friend Ned, and Jon Favreau as Tony Stark’s assistant Happy who is still played with plenty of charm, and he and Peter once again have great scenes together.

What director Jon Watts is once again able to do with this sequel is maintain that “high school movie” tone with Peter facing issues like bullies, crushes, etc., but Watts also makes sure to bring us a high-stakes superhero movie with threats and responsibilites that Peter must face as Spider-Man. He keeps the tone light and adds plenty of humor as we’re used to seeing from Marvel, and keeps the signature Marvel hero, villain, and conflict tropes. However, one thing I was underwhelemed by was the visual look of the film. Marvel has always impressed me with the production design, cienamtography, and visuals in their films, espeically lately with the gorgeous Captain Marvel and Avengers movies, but here the movie feels very boringly shot and there is no color scheme or visual style that will keep your eyes in awe like the past Marvel movies this year have. The battles often feel well-realized but the green screen also sometimes doesn’t blend in and the design for the Elementals villains as well as the final battle are also less impressive visually. Also, the fact that Sony oversees these Spider-Man MCU films while Disney controls all the others leads to some questionable or unexplained references to the bigger universe, which are sometimes welcome but sometimes a bit much or raise unneeded questions rather than serve as world-building. While Homecoming had fun small appearances from Iron Man and Captain America, here some of the connections to the rest of the MCU feel like Sony trying to constantly remind the world that their property is part of Disney’s Marvel universe as well. Other than the obvious impact Infinity War and Endgame have on the main character, some of this world-building raises more questions than it needs to and possibly tampers with the consistency Disney has been keeping so smoothly through its MCU films. I feel like there were also some underdeveloped plot points throughout the film, and they could have extended the runtime by only 5 minutes to help establish these more, like we don’t see much of how the world is readjusting after Thanos’ actions shook the universe, and we also hear peoople repeadetly mention a large character from Endgame but I think we needed a bit more about how Peter is affected by that character’s loss. Also, the timing of the release was way too soon (only 2 months) after Endgame, which was the big conclusion to many years of MCU films — so why not wait a bit longer and let us take in the first big chapter instead of diving right into the next one? Hopefully this won’t undermine the effect of Endgame as a finale as time goes by, because both these films are still great on their own. What Spider-Man: Far From Home does best, however, is remind us why we love this incarnation of the character and why he resonates with audiences, as well as provide new challenges and growth for the character as well deliver on the tone of a film that has to feel large-scaled on small-sclaed at the same time.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a satisfying sequel that ups the scale and stakes for Spidey with more locations and more cdhallenging foes than before, even though it’s visually dull compared to the other big Marvel movies this year, and the pacing could’ve been slightly improved. However, the performances, storyline, and humor all deliver as expected and there’s an awesome mid-credits scene that changes the game for the future of Spider-Man.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

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After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker returns to New York and, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.

After 6 films and 3 franchises, Spider-Man has finally gotten the big-screen treatment he and fans deserved, in the hands of Marvel Studios. Spidey is now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as he also appeared last year in Civil War, and Tom Holland easily portrays the best incarnation of him yet. This time, Parker is 15 and still in high school, and his youth  and sense of adventure and humor brings so much fun to the film. I’m not a big fan of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and the Amazing Spider-Man films left us all wanting more, but Homecoming is the perfect big screen treatment for the character. It’s got all the spirit, humor, and entertainment you would expect from a film like this. Every scene in this movie is tons of fun to watch and the action is very exciting as well. The cast, which includes Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., and many other familiar faces, is really well balanced and every cast member gives it their all. Downey’s presence is delightful, and thankfully doesn’t overstay his welcome yet still has some memorable moments. Keaton gives a good performance like always, and was a great choice to play the villain of the Vulture, but his character’s writing and presence are weak, which is disappointing because he is the main villain of the film. However, his character has a few good moments fighting Spider-Man.

One thing that I have noticed in recent superhero films, most notably Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is that, unlike most superhero films, that film wasn’t just driven by its action sequences and visual effects. That movie was driven by its characters and the script, as well as the emotion, development. and interactions between the characters. Marvel also gave me this sense with Logan, and here, it’s pretty clear that was the main focus as well. There is plenty of terrific action here, but the core of the film is the friendship between Peter and his best friend Ned, the mentorship he receives from Tony Stark, his crush for a girl named Liz, and his connection with his Aunt May. We see Peter’s internal conflicts as he’s facing issues every high school student goes through, but also his dedication to protecting New York and those he cares about. This film feels more human and fresh than the rest of the Spider-Man movies, and that’s why I was able to enjoy it so much. There’s also tons of Marvel references and easter eggs for fans of Spidey and the MCU, as well as some cameos from familiar faces, and these appearances include more than just Stan Lee. Spider-Man: Homecoming somewhat still follows the established MCU formula, but as I was watching it, I wasn’t reminded about the formula too much, and remember that this is not an origin story, allowing the plot to move more freely and feel less restrained. Michael Giacchino’s score is surprisingly fun and has some nods to other Spider-Man incarnations, but wasn’t anything out of the ordinary or extremely memorable. Director Jon Watts has never directed anything beyond a very low-budget indie, and he was able to handle the transition to an incredibly expensive and anticipated superhero blockbuster well. He was able to direct action, character interactions, and conflict very well, and I had an absolute blast watching another awesome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is anything but disappointing. The cast, writing, directing, and characters are very enjoyable and superbly executed. The action, humor, and story will definitely entertain audiences of all ages, especially fans of the source material. This is definitely the perfect Spidey film to be made today and released to this generation, and a great way to kick off the month.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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It’s been three years since Guardians of the Galaxy was released and became a huge hit for Marvel, and finally the Guardians have returned to the big screen in Vol. 2. This time, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his true parentage. Thankfully, James Gunn knows how to make a standout superhero film for the second time. Vol. 2 doesn’t lose the charm, heart, and humor that made the first one so great. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel are all still so brilliant and hilarious as the dysfunctional family who must save the galaxy for the second time. There’s something so refreshing about their characters that brings a smile to my face. Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, and Karen Gillan also return from the first film, and their characters are explored much more interestingly this time. I was also impressed by newcomer Pom Klementieff as Mantis, a charming new member of the Guardians.

With a great visual style, script, and action sequences, James Gunn shows he can make a Marvel film that’s special and heartfelt. Guardians Vol. 2 feels somewhat distinct from the classic MCU formula, and isn’t too caught up with setting up a universe, but with bringing the best out of its characters and visuals. If you loved Awesome Mix Vol. 1, prepare for another great soundtrack in Awesome Mix Vol. 2, which includes some great songs that are used very well in the film. It’s been a while since the first film came out, and the first one felt so fresh and new when it was released, but by now the visuals and humorous style don’t feel as new and special as they did back then, but I can’t really blame the film for that. There are a few characters that are useless and I wish did more, and there’s a twist thrown in that was foreshadowed a little too much, but it feels different than what Marvel has done before. However, Gunn’s creative style makes this movie as entertaining and awesome as it should be. He knows how to make a great soundtrack and shoot action sequences very well, and he even pays homage to Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in a certain scene. Also, stay during the credits for not one, but five post-credit scenes after the film.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is another great Marvel feature with a terrific cast, an excellent soundtrack, great action and visuals, and a script that doesn’t feel as well-realized and fresh as the first film, but this movie still demonstrates James Gunn’s great talent when it comes to making huge blockbusters, and leaves you excited for Vol. 3.

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X-Men: Apocalypse

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In the conclusion to the X-Men trilogy that begun with 2011’s First Class, an ancient threat resurfaces and the X-Men must reteam to prevent him from causing global extinction.

X-Men: Apocalypse tries its best to be the epic third installment we’ve been waiting for, but instead its story is in all the wrong places. There are times when the wrong characters get more screen time than the others, and storylines should be focused on more than others were. The first half of the film was unimpressive and all over the place. The events of the previous film feel treated too much like the way Man of Steel was treated in Batman v Superman and Age of Ultron in Captain America: Civil War. Almost every scene within the first hour feels very bland, and nothing flows well or feels in place. Apocalypse, in my opinion, was a terrible villain. His voice is weirdly edited, his motive is weak (not that he even has one), and his background is not written well, with everything about his origin feeling ridiculous and too forced. Oscar Isaac’s performance of the character was very disappointing, and this villain did not appeal on screen at all. Some characters aren’t treated as well as they should have been. Some characters I wanted more from, like Storm and Angel, only have a few lines and don’t do very much. James McAvoy is still a great Professor X but his character does not get the time that he needs. Jennifer Lawrence delivers a good performance as Mystique, but sometimes her character’s writing falls flat.

I was surprised by how pleasantly the movie warmed up towards the second half. The buildup of the plot is ultimately interesting, with some of the character development later on in the movie actually working. Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner were my favorites of the newcomers to the saga. Sheridan delivers with his heart, and Cyclops ends up working as a teenage mutant character. Turner also gives it her all, bringing lots of depth and spirit to her character. This version of Jean Grey works very well because within her character’s soul, she, too, is just a lost teen who is learning to embrace her true self. Michael Fassbender is once again a fantastic Magneto, and even though his character lacks the focused development he needed in this movie, there is a scene in this movie where the character’s rage works perfectly, even though everything else about that scene does not. We all know who steals the show here once again. Yes, Evan Peters is back as Quicksilver, and he simply rocks! If you loved his memorable scene from Days of Future Past, get ready for another show-stopping sequence from him that nearly tops his previous one. He has lots of hilarious moments and is even given some relevance. A special someone also has a short appearance in the movie, and not just Stan Lee. The final battle is insanely huge and sometimes awesome, as there are some things that work and others that don’t. However, a lot of the action is quite entertaining, so you will most likely enjoy this movie if you are a fan of action movies. The ending is able to conclude the trilogy well, but does not make up for the movie’s many flaws.

X-Men: Apocalypse may not let down all action and superhero fans, but i was left quite disappointed. Although the second half of the movie is a lot better than the first, the movie still feels very unfocused and often unimpressive, but still delivers with some of its characters and its few action sequences.

Official poster shows The X-Men Team with Professor X sitting on his famous wheelchair, together with the Horsemen and the film's titular enemy Apocalypse behind them with a big close-up over his head and face, with nuclear missiles flying into the air, and the film's title, credits, billing and release date below them and the film's slogan "Only The Strong Will Survive" above.

Fantastic Four (2015)

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Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

Fantastic Four brings the 4 heroes back to the big screen. For good? Unfortunately not. The movie was only made so that Fox could keep the rights to the characters. And despite the studio also making the film to re-imagine the franchise for a new decade, no good effort comes out of this movie. The  script is lousy, cliche, and couldn’t be more predictable. It’s everything we’ve seen before, and nothing new came out of it. The directing isn’t good either, and although director Josh Trank apparently had a much better version of the movie before its release, Fox interfered and forced him to re-shoot. The result is something that couldn’t be more cliche, and like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, was interfered massively by its studio, resulting in the movie being worse than the director’s original idea. I am tired of this happening in post-productions, especially with high-budget films. I don’t believe a studio is there to avert a movie from the director’s vision, is the director is the most important person behind the camera of a movie.

The cast members are all horrendous. They are not interesting to watch on screen, as they do not bring their characters to life well. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell all deliver boring performances and aren’t special at all. Sure, they are great actors in other movies, but they didn’t work well with the script in this movie, especially because they didn’t deliver their lines well. Toby Kebbell gives a decent approach at first, but by the time his character becomes a villain, starts saying villain-y things and doing villain-y stuff, he isn’t interesting, either. Like the rest of the cast, Reg E. Cathey and Tim Blake Nelson are extremely boring, as two very cliche and predictable supporting characters.

Like I was saying earlier, everything about the story is extremely cliche, from the themes about family to the opening story about curious children wanting to solve the mysteries of science. There wasn’t a single bit of it I didn’t find to be familiar, just like my first impression of the movie when the first trailer was released back in February. The movie’s pacing is actually alright. It takes its time at first, but later it spends 40 minutes trying to convey the same thing over and over again, and then it ends way too early. It should have been at least 20 minutes longer, although no one would want to sit through 20 more minutes of utter garbage. By the end of the movie, the film’s approach is so awful. The ending is very weak, and they way they try to set it up for a sequel is in the most cliche and frustrating way possible, ti the point that I hope the sequel is scratched along with plans for a shared universe with the X-Men. I can’t yet decide what’s worse: this, or the dreadful 2005 Fantastic Four movie.

Unsurprisingly, Fantastic Four doesn’t satisfyingly bring the characters to the big screen, and more than that, it makes us want them to leave the screen. It’s time to put this franchise to rest.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

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When Tony Stark jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as they battle to save the planet from destruction at the hands of the villainous Ultron.

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits you with everything you expect from a blockbuster superhero movie. The cast are all lovable, not to mention their high sense of humor. I felt that the most amazing job came from James Spader, who uses only voice to fantastically portray the menacing A.I. trying to bring “peace” to the world by replacing humanity with robots as the dominant species on the face of the Earth. Ultron is the best Marvel villain yet, as he is unpredictable, and even feels human in the flesh. Newcomers Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen do a decent job. They don’t play a huge role in the film, and I was slightly disappointed by them, as I expected more from them. Another thing I liked about the cast is that each Avenger is humanized, and given a reason to care for. For example, Hawkeye in no longer “that cool guy with the bow and arrow”, he now also feels to the audience like a real person, with a family and a reason to fight. All the main actors are at their best, and I love the new character of Vision, I can’t wait to see what the filmmakers do with him next.

Now, about behind the camera. I felt that writer/director Joss Whedon put such great effort into the film, from it’s cinematography, its stunning visual effects, its boldly hilarious script, and its fantastic cast, to its brilliant storyline. Unfortunately, Whedon won’t be returning to direct the third and fourth Avengers films, but this is definitely a milestone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Recently, there have been two concepts constantly being used brilliantly (and in various ways) in contemporary sci-fi film: Time Travel and Artificial Intelligence. Last year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past showed us the best of modern time travel (not as a film, but as the concept being used in the movie), Avengers: AOU does exactly that with A.I. The ending is a great setup to Phase Three. I can’t wait to see what Marvel has for us next!

Overall, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a must-go for all fans of Marvel’s work! It has a stellar cast, a great sense of humor, and is a very entertaining time at the movies!

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Big Hero 6

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Big Hero 6 is the latest movie from Disney animation. It follows a boy named Hiro Hamada, who lives in the city of San Fransokyo, who teams up with his huggable robot Baymax and 4 other people to defeat a supervillain who is using Hiro’s technology to take over the city.

I saw this movie today, and it surprised me. It turned out to be a very fun movie. The humor was smart and very well written. Some of the supporting characters were stupid. Baymax is definitely the highlight of the movie. He is extremely likable, he and Hiro have good chemistry, and he is willing to do anything for Hiro. Some parts in this movie were also very touching, including the relationship between Hiro and his older brother Tadashi, which tragically ends after Tadashi is killed in a freak explosion. The animation in this film is very well done. But the movie felt way too short, and could have been a bit longer. I thought the villain would be weak, but he actually had a purpose and a backstory. At parts it feels cliche and predictable like any other animated movies, but it was also unique in its own way. I thought it was a smart movie but the end was predictable, because there is that same type of ending in almost every animated film nowadays, but Disney still did a good job with this film. But I felt that in an aspect Baymax was a weak character. Of course he had a lot of screen time and was very likable, nothing really revolved around him. None of this stuff, like this villain trying to get revenge on someone else, or Tadashi getting killed, had to do with Baymax. Baymax just came in and eventually became Hiro’s best friend.

But overall Big Hero 6 is a fun animated movie that is a good time for the whole family. I think it would be cool if they made a sequel or even a franchise out of this, but they don’t have to. It would be fine as a stand-alone movie. Big Hero 6 proves that Disney can make great movies without the Pixar brand. But honestly, I’d still prefer Pixar’s movies, since most of them are obviously better, but if you want a movie to see with your family, this would be a good choice.

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