15- Ant-Man and the Wasp
I could watch Rudd for days, and it’s his chemistry co-headliner Lilly that forms a strong core to the film. She isn’t in the title to tick a box; this is just as much her film.
The supporting cast are amusing and bring a depth of quality, with even the villains getting in on the humour.
Since watching Ant-Man and the Wasp, I’ve read several other reviews. There is a consensus that this is a light-hearted and fun palette cleanser that isn’t going to rock your world but will entertain you. They’re absolutely right.
Ant-Man’s focus on family sets it apart. Before Age of Ultron the heroes didn’t appear to have family, so this feels much more personal.
You could say the film deals with things on a smaller scale in general! How they’ve managed to make Ants cute, and their loss lamentable, is very impressive.
The bigger MCU connections don’t feel that forced to me and are enjoyable, but once again the villain is side-lined. Come on Marvel, these characters could all be popular and longer lasting if you gave them the attention you gave Loki.
Pena nearly steals the show, but Douglas and Rudd are great together as the old and new Ant-Mans. A visually interesting and amusing movie that opens up a lot of possibilities.
13 – Black Panther
The MCU has a well-recognised villain problem. Mirror images of the hero that are only there to help the on their way to being what we expect. With that in mind I was fully prepared to lump in Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger with the Whiplashes, Yellow Jackets, and Abominations of this world. But he’s much more than that. Like the best villains, he’s got a point, and it’s pretty damn valid one. Disagree with his methodology for sure, but can you say he’s 100% wrong? I’d be surprised if you could. Add in the fact that Jordan has such charisma and presence, and you’ve finally got another great MCU villain.
For all the stunning Afrofuturism on display there are some problems. Popping two guys in dark costumes and then having them duke it out in a dark area with choppy edits does not make for entertaining or easy-to-follow action. Considering other scenes in the films, and director Coogler’s very own Creed, this seems like an odd misstep.
At no point during the film did I feel blown away, but every time I reflect on it there’s a lot to like. Now we finally know something about that dot on the map in Iron Man 2!
12 – Doctor Strange
For the first time I wasn’t filled with excitement going into a Marvel movie. This was due to a very specific fatigue.
However! Mainly due to an extremely lean story bolstered by a series of amusing moments, fitting character questioning and some intensely trippy visuals, Doctor Strange not only managed to liven me up, but also left me leaving the cinema knowing that Marvel can still pull things off when Cap and Iron Man aren’t around.
The aforementioned lean story verges on underdevelopment. I prefer to think of it as treating us with some respect. We can fill in things without having to be told. We’ve seen egotistical characters change before. It doesn’t need to be dragged out.
I had my concerns that Mikkelsen would fall prey to the ‘Marvel villian that isn’t Loki’ curse. He isn’t a top tier bad guy but he isn’t meant to be. Instead he’s a catalyst. For our understanding, for Strange’s transformation, and for some more unexpected character shifts.
A great looking film with humour and action in good measure, Doctor Strange also contains the coolest cape this side of Batman.
11 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
I really struggled to place this one. Like it’s predecessor it has a very different feel to everything else in the MCU. It’s still got the attitude and the music. But we’re more familiar with it this time. Perhaps it’s that familiarity that prevents it from making the same impression.
This time however there is a lot more emotion. With the team fully-formed it was time to add in some real drama, and it does so in spades. Kurt Russell fits the mold of Peter’s Dad fantastically, whilst the additions to the cast fit in seamlessly.
Baby Groot is hilariously cute and the ending could have you in tears. So it’s a damn good film, but it hasn’t had the same impact.
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