marvel

Review: Captain Marvel (Carson’s View)

Captain Marvel has finally joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe!  Brie Larson headlines as Carol Danvers in this historical debut.  Brie is a great fit to play Captain Marvel, but she is only scratching the surface of the character in this film.  Largely in part to the relatively inexperienced directors who somehow convinced Marvel Studios they were ready for a movie of this magnitude.  They weren’t, and it shows.

As a fan of comic books and Captain Marvel, I had been looking forward to this movie for a long time (even before the pager).  I knew there was a need to do some adjusting from the source material going into the movie.  Carol Danvers has such a complex and convoluted backstory that there is no way to do it justice in under 10 hours. The simplification of the origin story was necessary, but not some of the changes to fit the social narrative of this movie.  Mainly everything to do with Annette Bening needs to be omitted and changed back to their original script.  I am sure Annette is a very nice lady, but she does not belong in this movie in any capacity.

Captain Marvel needed to show why Carol Danvers is a complete bad-ass.  It needed to let Brie Larson be that bad-ass.  The action scenes were too confined, few and far between, and hard to tell what was going on.  Captain Marvel has such a grand power-set that having her fight in a tiny room truly limits how awesome she can be.  The emotional core of this movie also misfires as attention on young Carol should have been front and center to give more weight and motivation. These two directors shoulder the blame on what should have been an epic introduction.  An incredible actress like Brie in the hands of the Russos has limitless potential.  Avengers: End Game will be her true introduction into the MCU.

Review: Captain Marvel (Garrett’s View)

A solid entry, somewhat cookie cutter entry into the Marvel cinematic universe with strong performances that make it a cut above most other Marvel origin stories.

Episode 83: Captain Marvel

Garrett and Carson are flerken excited to talk about Captain Marvel.

Episode 75: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Garrett and Carson swing by to talk about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Carson’s View)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is truly something special. It is innovative, clever, funny, and extremely entertaining. This movie does so many things right, that pointing out anything that it could improve seems petty. Spider-Verse hits the nail on the head. It is a Spider-Man movie that both fanboys will be proud of and newcomers will enjoy.

Disclaimer: I am a huge Spider-Man fan. I grew up reading the comics and watching the cartoons. I have seen and forced myself to enjoy each movie that has been made to date. Even though deep down I was disappointed in the casting, execution, and unnecessary changes to Spider-Man lore. Then finally, we got to Tom Holland (who is a fantastic choice as the web-slinger) in Homecoming which is a worthy installment into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I felt very satisfied with the current interpretation of Spider-Man that we have. I thought Spider-Verse would be a fun “aside” story. A way to introduce kids to all the Spider-People Marvel has to offer to see if anything sticks. But that ultimately it would be a forgettable experience. I was very wrong.

From the get-go Into the Spider-Verse hits you with an unexpected style. Even after seeing the trailers, I was not expecting to be fully immersed in a visual masterpiece. It was a comic book come to life, and I say that with the highest praise. The music is done beautifully throughout and cannot be ignored. Still, I have not yet reached the peak of my admiration.

That goes to the storytelling. It made me so happy to see Spider-Verse tell each character’s background “comic book accurately.” It also did so in a manner that took no longer than 10 seconds each. Live-Action movies should take note that it can be done without boring the audience with origin stories that monopolize the entire first hour and a half. Spider-Verse was able to stay true to the comics, but still tell a new story of it’s own.

Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Garrett’s View)

The world of animation is where Spider-Man truly belongs. Into the Spider-Verse is unquestionably the best Spider-Man film to date and is the best animated film of 2018. And amazingly enough, should be in the discussion for best superhero film of all time.

Review: Venom (Garrett’s View)

Leading up to the theatrical release, everything about Venom was on a downward trajectory. The buzz peaked early with the announcement of Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom. But then came the disappointing trailers, the PG-13 rating, and comments from those involved that there would be no ties to the existing Marvel universe. Quickly, Venom went from feeling like the dark, villainous, anti-hero of fanboy’s dreams to “uh oh is this Spider-Man 3?” level worries. No matter where you fell on that hype spectrum, it was clear that Venom was going to live and die on the back of Tom Hardy.

Credit to Hardy, it is clear that he is doing all he can to single-handedly carry the film. But even he cannot overcome a miserably boring and generic character introduction that runs the first 20 minutes of the movie (18 minutes too long). It takes half of the movie to get to the meeting of Hardy’s Brock and the symbiote Venom. Not surprisingly, this is the first time the film is able to have any sort of decent action or fun. The nature of the relationship between Venom and Brock allows Hardy to really ham things up in a Nic Cage over-the-top fashion — but in a good way. It takes too long for the host/parasite duo to hit its stride, but when it does, the back-and-forth dialog between the two characters feels like a solid odd couple/buddy cop pairing. In the hands of a lesser actor, this lone bright spot may not have existed.

Outside of Hardy’s performance, things are quite messy. Riz Ahmed is neither scary nor sinister as the main villain. Michelle Williams seems wholly disinterested and unsure of what her character’s purpose is (I don’t blame her for either). Every single character’s motivations are flimsy. The explanations of Venom and the other symbiotes’ origins opens far more plot holes than it does answer questions. Lastly, the CGI effects top out at average but bottom out at terrible in a few key sequences.

Venom is a movie that is in the right place, but the wrong time. It feels cut from the same mold as cheesy 90’s entries such as Darkman and Spawn. Without a doubt, it would have fit perfectly in the mediocre early 2000’s era of Raimi’s Spider-Man and Singer’s X-Men. But we are in the age of the Marvel cinematic universe and cheesy mediocrity is not what audiences have come to expect from comic book movies. Especially those with any sort of Marvel label.

Episode 61: Venom

Garrett and Carson hope Venom is the antidote to Sony’s comic book movie poison.

Review: Venom (Carson’s View)

Before walking into Venom, you must remember that while this is a Marvel movie it is not a Marvel Studios movie. This was made by Sony. Sony has struggled mightily in the past with the superhero genre. And while they are getting better, the struggle remains.

Getting Tom Hardy to star as Eddie Brock was a definite win for this franchise. Riz Ahmed was another key addition for Sony to turn their fortunes around. However, enlisting the same screenwriter that brought you Amazing Spider-Man 2, the Dark Tower, and The 5th Wave was probably a poor choice.

Venom is a franchise that needs an R rating. Venom not only kills people, he eats people. That’s what he does. “Kid Friendly” and Venom do not mix. Something was missing in this movie, and I can’t help but think it was all the scenes that were removed to make this a PG-13 version.

With the exception of the slow first 20 minutes, everything seemed to be a bit rushed. Most importantly, the relationship between Venom and Eddie. More time exploring their new situation could have brought more depth to the movie and the characters. The computer generated images were not great, but were tolerable and necessary for this character to come to life. This is by far the best version of Venom we have seen to date, which isn’t really saying much. (Looking at you, Topher.)

Episode 58: October 2018 Preview

Garrett and Carson preview some of the movies releasing in October 2018.