Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel Cinematic Universe #19) (MCU Phase 3 #7)

All that. Ten years. 18 movies. Dozens of huge name actors and crossovers, all leading to this. The Avengers gave us a team up, but Infinity War turned it all up to 11. The battle scenes are insane (especially that final battle in Wakanda, especially especially the return of Thor), the villain–Josh Brolin as Thanos–is powerful and ACTUALLY GETS A CHANCE TO WIN , and I absolutely love seeing the interplay between all of the characters.

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Black Panther (Marvel Cinematic Universe #18) (MCU Phase 3 #6)

That’s a very solid movie. The casting is top notch, the style is wonderfully afrofuturistic, and the plot/motivation is interesting enough. Starting with the plot/motivation, I think that the choice to have Wakanda separated from the rest of the world, all through centuries of slavery and inequality is certainly an interesting one. And I’m not at all alone. Nakia: I came to support you, and to honor your father. But I can’t stay.

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Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel Cinematic Universe #17) (MCU Phase 3 #5)

Ooh, that poster. le kiss Thor was … fine, a weirdly downscale introduction to a kind of strange character early in the MCU. Thor: The Dark World went the other way, being too bigt and ambitious and suffering somewhat for it. So going into Thor: Ragnarok, I wasn’t sure what we were going to get. An absolute gem of an 80s sci fi/fantasy action superhero comedy that just works. Right from the very intro, you know it’s going to be a different sort of movie.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Marvel Cinematic Universe #15) (MCU Phase 3 #3)

After the surprisingly awesome Guardians of the Galaxy, it was really a question of: could they do it again? The answer, a resounding… sort of? Don’t get me wrong, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has some pretty awesome moments. The opening battle in particular is spectacular (I love the contrast of dancing Baby Groot against a big smack down in the background). And we get all piles of additional humor based around Drax’s literalness, Rocket being a racoon, …

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Doctor Strange (Marvel Cinematic Universe #14) (MCU Phase 3 #2)

Wong: While heroes like the Avengers protect the world from physical dangers, we sorcerers safeguard it against more mystical threats. Man, that is a visually stunning movie. The first battle with building magically twisting all over (a la Inception), the glowing magic rings, the magical doodads. I am ever thankful that superhero movies have gotten popular enough that studios will spend the big bucks on special effects. They really do look great.

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Captain America: Civil War (Marvel Cinematic Universe #13) (MCU Phase 3 #1)

Captain America: Civil War isn’t really a Captain America movie. While it deals with the Winter Solder to some extent, as much as that it’s an Iron Man movie since he killed Stark's parents... . But really, it’s an Avengers movie. Everyone shows up, takes sides, and eventually ends up a great big superhero fight. And It… Is… Spectacular. In my opinion, it’s the best MCU movie to this point, beating out any of the solo outings and even the first two Avengers movies.

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Ant-Man (Marvel Cinematic Universe #12) (MCU Phase 2 #6)

Continuing in the set of Marvel movies that came out after I stopped going to theaters quite so much / reviewing movies in 2014, we have Ant-Man! In a nutshell, it’s a heist movie/comedy with superheroes! It’s a wonderful movie, with a lighter, funnier theme than a lot of the movies. The cast is wonderful. Paul Rudd is hilarious and well cast as Ant-Man, Michael Douglas is a wonderful cranky old man scientist that’s been burned as Hank Pym, Corey Stoll is a wonderful crazy (spoilers) bad guy, and Evangeline Lilly is criminally underused.

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Space Jam: A New Legacy

Bugs Bunny: So, you want me, a talking cartoon bunny, to play with you, an NBA superstar, in a high-stakes basketball game? Sounds awfully familiar. LeBron James: Who are you talking to? Well. That was certainly a thing. I haven’t watched the original Space Jam in probably 20 years… but I remember it fondly enough. I don’t think I really want to go back and watch it again. But it still does make me want to give Space Jam: A New Legacy a chance.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel Cinematic Universe #11) (MCU Phase 2 #5)

Hawkeye: The city is flying and we’re fighting an army of robots. And I have a bow and arrow. Nothing makes sense. Age of Ultron is an odd movie. From the perspective of a summer blockbuster/action movie, it’s solid. The opening action scene is wonderfully avengerful, there are all manner of awesome fights (the Hulk versus Iron Man fight and the final battle come to mind), and we get a few new characters.

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Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel Cinematic Universe #10) (MCU Phase 2 #4)

I had forgotten just how fun Guardians of the Galaxy is. Back when I first reviewed it in 2014, it surprised me with how different it was and just how much it opened up the Marvel Universe. Well, we’ve seen some pretty crazy things since then (Thor Ragnarok springs to mind), but it’s still a pretty crazy movie. I mean, come on. It’s a man obsessed with classic rock, a badass green woman assassin, an overly literal shirtless wrestler, a cybernetically enhanced racoon, and a speaking tree 1 2. Add in the first real hints of the Infinity Stones, Thanos as the continuing ‘bigger bad’, and you have a pretty impactful movie.

And then on top of that, you get an absolutely hilarious movie, some wonderful action scenes (the meet up / fight in the square at the beginning is particularly wonderful, but there are several), and a whole range of colorful new characters. When you don’t have to even try to stick to what works on Earth… things get pretty silly.

Overall, a wonderful movie. I think this time around, I actually rate it higher than the Avengers, although still below Iron Man and Captain America 1 and 2. Well worth a watch.

For the record: the ending scene is still kind of dumb.

Random side note: the idea of a whole fleet of starships linking up (somehow) and literally trying to push a very slow moving enemy spaceship back into space is just bonkers. Among a movie full of crazy scenes, that one came the closest to really pulling me out of the film. But so it goes.

Original 2014 review:

Can Marvel do no wrong?

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