Tenet

That … is a summer blockbuster. It’s an absolutely bonkers plot. In a nutshell, the future is at war with the present (somehow) and there is technology that can ‘invert’ people and things so that they experience time backwards. How exactly that works and what exactly happens when you mess with the past/future is… never entirely clear. But it certainly does make for some absolutely crazy action scenes where some things are going forward, some backward, people are in the same scene more than once and…

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Marvel Cinematic Universe #9) (MCU Phase 2 #3)

From one of the weakest MCU movies to one of the strongest. I loved the first solo entry of Captain American and the second is even better. Much like last time, I very much enjoyed this movie.

It’s a solid contrast against the first Captain America (blind optimistic patriotism versus a darker world, where even your friends… might not be). It’s made all the better having already seen the future of Sam and Bucky/The Winter Soldier now. Last time through, I was hoping they could pull off all the new characters and now… I think they did.

This time around (and so far), the top of my list for the year. An excellent movie.

Original 2014 review:

Out of all the pre-Avengers / Phase One Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, it’s really a toss up whether Iron Man or Captain American was my favorite. In Phase Two? It’s not even a question1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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Thor: The Dark World (Marvel Cinematic Universe #8) (MCU Phase 2 #2)

One problem that comic book universes in general and the MCU in specific have always had is that of scale. How in the world do you have a man in a suit, a literal ‘god’, a rage monster, a super soldier, and a couple … regular people ever interact on the same scale? For the most part, it’s hand waved away. Everyone is paired up with an opponent of roughly the same power level and we move on with our lives.

No where those is this contrast more apparent than in the Universe of Thor. The people of Asgard are supposed to be gods. They live thousands of years. We’ve seen them shrug off some pretty crazy weapons. And yet here they are, dying to spears and falling rocks. It just doesn’t make any sense.

I mean, there are any number of brilliant CGI shots of the weird world of Asgard, and it at least has a much bigger scope than the first Thor, but it still feels … hollow. It’s a pity, because I enjoy Thor’s super powerful fish out of water story well enough in the combined movies, but this is not my favorite of the combined films.

So it goes.

It’s always interesting to re-read my older reviews: see below)

Original 2013 review:

The first Thor was a bit disappointing.

There, I said it.

It could certainly have been worse, but it really felt like the entire movie served solely to set up Thor12 for the Avengers. It wasn’t terrible, it just … was.

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Iron Man 3 (Marvel Cinematic Universe #7) (MCU Phase 2 #1)

For some reason, I Iron Man 3 as a fairly week entry, but looking back to when I last watched it in theaters (see below)… I actually liked it about as much then I do now.

On one hand, I really do still think they absolutely nailed Robert Downey Jr. as Iron man. He can do both funny and broken pretty well and has more than a few chances for each this time around. I know now (and didn’t then) that there wouldn’t be an Iron Man 4, but he still did an amazing job in this last solo outing and in the teams ups yet to come.

Otherwise, I actually really liked Gwyneth Paltrow’s as Pepper Potts. It’s good seeing her as both a foil for Iron Man and actually being a badass in her own right.

Ben Kingsley still steal the show, although this time around I’m coming to see just how much range there was in Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian. He pulled down on his luck geek up through brilliant and crazy mirror to Tony Stark all the way to fire breathing baddie pretty darn well so far as action movies go.

One that I didn’t mention last time around, but made all the more apparent I think having just seen in her in Godzilla vs Kong) was Rebecca Hall’s performance as Maya Hansen. She does smart conflicted scientist very well in both films.

Plotwise, it was a fascinating way to deal with PTSD, even if does feel a bit sudden (although PTSD can do that) and could really have used a bit deeper dive (not really room for that in a summer blockbuster).

Other than that, feel free to give my previous review a look. I haven’t really changed my opinion much, but it’s interesting to see the two 8 years apart. A lot can change in 8 years… Both so far as the MCU and in my own life. Some things change, some things stand the tests of time.

I think this time around, I’ll slot it in just below the Avengers on both lists. I think Iron Man 3 might actually be the better movie in a lot of ways, but the Avengers I think wins just on sheer spectacle. Feel free to disagree. :) It’s all made up numbers anyways.


Original 2013 review:

Go see Iron Man 3. I’ll wait.

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Mortal Kombat

Shang Tsung: FINISH THEM! Mortal Kombat is an odd sort of movie. With 2 dozen games, 2 previous live action and 2 animated films, and all manner of other references and media, there’s a lot of backstory going on. But really, it all comes down to some sort of otherworldly nasties coming to conquer the Earth, but they can only do so if they defeat Earth’s champion(s). Other than that, it’s really a vehicle for hand to hand combat of the most violent sort.

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Stargate: Continuum (Stargate #12) (Stargate SG-1 #12)

That was a far better movie (in my opinion) than Stargate: The Ark of Truth. It basically felt like a slightly higher budget two part episode (although those already tended to be good) of the series and actually gave a chance to say goodbye to a few more people: In particularly Ba’al (RIP) and O’Neill, who really needed it. Not to mention a callback to the real villains of the show: The Goa’uld.

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Godzilla vs Kong

You know, that was more enjoyable than I think it had any right to be. It’s the sort of movie that would have been far more spectacular on a big screen, but I haven’t been to the theaters in a while, so I’ll take smaller. All around, it’s a visual delight. Transporting Kong is hilarious looking. The Hollow Earth is an insane idea, but it’s a beautiful world and all of those big beasties to fight are a lot of fun to see.

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Stargate: The Ark of Truth (Stargate #11) (Stargate SG-1 #11)

Stargate: The Ark of Truth is the first of two direct-to-video sequels to SG-1. This one picks up after the SG-1 series finale and concludes the Ori arc and throws in a number of other callbacks along the way. Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell: It's kind of weird not having a big bad guy to fight anymore. Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter: Yeah, that’s how we felt when we defeated the Goa’uld. And The Replicators.

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Captain America: The First Avenger (Marvel Cinematic Universe #5) (MCU Phase 1 #5)

Now that is how you do a super hero movie. For anyone that’s somehow missed it, Captain America is the story about how a little guy from Brooklyn with a heart of gold and a steadfast determination to serve his country in World War II gets just that chance: taking a super soldier serum to get buff, becomes a showgirl for a while (because of course), fights Nazis, and gets frozen in the ice.

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Thor (Marvel Cinematic Universe #4) (MCU Phase 1 #4)

Thor is an odd sort of movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On one hand, it’s our first foray into the more ‘magical’ side of the universe, with ancient Gods and the like. Although in this universe, we’re led to believe that it’s really just highly advanced science. On the other hand, despite a worlds spanning plot (literally, 3 of them), it still feels oddly … small. Plotwise… it’s weird. We’re supposed to believe that Odin is over a thousand years old and Thor is… just now coming into his kingship now?

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