Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Review

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Directed by Jon Watts

Based on Spider-Man by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko

Starring: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, J. B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal

Music by Michael Giacchino

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Parker is recruited by Nick Fury and Mysterio to face elemental threats from another dimension while he is on a school trip to Europe.

My Opinion:

I’ll keep this short as I hate writing superhero movie reviews since, let’s face it, they’re all the same. I’ve really enjoyed all of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but none are ever going to be all-time favorites of mine (well, maybe the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies). The characters are fantastic, though; Better than the movies themselves. This is especially the case with these two Spider-Man movies. Tom Holland is adorable and probably the best live-action Spider-Man we’ve had so I have no complaints when it comes to him or any of the other characters. As always, the characters are strong and the humor is a lot of fun. But I found the stories in both movies a bit average.

For me, I think it didn’t help that this follows Infinity War & Endgame. After that “epic” storyline and seeing all the Avengers working together, it was odd going back to another solo superhero film. Then, of course, we get the usual problem of “Where the hell are all the other superheroes while just one of them is trying to save the world from another threat??” I also just couldn’t get into Jake Gyllenhaal’s character and found this story less believable than in other MCU films (not that any superhero stories are exactly realistic but you know what I mean). I didn’t buy into the story in this one.


Oh well. As I said, the characters are strong and Marvel continues to develop these characters far better than the DC films have managed to do. The Marvel characters really do grow with each new film and it was good to see this again with Holland’s Spider-Man. I also love how Marvel focuses on developing the relationships between the characters: Peter Parker with MJ (they’re so cute together & have great chemistry), with Happy Hogan (this was great – taking Tony’s place as father-figure?), with his best friend, and with Aunt May (how hot is Marisa Tomei?!). As I always say, it’s the characters that are more important to me than the story itself. That’s why I always enjoy the Marvel movies despite the storylines failing to ever fully capture my attention. Far From Home was fun but far from my favorite MCU film (I’ve added it to my full ranked list HERE).

My Rating: 7/10

**I have to add this: I’ve now seen the all-time best Spider-Man movie with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse so it’s going to be harder to fully appreciate the live-action versions. I don’t think Spider-Verse can be topped.

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Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) Review

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***SPOILER FREE REVIEW***

Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

Directed by Joss Whedon

Based on The Avengers by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Starring:
Robert Downey Jr.
Chris Hemsworth
Mark Ruffalo
Chris Evans
Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy Renner
Don Cheadle
Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Elizabeth Olsen
Paul Bettany
Cobie Smulders
Anthony Mackie
Hayley Atwell
Idris Elba
Stellan Skarsgård
James Spader
Samuel L Jackson

Running time: 141 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

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My Opinion:

I enjoy superhero movies. I go to them all (usually as soon as I possibly can after they come out). They’re fun! But then I kind of forget about them… I realized while watching Age Of Ultron that I rarely watch most superhero movies ever again after that first viewing in the cinema/theater. There’ve been a few exceptions – I watched The Dark Knight twice, the first couple X-Men movies at least twice, and of course Superman & Burton’s Batman several times. I really should have re-watched the first Avengers film before going to this one because I barely remember it. I think I’m a little superheroed out. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to movies (I mean, I’m a movie blogger after all) but I know I must not be too into these countless Marvel films when I keep having to ask my hubby questions during them. Things like “who’s THAT?” to which he rolls his eyes & replies “only someone who’s been in most the Marvel films so far!”. Also, as I always have to say in these superhero movie reviews, I ONLY have knowledge of the films. God – I can’t even keep all those straight in my mind! I can’t imagine actually reading the billions of comic books as well.

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So now that we know where I stand on these types of movies (I like them & have a lot of fun with them but wouldn’t say I love most of them), we can move on to what I liked & disliked about Avengers: Age Of Ultron. I did a super-short mini-review of the first Avengers movie HERE when I did a roundup of all the films I’d seen in 2012 (I see I ranked it as the 9th best film that year & gave it a 7.5/10). I’ll say I think Age Of Ultron is the better film overall. It drags a little in the middle but the second half is much better than the first half & I think it’s a better finale than in the first film. It’s close, though – I think people may be pretty evenly divided on which they prefer. Also, I thought they actually did a pretty damn good job on character development in this one considering just how many characters are in this thing. It must have been hard to get the balance right between that & all the kick ass action but I think they did very well. What I really liked is that they spent more time on the characters we don’t know as well from a million other movies (Hawkeye, Black Widow & Hulk) and I enjoyed their stories quite a bit (especially Hawkeye’s). Don’t worry – you still get loads of time with the others as well but we already know a lot about them from their own films. I’d have liked a little more focus on Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver but, like I said, there are so many characters that you can’t expect anything too in-depth with each of them in only 2 hours & 21 minutes.

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I guess I didn’t really list anything I disliked about this movie. Well, I suppose I didn’t really dislike much. I wasn’t crazy about Ultron’s voice but that’s because I’m old (that asshole in Pretty In Pink?!). It did feel a little overlong plus it didn’t really pick up until (a character who is on one of the posters but I still won’t name in case it’s a spoiler to some of you) showed up (he was great). There’s some light humor between the characters as always, which is fun (especially a bit involving Thor’s mighty Mjölnir). Speaking of Thor & his big Hammer, I was once again very distracted every time his bare arms were on screen. Chris Hemsworth is so insanely beautiful. Too pretty, really. Maybe it’s why my mind goes all loopy during these movies & I never fully know what the hell is going on. I’m just going to wrap this thing up – I’m picturing those arms again now & I can’t think straight.

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Summary:

If you love all the Marvel films & you loved the first Avengers film, you’ll love this one too. It’s, well, the same thing again. Which is fine… It’s a formula that clearly works. But I have to say I kind of prefer some of the individual films as, while it’s loads of fun seeing all the superheroes together, I like seeing & knowing more about each of their individual stories. I probably almost like the first Iron Man movie & maybe even Captain America: The Winter Soldier more. At least, I think they’re probably better films than either of the Avengers movies but they’re not quite as flashy or cool. We’re talking about superheroes, though, not the Oscars – flashy & cool is sometimes okay too. Avengers: Age Of Ultron has proven one thing to me, though – I really did LOVE Guardians Of The Galaxy. That felt unique instead of the same old superhero movie once again. I think it’s time I do a massive update of my Top Ten Superhero Movies because there will be a lot of changes. Age Of Ultron will make the ten but I’m not sure where. However, Guardians Of The Galaxy will be at number one. Sorry, Age Of Ultron! You were loads of fun. Thanks for entertaining me but I won’t remember much of you in a year. You’re still one of the better films in this genre, though.

My Rating: 7/10

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Is There A Scene After The Credits? Like, duh. It’s a Marvel film. However, there’s ONLY a mid-credits scene & nothing at the very end. However, do not take my word on this, Americans! We may have gotten this movie a week before you but we’ve been screwed out of end credits scenes in the past (the end credits scene from the first Avengers film wasn’t shown in the UK). There have been rumors & supposedly leaked footage of an end credits scene that wasn’t the one I saw here in the UK.

Does Thor take his shirt off once again? Yes. Yes he does. However, it’s not at all gratuitous like it was in his own films. He is, however, soaking wet while shirtless. But there’s no lingering shots. It’s quick. Too quick. I’ll have to buy the Blu-Ray…

What were we talking about again??

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The Avengers (2012) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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As we all anxiously await this Thursday’s (UK) release of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review of the first Avengers film comes from Tim of Beermovie.net. Thanks for the review, Tim! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about The Avengers (aka Avengers Assemble), IMDB rank 129 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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The Avengers is a huge film in every way – budget, hype, box office, you name it. Plenty of people were doubtful that Marvel could truly pull this off given how high they had raised expectations, even though they had already shown time and time again how good they were at exceeding them. Given the sequel is very close on the horizon, now is a good time to revisit one of the biggest films of all time.

From the very beginning, a portal being opened to another dimension and Loki popping out, it is clear that The Avengers is pretty grand big budget storytelling. The film invokes a little bit of classic Hollywood storytelling as it rounds up the squad, and introduces us to the new characters really succinctly. The introduction of Black Widow, totally schooling a bunch of inept mobsters, is particularly memorable. Unfortunately Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye really misses out on a proper introduction and his character really feels like a bit of an afterthought throughout the film. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk similarly feels a little short-changed in the intro stakes, but his position in the narrative means that the audience gets to know him a bit better as the film goes along, without ever totally satisfactorily setting up the mythology of the character. The first act of the film manages to function both as a fully formed introduction for viewers new to the MCU and as a charm-filled start for everyone else.

As good as the balance is between the characters, there is no doubting that Robert Downey Jr’s wisecracking Tony Stark occasionally overshadows the film. He is meant to be the funniest, smartest and most powerful of all the Avengers and that on occasions feels like a lessening of the others in the crew. Even more so than some characters getting shortchanged, this obsession with Downey’s Stark is the main aspect of the script that brings down the quality of the film as an ensemble story. It will be interesting to see how Marvel handle this in the forthcoming sequel, a couple of years removed from Iron Man 3 and with Downey Jr’s future in stand-alone films up in the air as far as I understand it.

There are plenty of reasons why Marvel has gotten this whole shared universe thing so right where basically everyone else has faltered in a big way. But casting is perhaps foremost amongst its successes. The choice of Loki for this film, could have been really ho-um, recycling a villain that had already been seen in a stand-alone film. However Hiddleston is so good in the role that you quickly forget you’ve seen him before and come to perceive him as a threat necessitating the entire crew coming together. There is also a pleasant uniqueness in the fact that Loki takes a much more psychological approach rather than simply a ‘raaargh I’m going to crush the world with my huge muscles’ style vibe. Similarly, Scarlett Johansson is perfect as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, capturing a lot of the great attitude that character has in the comics, without needing to delve into dense comic book history (now if only Marvel would get over their strange aversion to a Black Widow stand-alone film).

Plenty of (somewhat justified) criticism has been aimed at Marvel for the sameness of their third acts, so rewatching The Avengers it was nice to be reminded just how well they can pull it off. I noticed this a lot whilst re-watching the film for this review and it was a main reason why I actually enjoyed it more this time than when I saw it in cinemas. Part of what sets this third act apart from some of the others is that the script weaves in occasional pieces of wit and levity to balance out the vibe. Some charming moments break up the huge, long-running battle toward the end, not least of which is Hulk’s hilarious “puny god” interaction with Loki. It’s a hell of a sprawling, choreographed battle that seems to wheel across the whole city. And whilst it’s basically all CGI, it never feels too computerised or like one clump of pixels crashing into another clump of pixels.

It is difficult to overestimate how big an achievement The Avengers is. Not all of that is restricted to the film. Much of it relates to how expertly Marvel crafted their cinematic universe in a way that has ‘inspired’ so many inept imitators that I’m pretty sure none of us ever want to hear the phrase “cinematic universe” ever again. But this film is an exceptional payoff and it both wraps Phase 1 up beautifully and feels like it was something too big for one of the earlier standalone films to handle.

Verdict: 8/10

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Review

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**SPOILER-FREE REVIEW. I THINK!**

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

Starring:
Chris Evans
Scarlett Johansson
Sebastian Stan
Anthony Mackie
Cobie Smulders
Frank Grillo
Emily VanCamp
Hayley Atwell
Robert Redford
Samuel L Jackson

Running time: 136 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America and the Black Widow join forces to stop a covert enemy that is hiding in Washington, D.C.

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My Opinion:

As I’ve said at the beginning of every superhero movie I’ve reviewed, I don’t know anything whatsoever about these things beyond what I’ve seen in the films. So, luckily, I can just sit back, eat popcorn, and watch these superheroes kick some ass without having to get all geeky nitpicky. I really enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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Captain America isn’t my favorite Avenger (so far). He can be a little dull and he’s not exactly Thor-level hot. I liked the first movie fine but it didn’t exactly blow me away. I also felt the same way about the first Thor movie. But I thought Thor: The Dark World was a lot of fun (you can read my review HERE). And I think Captain America: The Winter Soldier is also a very big improvement over the first one. With the exception of Iron Man 3 (review HERE), I think these Marvel movies are getting better & better and it’s getting me very excited about seeing more.

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I’m struggling to think of what to say about this. As I said, I’m far from being an expert on these superhero movies. So I’ll list a few good & not so good things.

The Good:

The Cast. I really can’t say anything negative about any of them. Scarlett Johansson is one of the best things about this and I quite often don’t like her much. That’s two in a row where I really liked her! (This & Her). Samuel L Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Robert Redford – all good! And I especially liked Anthony Mackie. Like. LIKE! I liked everyone! Really – this is cool because I usually hate at least one person in a movie. Oh, and Chris Evans is good too but, to be honest, he’s kind of the weakest thing about the movie. (Sorry! More about that later).

The Winter Soldier. Well, I thought he was pretty bad ass. And occasionally hot. But not from every angle. I can’t decide! Sometimes hot, sometimes not. But his metal arm is pretty freaking cool.

Falcon & Agent 13. I like these characters!

Stan Lee cameo. They’re always fun but I thought this one was especially cute. Am I allowed to use “cute” in this review? Screw it – I’m a girl so I can say cute if I want to say cute. It’s really cute!

The action. There’s A LOT of it but I thought it was all really good. The fight scenes were, I dunno – really well-choreographed? That sounded stupid. What I mean is – they looked cool! And the car chase scenes were pretty damn awesome too. Now, I like some “worthy” films. But, in the UK, the first couple months of the year tend to be the time they show all the worthy Oscar-nominated movies in the cinemas. I thoroughly enjoyed The Wolf Of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club, Her… (not American Hustle so much). But sometimes you really just want to be entertained & have some fun and I was SO ready for a movie like that. The Winter Soldier is the very definition of a “good-time popcorn movie”. I didn’t look at my watch once. (And by watch I mean phone. Who has a watch?). But I still want a decent plot & characters (Hello Pacific Rim! You were fun but some time spent on your script would have been nice!). The Winter Soldier delivers just fine on plot & especially on characters as well as some really kick-ass action. (And, yes, sometimes there can be too MUCH action. I’m talking to you, Man Of Steel!).

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The Not So Good:

Captain America. Chill while I explain. I’ve gone & decided to break this down into the good and not so good and have now realized that I can’t really think of anything for the not so good bit but I’m too lazy to go back & change things. Lol. So…

I already mentioned above that Chris Evans is kind of the weakest thing about the movie but I don’t really mean him as an actor – I just think they’ve not done the greatest job developing his character. Yet. I feel like we should know this guy a bit better by now plus he’s not developed much of a personality in the way they at least made Thor more “fun” in The Dark World (Although we still didn’t get anything deep from his character. I’d like Thor a lot less if Chris Hemsworth wasn’t so damn FINE). To be fair, though, it’s kind of a problem with most superhero movies. I think it’s probably also very hard with these movies to get that right balance between “too serious” and “too cheesy” but they’re getting it right more & more often these days, especially with all the Avengers-related ones. So I’m not really complaining much. Other than Iron Man 3, these movies just keep getting better.

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Summary:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is, well, a kick-ass superhero movie. What else can I say? If you like all the other movies with all the other Avengers, I really can’t see you not liking this one. And I think it’s a massive improvement on the ones that have come before it. I find the character of Captain America a little bit weak compared to the others but if they put this level of effort into the rest of the Marvel Avengers films, we’re in for a real treat. I can’t WAIT to see more based on this one. A thoroughly entertaining movie.

My Rating: 8/10

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Scenes After Credits?: Duh. It’s a Marvel movie! Why do people rush out the second the credits roll?!

Are they worth holding your pee for? There are two: One partway through the credits and one at the very end. The one partway through is a definite must-see. Man I want to see what comes of that one!!! And thanks to the hubby for filling me in on the details with that one. The scene at the very end is worth watching if you’re a completist. I MUST stay for these scenes after the credits otherwise I get really annoyed knowing that I’ve missed something. But, hey – you’d probably have time for a quick pee between the two end credits scenes if you really can’t hold it. 😉

**See My Top Ten Superhero Movies HERE.

By the way – I think I have a new favorite blog! 🙂 Click HERE.