Archives for posts with tag: chris evans

Do you think that Chris Evans is cute and charming enough that you want to watch a version of Before Sunrise that he directed and in which he stars? Because then you should watch this, but probably for no other reason.

Brooke (Alice Eve) is an art dealer in Manhattan possibly cheating on her husband, and her handbag is stolen, so all she has is her phone and a train ticket. She misses the last train. Nick (Evans) is in town for a band audition, but is busking in Grand Central to avoid running into an ex at a party. He is bad at paying credit card bills. They spend all night having various misadventures trying to get Brooke back to Boston.

They’re both attractive, but they talk about their feelings a lot and it’s irritating. And, frankly, it’s evident that the facet of this movie that involved the most thought was stranding them. In 2014, it’s tricky to be truly stranded, between phones and credit cards, MV5BOTMxNzE0NjY4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjIxNjIzNjE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_and the film does a lot of work to make sure you know they’ve tried everything. If only the writing had involved that much effort.

And I hope it doesn’t bother you that we are asked to believe that somebody spends a night in a hotel with Chris Evans and doesn’t sleep with him.

Director: Chris Evans
Rating: PG-13
Length: 95 minutes
Score: 2/5

The internet, I’m sure, has a lot of feelings about this movie, relating to how it works with the comic books and general questions of diversity and gender and whether or not Emily VanCamp is physically capable of expressing an emotion with her face. That’s a little deeper than I care to go, and also when I saw it I was under the influence of too many Skittles and a truly staggering amount of popcorn.

Civil War suffered from one of the problems that Age of Ultron had, namely that it had way too much going on. But it did not suffer from some of the other problems, like making no sense or being exactly the same as the previous movie or taking itself way too seriously. Sure, no one needs another Iron Man movie (and there’s no reason this couldn’t be called Iron Man: Civil War, except probably contractual stuff you can explain to me), and Scarlet Witch is boring, and Black Widow is supposed to be unreadable but is actually just flat, and the Winter Soldier needs a haircut, and Hawkeye continues to be pointless….

But! Though I didn’t fully buy some of the motivations in this movie, they didn’t make me spitting mad, as they did in Age of Ultron. In Civil War, the world’s governments are rather cross about the catastrophe in Sokovia (which you’ll remember from Age of Ultron, if you remember anything about Age of Ultron), and want the Avengers to have some oversight. Captain America is so sure that he’ll be right in every future situation that he resents this (to be fair, his track record is pretty solid). Tony, in a sudden access of righteous guilt, misses the point of self-flagellation and spreads it around. Thus battle lines are drawn.

The film sells this opposition as much as it can. That’s not very much, since Tony and Steve have been roughly this annoyed with each other from the get-go, and the stakes don’t seem that much higher than in every previous iteration. The only thing that really gets my goat is that Tony is 100 percent completely responsible for Sokovia because he made a decision so asinine and rapid that a backward hummingbird would probably have balked at it. That was my main problem with Age of Ultron, and I resent that it is allowed to spill over into what is, in defiance of probability, a moderately whimsical and rather enjoyable two and a half hours.

There are still too many people in this movie, but since they’re put onto teams, it doesn’t always feel like they’re jostling for your attention. Perhaps more importantly, the film is usefully split into acts, so characters flow into and out of the action smoothly and it doesn’t seem interminable. All in all, this ends up being the best installment in this corner of Marvel since the first Avengers movie. That may have been only four years ago, but there’s been a lot of crap produced since then. Possibly it’s top three overall, and more likely so if you didn’t like Thor or the first Cap movie very much.

Stray observations:

  • Anthony Mackie (Sam/Falcon) is a delight. He has two of the best comic beats in the film, including a VW Beetle gag. He and Sebastian Stan (Bucky/Soviet Winter Soldier Nonsense) have a surprisingly excellent comedic rapport.
  • New Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is the BEST. I was surprised that the film didn’t follow the new comics and have Peter be black, but this kid is so great. It makes you resent Tobey Maguire even more.
  • If he’s not kissing Peggy, Cap should be kissing Tommy Lee Jones. Full stop, end of story.
  • His jeans can stay, though.

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Rating: PG-13
Length: 147 minutes
Score: 4/5

You know the drill on this one: Steve Rogers is a 90 pound asthmatic, but loves America. So he becomes Captain America in order to beat up Nazis. It’s great.

My one quibble (and this a quibble with the comics rather than the movie, really): you don’t need to have a weird occult freak villain. The SS is evil enough. X-Men handles this marginally better.

So does it rate a 5/5? I think so. It’s the most tonally consistent of any of the Marvel films, period. It’s clever without trying too hard, the humorous beats are pleasing but not overdone, and everything has a slightly stylized olive-drab vibe that is extremely successful. Plus, I’m sick of the eternally flawed superhero, because I really don’t watch comic book movies for angst. Sure, Superman’s one-note admirability is boring, but that’s because Superman is a stupid alien. Steve Rogers’s one-note admirability is adorably charming. Which you can tell because Peggy Carter, Number One Awesome Badass, falls in love with him. [Watch “Agent Carter” before it’s gone, idiots.]

And the kid that Richard Armitage throws in the harbor! He can swim and Cap doesn’t have to rescue him and that is terrific. Maybe my favorite moment.

Stray observations:

  • I love the end titles. I think they’re meant to be send-ups of wartime propaganda posters, but they’re great anyway.
  • I’ll watch JJ Feild in anything and I kind of love that they don’t even really spend any time on the Howling Commandos. It’s just all, “Oh, hey, Union Jack’s here and so is everyone else. Sweet.”
  • Tommy Lee Jones is completely phoning it in, and is still tremendous.
  • It is endlessly hilarious to me that Chris Evans is having a second career as a different Marvel superhero (yeah, I saw both of those Fantastic Four piles of garbage and own one of them). I guess it helps to be a definitional dreamboat.

Director: Joe Johnston
Rating: PG-13
Length: 124 minutes
Score: 5/5

Heap big sigh.

Though I appreciate watching Cap chop wood in some 501s, I think I’m over comic book movies. Or perhaps: precisely because I appreciate watching Cap chop wood in some 501s, I’m definitely over Avengers movies. I can only deal with so many insane global threats thwarted by a rag-tag, internally-divided, ceaselessly-quipping band of misfits. I prefer the limited scope of the single-hero movies. Partly because they can engage in character development beyond thirty seconds of troubling and clumsy exposition. Even at nearly two and a half hours, this was rushed and did not engage my emotions at all. More is not always better.

Stray notes:

  • This is the second movie in which I’ve seen Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but the first was Anna Karenina, so I think this was a lot more jarring for me than for everyone else.
  • I want Hayley Atwell’s dress and hair.
  • Still just want Cobie Smulders to go away.

Director: Joss Whedon
Rating: PG-13
Length: 141 min.
Score: 2/5.