Archives for posts with tag: jeremy renner

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

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.

I’m not entirely clear on what happened in this movie. I do know that it starts off with Tom Cruise in a Russian prison, that within 30 minutes the Kremlin has blown up, that Tom Cruise falls off the Burj Khalifa, and that then, for some reason, they go to India, and Anil Kapoor gets involved.

And I do not care. The whole thing is rollicking good fun. Simon Pegg does his Simon Pegg thing, Jeremy Renner does his Marvel thing rather than his actual-actor thing, Paula Patton is… there, and Anil Kapoor– Well, Anil Kapoor made me worry for a little while, that the writing was, shall we say, not entirely progressive. And I still have that concern, but with the proviso that the responsibility for his anomalous behavior is at least 50% on Mr. Kapoor’s own head. I have seen Taal, and he is not less crazy weird in it.

Character development is heavy-handed and/or non-existent, but that’s not what you’re looking for in such a movie. Tom Cruise needs a haircut, but otherwise is his old self, which you like or you don’t. He did his own stunts and some of them are literally (and I mean literally) breathtaking. I dropped my iPad at one point.

Stray notes:

  • There are people that I think you’re supposed to care about from previous M:I movies, but I’ve only seen the first one, so I’m not sure about that. It doesn’t matter.
  • Tom Cruise has a magical jacket that is Russian army on one side and tacky American windbreaker on the other. It’s awesome. Also his disguise-glasses are hot. Not sorry.
  • Russians are such great film villains. I love that we can still do this.

Director: Brad Bird
Rating: PG-13
Length: 133 min.
Score: 4/5.