captain america

Avengers: Age of Ultron – A Review


avengers age of ultron

I didn’t see the first Avengers film until it came out on DVD. Or it might even have been Netflix, actually.

It wasn’t a conscious avoidance, and I still hold up the lead-in — Captain America: The First Avenger — as one of my favourite of Marvel’s phase one films. I think, on some level, I just struggle with the tentpole, beauty parade idea of the Avengers films.

I get the idea. It’s nice to bring all the heroes together, and not have the inevitable “What the hell is everyone else doing whilst Christopher Ecclestone mullers London?” questions arise. But there’s something conceited about them, something like playing to the gallery. It doesn’t feel like it’s challenging anything or pushing any boundaries. It’s simply giving the fans what they want.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I’m not going to pretend that I’m not looking forward to Captain America: Civil War a lot more than Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Read on…

05 “The Iron Ceiling” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]


agent carter

It might just be me, but so far Agent Carter hasn’t managed to feel properly Marvel-y yet.

It’s had the interweb of references, jokes, and we even got a Stan Lee cameo last week, which is close enough to proof positive. But so far it has lacked the feel of being a small piece of a far bigger picture.

I like the characters. I like the premise. I really like the freedom that the setting allows the story to develop. If it can nail this last part, then it will have earned its place in the tapestry.

Which isn’t to say it’s necessarily good. That hinges on something else entirely.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

04 “The Blitzkreig Button” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]


agent carter

I have no idea why US TV shows insist on taking random weeks off. The “mid-season break” is bizarre enough, but I can see no reason why Agent Carter was not broadcast last week.

Well, perhaps absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

And Marvel’s newest TV show is back this week, so I guess we can pick up where we left off, in 1950s America racing to beat proto-Hydra to various Stark-flavoured McGuffins.

The first three episodes have felt on the verge of breaking into something bigger and better, story-wise, but still held back rather than advanced by the trappings of its setting and its heritage in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Fourth time’s the charm?

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

03 “Time and Tide” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]


agent carter

It’s at this point that I start to wish I had seen more of Agents of SHIELD. It would be nice to have another Marvel TV series to make a comparison to.

Lacking such a comparison, I must examine Agent Carter on its own merits. The first episode had promise, but was a bit rough around the edges. The second one tightened the plot arcs up, but still left room for improvement. It falls, then, to episode three to get things running along a track which can sustain an action/SF show for at least one series.

From what I’ve seen so far, it does deserve that sort of success. It’s taking a side character from one of their tentpole films, and putting up a world of interest around her whilst at the same time giving colour to some of the in-universe history and filling the between-film blanks.

Yeah, I desperately want Marvel to work its magic and make a success of this.

Read on… (and mind the spoilers)

02 “Bridge and Tunnel” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]


agent carter

The pilot episode of Agent Carter had its ups and downs, as you’d expect of any new TV show. It has the advantage, apparently, of its trail being blazed not only by two Captain America films and the Marvel juggernaut in general, but by a short film. I haven’t seen it, but that goes for a quite a bit of stuff I find.

Anyway, the 1940s setting is clearly something which Marvel are looking to make the most of. No complaints there, as I said about the pilot the first Captain America was for a long time my favourite Marvel film.

Like many pilots, “This is Not the End” was a bit fast paced, like it was in a hurry to get there. The rest of the basics were mostly there, though, so it falls to the second episode to put a harness on the whole thing and bring it to heel.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

01 “Now is Not the End” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]


agent carter

I am only just getting into Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, having missed the boat when it started. I’m informed it gets better about midway through.

But Agent Carter is one that I am able to get into on the ground floor. So why the hell not, eh?

In the growing pantheon of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Captain America: The First Avenger was probably my favourite until Guardians of the Galaxy came along. And Peggy Carter was a big part of that. So if Marvel want to give her a show, I’m on board with that.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

Heresy of the Week – Marvel conquered the world by giving the people what they want


avengers

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

 With Marvel standing triumphant over the  geek-verse, it bears reflecting on how they have done it. Essentially, by giving the cinema-going, film-watching fans exactly what they want.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week – Anything Superman can do, Cap can do better


captain america superman

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

Marvel’s Captain America and DC’s Superman are very similar in ideals and metaphorical function within their various worlds. But whereas Superman has always been assumed the superior character (and possibly the pinacle of superheroes within the mainstream) Captain America has been lately proving himself superior in almost every way.

Read on…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – A Review


captain america the winter soldier

The Marvel titan rolls on, and we — the audience — are just grit in its path.

The second Captain America film marks, I think, the eighth film in Marvel’s current interconnected web of films, and the characters and layers of story weaved with if not design then the cunning approximation of it. If you told me that all of this had been written out and intended from the very first Iron Man, I’d probably buy it.

But Captain America has always been my favourite Avengers character, and I enjoyed the first film a lot more than I expected to. But then, I enjoyed the first Iron Man and that lost its sheen pretty dramatically. So The Winter Soldier? Who knows…?

Read on…