Tag Archives: captain america: the winter soldier

Scarlett Johansson’s 10 Best Movies

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson isn’t even in her mid-thirties and she’s already put together a huge resume of quality dramatic, action, and vocal work.  Her five outings as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have made her the highest-profile female super hero (who NEEDS HER OWN MOVIE), and is probably the best female action star working today.  Her voice is so distinct and versatile that she could float out the rest of her career just doing voice over work (Jungle Book, Her, Sing).  She’s been acting since her teens so her resume already has over 50 films to it, and her versatility allows her to do so many different kinds of roles that she’ll no doubt be able to skirt Hollywood’s female age ceiling as her career continues to develop.

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My Favorite Scene: Captain America – The First Avenger (2011) “Grenade!”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe started eight years ago this week with the release of 2008’s Iron Man.  Fast-forward to 2016 and the first weekend in May is now Marvel Weekend.  They park a film here every year, and every year, advance an ongoing film universe that now contains four TV shows (with four more planned) and is on its 13th installment with Captain America: Civil War.  It is well on its way to becoming the most prolific (it should pass the Bond franchise for most installments in a series around 2020) and successful film franchise in history.  The cornerstone of the Marvel Universe is Captain America. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Captain America – The First Avenger (2011) “Grenade!”

Top 5: MCU Villains (insert evil laughter here)

Tom Hiddleston, Loki, Thor: The Dark World

 

There’s an old saying amongst people who compulsively read comic books that heroes are only as good as their villains.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe just churned out MCU #12 with Ant-Man (click here for review), and now we’re on a sad break until Netflix’s Jessica Jones in the fall.  If there’s a systemic flaw in the franchise it is that, while the heroes have been cast and developed near-perfectly, the villains have not gotten the same treatment.

Sadly, this is-in part-because a lot of Marvel’s best villains are locked into the X-Men and Fantastic Four lots that are owned by other studios.  The Red Skull was completely mishandled in Cap 1, and I don’t believe for a second he’s dead so hopefully they’ll give him his due the second time around.  In fact, if Tom Hiddleston hadn’t nearly stolen Phase 1 from Iron Man, we’d be talking about this as a real problem.  Hiddleston’s Loki is so good that the temptation is to overuse him because he’s SO GOOD.  Norse gods don’t age though, and Hiddleston will, so the smart move is to spend more time developing antagonists with depth equal to the heroes.  That will probably have to start with Dr. Strange, because in Captain America: Civil War, the heroes are going to be pounding on each other.

1. Wilson Fisk (Daredevil)

I think, and we’ll see if the fall’s Jessica Jones proves me right, that the best villains are going to come out of the Netflix shows.  They have what the movie villains lack: time.  The Kingpin doesn’t appear until the end of the fourth episode of the series, but his presence is there from the pilot.  D’Onofrio didn’t just make him a thug or a refined crime boss or a bully.  He made him a scared little boy trying to mold his world like a child building a train set.  Nuanced, brilliant and explosively dangerous, the Kingpin is the new standard for what a Marvel villain can be.

2. Loki (Thor, Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers)

I know, I know, you think he should be number one.  He certainly was until April.  He’s been in the most films of every villain (he was cut from Age of Ultron or he’d have been in four) and we’re certainly going to see him again.  Loki is a character, like all the Asgardians, that could have come off corny and dumb, but Hiddleston just ate scenery like a mulcher every time he was onscreen.  The best part about him, though, is he’s NOT pure evil, he does love his brother, he just also wants to rule the world.  He has depth that only D’Onofrio topped and he had more time to develop it.

3. The Winter Soldier (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Oh he’s not much of a talker, but for sheer menace and ability, The Winter Soldier hit Cap and company like a freight train.  I did not like Sebastian Stan in the first Cap film, but I will give him all the props in the world for making TWS a foe that made the Red Skull look like a pussycat (which is actually a problem, but not Stan’s fault).

4. Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Between Ultron and The Blacklist, I live in a world where I like James Spader.  However did that happen?  Spader did a great job with Ultron.  He’s a child, learning at an exponential rate and if he sounds like Stark….you have to remember he kind of is.  That is the scary thing and that, I think, will lead us to Civil War.

5. Whiplash (Iron Man 2)

I know Iron Man 2 has its detractors, but rewatch it and look how much it sets up for Phase 2.  If you had told me that Whiplash was going to somehow be made cool, I’d have passed you some very tasty pills, but Mickey Rourke managed to put actual menace in him and the scene where he compares his family to the Starks while Tony visits him in prison is one of my favorite in the MCU.

Top 5: Movies From Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2

Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Star Lord, Gamora

With this weekend’s release, Ant-Man (review coming soon) brings to a close the second phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  This grand experiment in creating a shared media experience to mirror that of the comics has now spanned 12 films and three television series.  If the theme of the first phase was “Origin”, the theme of the second phase was “Expansion”.  Everything got bigger in Phase Two from the stakes to the literal size of the Marvel Universe as we were introduced to its cosmic aspect.  Captain America: Civil War will kick off the third phase, which I think we can safely say is going to be themed “Explosion”.  Things are about to get very dark for our heroes, so perhaps it’s appropriate that a light-hearted film like Ant-Man closes chapter two.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

3. Thor: The Dark World

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron

5. Ant-Man

Avengers: The Infinity War Will Be Directed By The Russo Brothers!!!

Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos

 

Pretty much everything concrete I have is in the header, so if you want to bail now I’ll understand.  I’ll be hurt, but life goes on.  Much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe will go on once Joss Whedon goes off to create new worlds post-Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The Russo Brothers, who directed in my opinion the best MCU film thus far, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  They’re already making Captain America: Civil War (which is becoming so huge people are calling it Avengers 2.5.  I think this is a great choice, not only because they’re proven talents, but they’ll be shaping the movies to lead up to what is going to be the climax of everything since Iron Man: The Infinity War; the throwdown with Thanos.

I have no doubt the MCU will continue post Avengers Infinity War (which is scheduled as a two-part film in summers 2018 and 2019), but it will be the end of the first major story arc of the MCU.  I think a lot of casting changes will be made post AIW and new characters will be brought to the fore while the originals are retuned for another go.  Personally, I’m hoping FOX sells the Fantastic Four back to Marvel after what will be another colossal failure this summer so that Galactus can be our second EXTREME big bad.