Posts Tagged ‘Comic Book Movies’

              One of the features that led to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that its various branches covered different genres. Hulk was the Fugitive/man on the run, Captain America was James Bond style espionage, Guardians of the Galaxy was Star Wars lite, and so forth. Not resting on their laurels after becoming the most successful film franchise of all time, Marvel swung high with their latest entry. The Eternals brings the MCU into Clash of the Titans territory with their own mythology and millennia spanning arc.

              The first MCU film with an opening crawl, The Eternals starts with “In the beginning,” establishing its vast backstory. The titular group of superpowered beings serve the god like giants known as Celestials and protect mankind against a group of monsters called the Deviants. Their absence from past MCU stories such as Thanos and the Infinity Gems is explained by their oath to not interfere with the human race unless they are threatened by the Deviants.

              Deviants make their return in the modern era, a time when the Eternals have gone their separate ways. Slowly the Eternals regroup, during which we get various flashbacks explaining their backstories, their relationships with each other, and their role, and lack thereof, throughout human history.

              With a cast of ten Deviants, it is difficult for any one character to stand out, but each of them are given moments to shine. Sprite has the body of a young girl and is frustrated that she never seems to age. Kingo became a rich Bollywood star who passes himself off as his son every generation (He also owns Captain America’s original shield).  Angelina Jolie plays Thena, a skilled warrior who suffers from a mental illness that results from a brain holding thousands of years of memories, and so forth. Also, of interesting note, Superman is referenced as a fictional character. I guess this means we won’t have a MCU/DC film.

           The Deviants take a smaller role in the narrative than expected. As the plot advances, we learn the true nature of both the Eternals and the Celestials, and it is this truth that drives the conflict. It’s almost just as well as the Deviants don’t bring a sense of fear and foreboding that is expected of a movie monster. More obviously CGI than other creatures of the MCU, the Deviants look as though they were lifted from a video game and are not as scary as they needed to be.

              Having said that, the Eternals mostly delivers on its high ambitions of telling a vast world sweeping time spanning epic tale, adding a major piece of mythology to the lore of the MCU. Completely unconnected to the Infinity saga that had dominated most of the Marvel films, Eternals feels like a breath of fresh air to the franchise. It is the first Marvel film in quite a while that feels like it just could have been its own separate unique property.

Eternals is currently streaming on Disney Plus.

Thor: The Dark World is the sequel to the 2011 Marvel film. Like the first film it opens with narration from Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins. He tells the story of how 5000 years ago the race of Dark Elves led by Malekith attempted to plunge the world into darkness while the nine realms were in alignment. They were stopped by the Asgardians, led by Odin’s father Bor. There’s a nice battle scene here that’s not as generic as the opening battle scene of the first movie. Between the laser blasts and medieval weaponry it’s a nice mix of Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings.

Cut to today, Loki is sentenced to the dungeons after the events of the Avengers. While confronting Odin, Loki remarks that he was only trying to do what Odin does, which is to rule.

Back on Earth Jane Foster is moving on with her life, but in the middle of a date events transpire to bring her and her colleagues to be involved with Asgardians again. After 5000 years the nine world are in realignment again, and the Dark Elves have returned to finish what they started.

This is a pretty epic movie that jumps around various locations in the nine realms. Loki is probably the most intriguing character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whose relationship with Thor, Odin, and Frigga are the highlight of the film. Frigga, Odin’s wife, has more of a role in the film BTW, and actually fights and seemingly beats the main villain. There’s great humor, including a surprise sort of cameo from Captain America the had the audience laughing out loud. The action of course is great, as I said it’s basically superheroes meets Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings with a little Star Trek thrown in for good measure. Not only that, but Thor legitimately can’t stop the villains on his own, and generally needs his Earthbound allies to help.

There’s also real changes in this movie, as at least one actual character dies. That’s one of the things I didn’t like about Iron Man 3, someone should have died, but this movie has real consequences. I liked that a lot.

One nit-picky thing, it’s mentioned that the Bi-frost/rainbow bridge had been destroyed, but in this film it’s been rebuilt. It doesn’t mention how it was restored. I guess we’re just to presume they rebuilt it. I happen to have read the Thor: Dark World comic prequel where it’s mentioned that the Bi-frost was restored using the power of the Tesseract.

Also wanted to mention, Heimdall says he can see 10 trillion people. That’s a lot.

The mid-credits scene is different, a new character is introduced to the MCU and we get some revelations about the Infinity Gems. We also get a post credit scene which relates to Thor and Jane Foster that’s pretty good.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t care for Iron Man 3, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to go strong with this entry. That’s the thing about this franchise, as I’ve said before, it’s not linear as other film franchises are. It’s like a tree with many branches, and more on the way. That’s why MCU has the potential for much longevity and success.

The Wolverine is a direct sequel to X-men 3, and ignores the previous Wolverine movie that focused on his origins and was not as critically received.

The Wolverine focuses on the emotional fallout of the events of X-men 3 without completely relying on the knowledge of that film. Logan is in self imposed exile in Canada, wishes to no longer kill, and is haunted by dreams of the now dead Jean Grey.

He is then taken to Japan where he meets someone from his past, and is offered a chance to lose his immortality. A series of events unfolds where he comes in conflict with the Japanese underworld, another mutant, and a giant adamantium samauri. For a while I was wondering what the giant robot was doing here, but involves a twist so obvious that you miss it.

Fox Studios took a lot of heat for X-men 3 and Wolverine Origins. However it has bounced back very strong with X-men First Class and The Wolverine. When First Class came out I said it was the best X-men movie, but Wolverine is even better. The Wolverine is a shining example that a franchise movie can also be a strong character piece.

There is a mid credit scene which presumable leads to events of next years Days of Future Past film.

Also one thing I never liked about the first 3 X-men movies is it’s future setting. I didn’t see why it had to be set in the future. The Wolverine makes no mention of this. For all we know it is set in present day, but definitely after the first three films. Hopefully this future angle is ignored in future films.