Tag Archives: Stan Lee

The Sorcerer Supreme… Doctor Strange (2016)

doctor-strange-teaserThis was a film I was a bit hesitant on…  Not because of Benedict or the cast or the ramifications of placement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but just because it was Doctor Strange.  Now granted, those were the same feelings I had about the original “Iron Man” back in 2008, the film which of course kicked off Phase One… Why?  ‘B’ tier character on the big screen.

For all the magic that Marvel has woven over the last eight years, there is bound to be a hiccup at some point (or, as it known in geekdom circles… a DC-like event) however this psychedelic romp through the inner-cosmos wasn’t it.  Marvel has made a great success of their ‘B’ Tier line-up while stalwarts such as X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man (until this lastest re-boot of the re-boot) have suffered… but this was Doctor Strange.  For many moons, Johnny Depp was penciled in as “negotiating” for the title role, however I think Benedict and his Cumberbitches did an excellent job bringing the vivid and resourceful Sorcerer to brilliant Technicolor as did the well-rounded supporting cast who shine beyond the sometimes cardboard dialogue (and No, I don’t have a problem with the Ancient One being a Celtic woman).

The film embodies the acid-tripping, Beatlesesque mind expanding world of the late 1960’s that Doctor Strange traveled in the pages of “Strange Tales” (alongside Bondian 60’s Icon Nick Fury) and that is what makes it work.  Sure, it could have been Marvel invades Hogwarts and been just terrible, but luckily for us there is still some originality coursing through Marvel Films (even if none of it rubs off on the X-Men Fox franchise).  Updated for modern times, little is lost in translation which is a hallmark of the greater MCU as the script is fluid combining great elements of the visual as well as the subtly comedic (even if a spot or two seemed a bit forced).

Strange Tales

Now, I’m a little off put by the inner MCU timeline as Stephen Strange was previously referred to in “The Winter Soldier” yet the events of the film unfold AFTER Civil War… oh well.  It’s also good to know, thanks to the dual post credit scenes *Semi-Spoiler Alert* that the Sorcerer Supreme will be making multiple future appearances other than just the forthcoming Avengers Super-Duper-Super Friends sequels of Avengers 3 & 4 or “Infinity War” also known as “How to Snuff Out DC and kick them while their down”.

See it in 3D.  Popcorn, SnoCaps and no bathroom breaks!

4 Stars

 

Avengers… ASSEMBLE! Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Avengers European posterFifty years ago, that simple phrase ushered in a vision of comic book excitement and sheer imagination. And let there be no doubt, this film lives up to The Avengers storied past.

With a brisk pace, compelling character plot and backed by a motivating Alan Silvestri score, The Avengers is an excellent ‘movie’. It meets the requirements of a Saturday matinée popcorn flick, an action movie and a damned epic comic book film. The dialogue stays fresh while mixing comic relief, drama and Steve Rogers’ archaic sense of civility. Joss Whedon and his staff did a fantastic job of sharing the ‘heavy lifting’ between characters while remaining true to Stan Lee’s original visions.
Loki DemandsMarvel’s answer to DC’s Justice League of America, The Avengers took several of the comic line’s mid-level characters and created Marvel’s first true “Super-Team”. With the Silver-Age revival of Captain America in issue number 4, the Avengers never looked back. This film, the culmination of plot bits and end of credit scenes from Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America (I still don’t get why people left during the credits… ) we finally get the epic telling of Marvel’s most elite team. Sure, many in the comic world will debate who really comprises the best incarnation of Avengers (as they will X-Men), but this assemblage of heroes is it. It harkens back to the Silver Age while keeping a purely modern feel (which propelled Iron Man from background character to comic media sensation in his debut film) for the characters, the story and the idea that such fantasy could indeed seem so real.
Assembly RequiredBelieve me, this is the film that will dictate the future of the comic book film industry… and it is the film that has to make Warner Bros./DC stand-up and take note. Easily the second greatest comic book film of all time, Avengers mixes its comic lore against The Dark Knight’s gritty realism. Marvel, who for years plodded in a non media landscape and survived bankruptcy to give us the Blade Trilogy, Spider-Man, Iron Man only to score the slaughter in 2011 (perhaps thanks to their purchase by Disney) with such summer blockbusters as X-Men: First Class, Thor and Captain America have reached a definite new level of epic storytelling with The Avengers.

The TrioAnd let’s not forget, we still have Iron Man 3, a Captain America sequel and a Thor sequel before we get to the next installment of The Avengers and their previewed antagonist, Thanos (who makes a showing in the surprise hit Guardians of the Galaxy to delay his Infinity Gauntlet appearance, aka Avengers 3 & 4).
ShwarmaReaching comic book epic, grab the popcorn and snow-caps and absolutely no bathroom breaks. And yes, you’ll be seeing it at least twice in the theatres.

5 Stars

“Do you even know how to kill me?”… X-Men Origins – Wolverine (2009)

X-Men Origins - Wolverine TeaserMarvel Comics has taken great steps in bringing along their film franchise, growing their characters and getting them ready for the ‘bigtime’ spotlight formerly reserved for the likes of ‘Batman’ and ‘Superman’. With the past success of such Marvel titans ‘X-Men & X-2’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Hulk’ and now ‘Iron Man’, the ‘X-Men Origin’ series is expected to catapult the ensemble into their own tales of derring do… however ‘Wolverine’ didn’t hit the mark.

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” marks the first of the ‘Origin’ line which we already know has sequels for separate characters such as Deadpool and Magneto in the works, but being the first, it felt rushed. Wolverine is already a mainstay, especially on film as he dominated the ensemble ‘X-Men’ series all on his own, but his first ‘solo’ film just seemed really smushed together for a lack of better phrasing.

Yes, the origin tale place-setting of he and Sabertooth (excellently played by Liev Schreiber), the Weapon X Project (Roman numeral 10, fool) and Striker plus the path-crossing heavyweights such as Cyclops, Professor-X, several members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (comic wise anyway) and the like… too many deaths of characters who should have carried on, too little emphasis on what are actual comic plot points… it just came off as a little messy.
Please don’t get wrong, Jackman does his usual best with his fave character to play and will do so again in the upcoming sequel… but the play itself of events is just too much (or too little depending on which plot point).

Wolverine Sabertooth

Still a viable film in the Marvel Universe, it will definitely serve as a blockbuster to get the ball rolling on the ‘Origins’ series and renew interest in the still to come ‘X-Men: First Class’, but to this comic book geek who adores the original ideas of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, et al; this film just veers a little too much off course.

Just shy of comic epic, bring the popcorn and skip the bathroom breaks.

3 Stars