Showing posts with label Chris Evans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chris Evans. Show all posts

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America (Chris Evans) returns in his second solo outing to sniff out the rotten core at the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D. When an attempt is made on the life of a senior S.H.I.E.L.D executive, Captain Steve Rodgers finds himself on the outside of a conspiracy and on the run. With the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and newcomer to the series, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Cap’ must hunt down those who have sworn to protect and comes across a figure from his past in the process.

When the first Captain America movie came out in 2011, I expected it to be the Marvel film that I’d enjoy most. I’m a lover of history and am fascinated by the 1940s, especially the Second World War. It was surprising then that I enjoyed it far less than any other of the Marvel films to that date. I’m glad to say that Winter Soldier is an improvement on the original but still lags some way behind the likes of Thor and Iron Man for me.

I’ll start with what I enjoyed about the movie as that will take less time. I think that the themes are strong and well realised. By turning S.H.I.E.L.D, or at least elements of it, into the bad guys, the film holds a mirror up to the intelligence community. After years of reports about NSA bugs, CIA phone tapping and MI5 interference, the writers pick up a strong idea and run with it. By putting those who are meant to protect us under the spotlight, we get a glimpse into a shady and easily corruptible world. The positioning of S.H.I.E.L.D’s headquarters, high above the Washington skyline, is also a strong visual metaphor. The movie asks us, who is really in charge? What are their powers and if they’re watching us, who’s watching them?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Iceman

Between 1948 and 1986, New Jersey Mafia hitman Richard Kuklinski is said to have killed somewhere between one hundred and two hundred and fifty men. Having committed his first murder when in his middle teens, Kuklinski eventually gravitated towards the world of organised crime and for several decades worked as a contract killer for the DeCavalcante crime family based in Newark, New Jersey. He did all of this while posing to his family as a successful currency broker. The Iceman is Israeli director Ariel Vromen’s biopic thriller of the ice cold killer, based on interviews with the man himself. It stars an in form (when is he not?) Michael Shannon in the lead role.

The Iceman is a film that I’ve been hotly anticipating for some time. I have an interest in the history of the Cosa Nostra and find that it often forms the basis of excellent movies. Although this is an above average film and features several great moments, it won’t go down with the likes of The Godfather, GoodFellas or even Donnie Brasco in the annals of the great mafia movies. I expect there will be many comparisons drawn to Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece of the genre in particular but unfortunately, despite a fantastic basis for a story, the film is like a skimming stone. It skips along the surface without delving into the murky deep beneath the surface.

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Avengers

"I have an army..."
"We have a Hulk."

The Avengers or Marvel’s Avengers Assemble here in the UK for ridiculous reasons is the long awaited teaming up of the characters from Marvel’s recent and successful movies. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) returns to Earth and steals The Tesseract, an energy source being worked on by scientists at S.H.I.E.L.D. In response, S.H.I.E.L.D Director Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) activates the Avengers Initiative and assembles a team of superhuman men and women that comprises of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Loki’s brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who join S.H.I.E.L.D Agents Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in attempting to stop Loki from subjugating the world’s population.

There was always the danger that things could go ‘tits up’ for Marvel when producing a film on this scale and with so many well known characters and actors/personalities involved. I’m delighted to say that they have pulled it off and that The Avengers is a terrific film. The plot itself plays second fiddle to the assembling of the team and I don’t think this was a bad thing. Obviously Marvel will be hoping for a sequel or five to come after the film so it was essential that the characters interactions and developments with each other were given high priority. The sharp dialogue is thrown between the characters with more force and precision than a throw of Thor’s hammer.  In the end the story is similar to every other superhero movie; bad guy brings destructive forces to Earth in an attempt to rule and/or destroy humanity while superhero(s) attempt to stop them. In Loki and Tom Hiddleston though, there is a bad guy who carries great menace and feels more dangerous when he is doing nothing than when he is thrashing his weapon around. I think that Hiddleston gives the best performance of the piece.