Tag Archives: Nick Fury

Dude Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

When I was training to be a newspaper reporter, I learned never to bury the lead. Which meant, always start with the most important stuff right up front.

Not in the second paragraph.

And certainly never in the third.

I am, however, willing to state here, in the fourth paragraph, uncategorically, that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a fantastic, rip-roaring, rootin’-tootin’, bad-guy shooting, uplifting, side-splitting fantastically good movie.

I liked it, is what I’m trying to say.

I thought it would be difficult for any Marvel movie to surpass the wonder that is Marvel’s The Avengers, which I thought might have been one of the best movies of the decade at least. And, to be sure, CA: TWS, doesn’t surpass The Avengers, but it comes darn close.

Chris Evans returns as Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury, while Scarlett Johansson also is back as Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow. They’re joined by Anthony Mackie, playing Sam Wilson, the Falcon, and a host of other folks, including Robert Redford as S.H.I.E.L.D. high-muckety-muck Alexander Pierce.

And they all — every single one of them — are fantastic in their role. The Black Widow, instead of being a girlfriend, or a pawn, or a sacrifice to make the male hero’s journey personal, is a formidable hero in her own right, facing down doubts and horrors from her past. She also benefits from the double-edged sword that is Captain America: She believes she can be better because Captain America believes she is better and she doesn’t want to let him down.

That’s only one of the things that makes Steve Rogers such a dangerous man.

Not only is the film well acted, but it’s filled with astonishing special effects, drastic fight scenes, Easter eggs too numerous to count (including the birth of at least two new villains, a certain tombstone near the end and namechecking the Sorcerer Supreme), and — believe it or not — an extended meditation on the idea of freedom versus security.

Following the events in New York, chronicled in Marvel’s The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. is all set to step out and take over world security. This eagerness is making Captain America a bit wary as it seems S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to start killing people before they actually commit a crime.

Should Americans and, by extension, the world give up their freedoms to become safer from a world that now contains super soldiers, aliens, gods and ten-foot-tall rampaging rage monsters?

Unfortunately, it’s not a question that will get answered in this movie, because it turns out that the entire operation has been compromised by Hydra, the bad guys from the first Cap film. Which means that the entire notion is, prima fascia, a bad idea. It sort of deflates the argument I was having in my head there, but I applaud the movie for at least bringing it up.

I’m also amazed by the actual change displayed in this movie. In most action series, there’s a set status quo and, once the movie is over, no matter what happened in the previous two hours, everything is back to the way it started. Not so in this movie.

Things change. Structures and organizations you thought were permanent fixtures of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been completely transformed.

And all this before the Winter Soldier hits the scene, himself stalking out of Captain America’s past with a secret that could shatter him without a fight.

So, yeah. It’s a great movie, not just a great superhero movie.

What I loved the most about this movie can be summed up in one amazing elevator ride.

Captain America is trying to leave the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters after telling a powerful person no. He steps in the elevator. Two floors down, several men get on. Several floors after that, more rough and tough men come on. Eventually, the elevator is packed with roughboys and Captain America, who realizes what’s about to happen.

Instead of immediately smacking them all silly, Captain America first tries to settle the situation peacefully.

“Before we get started,” he says, “does anyone want to get out?”

The answer is no, so then he wipes the elevator floor with them in an amazing fight scene that’s worth the price of admission all by itself.

Go pay said price of admission and enjoy yourself. This is a fantastic movie for the family or anyone else who enjoys action movies with fun, adventure, laughs and a couple of moments of genuine sadness and deep emotion.

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Dude Review: Iron Man 3

When Marvel’s The Avengers movie came out last year, with cinematic representations of some of my favorite superheroes — Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and, of course, Iron Man — I thought it couldn’t get any better.

I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

Marvel Comics continues its winning streak with the release of the third Iron Man movie, called, oddly enough, Iron Man 3, directed by Shane Black, starring Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Guy Pearce.

And, dudes, it. Is. Straight. Up. Awesome!

If The Avengers cranked the superhero action dial up to 11 and then broke it off (and it did. It so very much did), then Iron Man 3 managed to turn down the dial just a little. The great part, though, is that even with the superhero action dialed down, the movie continues rocking hard, with the bass turned up so it vibrates the cars two streets over, shatters windows for several blocks and makes the milk in your stomach churn to butter.

It’s a good movie, is what I’m trying to say.

Really, though, after The Avengers, there was no way to keep going up. It had to be a smaller, more personal story, if for no other reason than so we didn’t wonder why Tony Stark didn’t call in his new buddies to help get him out of a jam.

Director Black and star Downey, Jr. manage this by taking a lot of the focus off Iron Man and putting more of the emphasis on its pilot, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark. He’s rich, appallingly intelligent, dating a good and good-looking woman and he’s about to fall completely apart. He can’t sleep. He has anxiety attacks. And he’s hiding out from his best friend and soul mate, Pepper Potts.

It all goes back to the horrors he experienced over the skies of New York with his fellow Avengers. He almost died. He faced down gods, aliens and an atomic bomb. And just the thought of it is driving him crazy.

In the latest movie, Tony Stark is drawn into a terror campaign being waged by the Mandarin, who has the technical savvy to take over all airwaves and the ruthlessness to execute a man on live television just to prove a point. The Mandarin is played with chilling precision by Sir Ben Kingsley’s character. It’s a brilliant move, bringing Kingsley in for the role.

When Stark’s best friend and former bodyguard, Happy Hogan (played by Jon Favreau, the man who directed the first two films) is caught in one of the Mandarin’s teaching points (what we call an explosion), Stark flat-out challenges the Mandarin to try and stay alive with the Iron Man hunting him.

From that point on, things do not go well for Stark. Especially when a former girlfriend surfaces and says she believes her boss could be working for the Mandarin. And they’re both using an experimental formula she created called Extremis, which allows them to hack the human body, creating explosive super soldiers.

Most of the movie is taken up by Tony Stark, without his armor, trying to protect the one thing without which he cannot live: Pepper Potts. The rest of the country. . . Well, he’ll get to it. But a man has to have his priorities.

With Robert Downey, Jr., behind the most famous ‘stache in the world, I’d watch an entire movie of superspy Tony Stark running around inventing stuff. His interaction with just about everybody in the cast is nothing short of magnificent.

This dudes, is a fantastic movie. You need to go see it as quickly as possible. Heck, Hyper Lad, Zippy the College Boy and I even took She Who Must Be A Bit Skeptical About These Sorts Of Movies and she loved it.

This rates an easy 6 dudes out of five. Yeah, you read that right. It’s that good.

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Avenge This

by Richard

It’s something I find myself saying a lot: I’ve waited more than 33 years for an Avengers movie and this one was worth the wait. No, really.It’s true. Why I find myself repeating that all the time is another question entirely.

In all seriousness, the Avengers movie from Marvel Entertainment and the House of Pain (Sorry. I meant, Disney) came out about two weeks ago and blew past $1B in box office like it wasn’t even trying.

I’m not sure if this movie will have the staying power to surpass Avatar, which brought in about $2.78B in box office, but it’s certainly looking to be the highest-grossing movie in the superhero genre.

But, dudes? I really couldn’t care how much money this movie makes. It was magnificent! It was brilliant! It was explodey! It was funny! It was, in short, everything I ever wanted an Avengers movie to be. Mostly because it was real and not one of those movies that continue to exist in my imagination.

 

Building on the backs of the previous Marvel Universe movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America), this movie brought together these disparate characters, along with Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye and the omnipresent Nick Fury, mashed them all together with Loki, an invading army of aliens and a surprise villain, and produced a two-hour shot of pure awesome.

You know how, when a movie’s really, really, really good, people will clap when it ends? Yeah, the entire audience in my showing was hooting and hollering and clapping and cheering during the movie. In fact, there were two scenes (both involving the breakout star of the movie — that 7-foot green rage monster known as the Hulk) that were possibly the funniest scenes I’d seen in years at a movie. And that included several alleged comedies.

This one had it all. Great dialogue. Actual characters. Amazing spectacle. Humor. Danger. Action and thrills. And even a tiny bit of pathos.

And, like any good entertainment based on the eternal now of comic-book storytelling, it left us with goosebumps with the small mid-credits cameo scene of the bad dude behind it all. You might not know who it was if you weren’t a big Avengers fan prior to the movie, but, trust me, this is a big deal.

If you don’t recognize that character, just run your select over the following white text: Thanos, the mad god of Titan. He’s so bad, his girlfriend is Death. Literally.

So, yeah. It’s a big deal.

Even with all the explodey bits, I think it remains a great family film provided your little dudes are older than, say, 5 and can handle the loud noises.

Go see this now. In the theaters. When it’s as big a spectacle as it should be.

As big a spectacle as it needed to be, after I had to wait most of my life for it.

You’ll be glad you did.

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