Posts Tagged ‘Captain America’

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So, the second big superhero faceoff movie of the summer is here, and it is an overwhelming experience. Does that equate to a cinematic success, or an overburdened stumble? You’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Captain America: Civil War begins with an operation in Nigeria to capture Brock Rumlow, aka Crossbones. The plan goes south and results in the deaths of many civilians, and in the wake of the previous destruction New York (Avengers), Washington, DC (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and Sokovia (Avengers: Age of Ultron), the United Nations drafts a resolution to keep powered individuals in check and hold them responsible for their actions. This film is the culmination of eight years of Marvel Cinematic Universe story lines. I sincerely mean that. There are story threads here that started in the very first Iron Man movie and have worked their way through most of the films since.

The Russo brothers craft an intense action epic here. The fight set-pieces are over the top and everything that I would expect from a large-scale superhero film. But it’s not all fighting, there’s a deeper emotional element to the movie as well. Captain America (Chris Evans) stands firm on the idea that the Avengers are best left alone, and not at the mercy of a UN task force who picks and chooses where they should and should not intervene. On the other hand Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), suffers from immense guilt after the events of Age of Ultron and argues that the heroes need some rules and guidelines to live by. It’s so difficult to pick a side and deem one as the “bad guy” because both of their arguments have merit, and that’s where the true conflict of this story lies.

Evans and Downey give solid performances as the two leads, and the personal conflict between their two characters is realistic. However, the true standout performance in this movie is Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther. The character gets a fitting introduction, and Boseman plays him well, often stealing scenes from some of the other heavy hitters in the film. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is a fun and light-hearted take on the character, and the young actor plays it well, even if the character’s inclusion in the film feels just slightly tacked on.

I do have a couple of complaints about the movie. For one, I feel the writers played the story a little too safely. I almost wish they would have taken a few more risks and made the stakes for these characters a little higher. A little more uncertainty would definitely make the future of the franchise a little more fun to anticipate. Secondly, while I feel the movie worked as a whole, parts of it did seem a little overstuffed. Not nearly to the extent of certain other superhero movies this year *cough*BatmanvsSuperman*cough*, but crowded nonetheless.

At the end of the day, Disney, Marvel, and the Russos prove that a big budget hero vs. hero movie can work, but it’s not something that can be done overnight.  As I mentioned before, Civil War is the culmination of nearly a decade of story lines. These characters have known and interacted with one another frequently in that time span, tensions and relationships have been built, and that makes a whole lot more sense than these icons just instantly hating one another. It’s not without its flaws, but it sure was a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

The Verdict for Captain America: Civil War:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Marvel’s comic event of the Spring kicks into high gear as former Captain America, Steve Rogers, learns a secret so devastating it could shake up the Marvel universe in a very big way.

Writer Nick Spencer delivers on the mystery and intrigue in the opening book of this mini-series. For fans who read the prelude book, Welcome to Pleasant Hill, we already have a pretty good idea of what’s going on, but it is fun to watch as the writer strings Steve Rogers along, leaving little breadcrumbs for him to find that eventually lead him to the bigger reveal. The story is definitely not heavy on the action, but I don’t think it needs to be. Based on the titles slated to be a part of this event, this issue seems like it’s more of a bookend, and most of the action will probably happen in the tie-ins.

The artist here is Jesus Saiz, and he does a solid job. As previously mentioned, there wasn’t a whole lot of action in this issue, so he had to do a lot of expression drawing, and close in shots. Fortunately, Saiz seems to be pretty good at those, which made reading through this issue a lot more pleasant than it could have been.

Overall, I like this story and where it seems to be going, but I still wonder if maybe the conceit was revealed a bit too early. I can’t help but ask what else the creators have in store for us. One thing is for sure though, I will be along for the ride to find out.

The Verdict for Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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One of the most anticipated new titles for Marvel’s relaunch dropped last Wednesday with All-New All Different Avengers #1.  This issue finds the new team lineup all sort of doing their own thing, until Iron Man, Captain America (Sam Wilson), and Spider-Man (Miles Morales) are brought together through some strangely incidental circumstances.  We also get a very brief scene involving Ms. Marvel and Nova, but Thor and the Vision are strangely absent here despite their presence on the issue’s cover.  As far as a “team” goes, it looks like we’re not quite there just yet with this group.

Writer Mark Waid gives us a slightly disjointed tale in this comic.  As mentioned above there is a VERY brief introductory scene and then the book more or less jumps straight into the action which apparently led up to that moment.  There is no real team just yet, but Stark and Cap have an interesting discussion regarding the lack of a team carrying the official Avengers name, and I have my ideas as to where the story will go from here.  The narrative does jump around a little bit, and some characters just happen to be in the right place at the right time, which seems to be slightly contrived.  The main villain seems to show up out of nowhere, so I’m hoping future issues will give a little backstory, because there seem to be a lot of holes that need filling.

Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar take the art chores here and both do a solid job.  Kubert gets the main part of the story, and Asrar gets a little back story in the final pages detailing the first meeting of Ms. Marvel and Nova.  Asrar does particularly well with the more personal story and the facial emotions of the characters involved.  Kubert does well with the larger action story, where he’s really able to show his talent for expressing movement and big events.

To be honest, I kind of wished they might have started a little bit slower.  I get the desire to jump right in and get people attracted to the action, but it doesn’t leave much room for the characters to get to know one another and interact on that more personal level.  That being said, I’m only one issue into this storyline, so my sincere hope is that there will be more personal moments between the characters in the upcoming issues to really establish solid relationships with one another.  If the current model continues this series will be lots of style with little substance.  I did enjoy the issue, but I would have liked a little more story.

The Verdict for All-New All-Different Avengers #1:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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More All New, All Different Marvel today with Captain America: Sam Wilson #1.  First, the backstory: During Rick Remender’s recent stint on Captain America, Steve Rogers lost his super soldier serum in a fight with the villain Iron Nail.  Losing the serum caused his body to age to the state that it would be at were he not suspended in the ice for all those years.  His mind stayed sharp, but physically, he just couldn’t keep up with the demands of the Captain America persona.  Realizing this, Steve decided to pass the shield onto the person he trusted most, Sam Wilson, a.k.a. The Falcon.  In this series’ debut issue, which takes place nearly a year after the end of the Secret Wars event, Sam finds himself at odds with SHIELD, and working with super powered P.I. Misty Knight, but Sam will have to rise above it all to combat a hyper-nationalistic terrorist group operating in the American southwest.

Nick Spencer handles the writing duties here, and he tells the story in an interesting fashion.  There are multiple narrative threads in this issue, one that tries to explain how things got to this point, another that tells the story of Cap’s fight with the Sons of the Serpent in Arizona, and a third that shows the results of the fight.  For the most part, they are pretty well intertwined, but there can be some slight confusion in the switching back and forth.  Also, I know it’s only the first issue, but so far I really like the direction that Spencer is taking the book.  I’m definitely a fan of Steve Rogers, but Sam Wilson and his mentality are a breath of fresh air for the Star Spangled Avenger.

Daniel Acuna takes care of the art on the series.  He takes kind of a middle of the road approach as the work isn’t too cartoonish and over the top, nor is it really dark and gritty.  The lines are slightly undefined, which seems to act in conjunction with the stances that Sam takes in the story.  Steve Rogers saw the world in very clearly defined terms of black and white, good and bad, but Sam sees the grey areas.  He knows that the good aren’t always as good as they seem, nor are the “bad guys” really the true enemy.

I know this issue received a lot of controversial press for some of its content, but I think it’s a story we need to read and examine closely.  Spencer takes the the hero in a new direction that reflects where we as a society are going in terms of ideas and mentalities not necessarily being as clear as they may initially seem, and it’s a great story at the same time.  I really look forward to where this arc and extended story are going to go.

The Verdict for Captain America: Sam Wilson #1:
5 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.