Showing posts with label Captain America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Captain America. Show all posts

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cap'n Watch: Captain America - Civil War


I re-watched Captain America: Civil War because I bought the BluRay.

In general, I like this movie quite a bit.  But I've written on it twice this year, so that seems like plenty.

The image above appears on a t-shirt my mother purchased for me.  She's generous to a fault, but she usually is on the side of "you have plenty of Super-America Man stuff" which is usually followed by an unprompted "Poor Jamie" and a look of pity tossed Jamie's way.

But... My mom bought me this.  I wear it all the time because - yeah, I like it fine on its own, but sometimes it really is the thought that counts.

Thanks, Ma!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Marvel Re-Watch: Captain America - Civil War (2016)



With a Monday afternoon off for Memorial Day, Jamie and I weighed whether we'd be seeing X-Men: Apocalypse versus anything else.  Jamie, a solid fan of Cap and luke-warm on X-folk, pushed for Cap as she wanted to see it again on the big screen, and as I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the last go-round, I was more than happy to agree.  We'll catch X-Men soon enough, and I have a post brewing as to 'why' when we're kinda not huge X-nerds in 2016.

There isn't much to say that I didn't already say, except that on a second viewing, when I wasn't just trying to keep up with the rocket-propelled trajectory of the movie, a lot of things that felt like bullet-point plot points as they went along suddenly felt much more organic.  Cap's arguments for non-compliance not only held up better on a second-viewing, but the death of Peggy, which I took as mostly an emotional beat in the first viewing, I now could see how that scene was really about Sharon quoting Peggy and giving Steve the resolve he needed in his moment of crisis.  The best person from the point in his life where he found his true self was speaking to him via her niece.

And, speaking of that niece, there's a lot more goo-goo eye stuff going on between Sharon and Steve - and, in fact, her very cooperation with Steve suddenly doesn't seem so much like a "doing a pal a solid" as her clearly breaking protocols for this guy.  They just don't actually say anything before that first kiss, and so it is a bit less jarring once you catch the interplay a bit better.

But the race to save Bucky feels far more grounded on a second viewing as well.  Steve's intentions felt more clear, and his insistence on saving Bucky somehow feels less like "well, because he's the good guy" and because of that shared history, even as he seems to know Bucky may actually be guilty and may actually kill him this time.

Anyway, I highly recommend catching the movie again.  I watch all the Marvel movies more than once not just because - hey, sometimes I pick up things I missed before - but it's fun stuff to see again, especially in the theater.  It's really amazing how well Marvel has managed these movies, film after film, finding just the right talent for each role and directors to fit the film.

More on what I'm getting out of these movies in a future post.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

On that whole "Steve Rogers is and has always been secretly an evil agent" stuff



I don't believe Steve Rogers has secretly been pulling the wool over our eyes or Marvel's hero who just raked in a billion dollars at the box office has actually been an Agent of Hydra all along or whatever it is Tom Brevoort, Marvel's personal Salacious Crumb, said to the New York Times.

Yes, Captain America was designed by two Jewish guys to punch Hitler in the face, and, yes, of course, if Marvel were actually turning him into a villain longterm, it'd be kinda gross.  But, y'know, comics.  I'm pretty sure it's some usual sci-fi comics monkeyshines, Cosmic Cube business or time travel or whatnot, and by tale's end, we'll all be back to normal.

What I'm irritated about is that I can't actually remember the last time I read a good Steve Rogers story about Steve Rogers being Steve Rogers.  Don't worry - it's not limited to Steve Rogers - I'm pretty sure DC hasn't had Superman as Superman in an in-continuity comic in at least four years, and before that we had Superman walking America (Grounded Part 1 = garbage, Grounded Part 2 = pretty darn good), Superman not being Superman for a year in the comics because New Krypton, Superman with no powers...  And, if I never felt like the New 52 Superman was Superman, well, it seems like DC is set to confirm that suspicion).

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Marvel Watch: We Admit We Watched "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) for the 5 Billionth Time


Oh, FX Network.  I know when you aren't playing some of my favorite shows (Fargo, The Americans, Louie, Baskets...) your other primary job seems to be playing Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) on what seems to be an infinite loop.  You're following the 1990's TBS Raiders of the Lost Ark model, and it worked for them there, and it's working for you here.

I don't always write up or post when I watch a movie on cable, especially if its one I've seen before, especially multiple times, as I usually wander in after the beginning and don't always make it to the end.  But CA: The First Avenger is one that  I seem to turn on as I'm flipping channels, some time will pass and suddenly and I'll realize I'm finding myself watching Peggy Carter talking to Steve about meeting him at the Stork Club as the Flying Wing plunges into the Atlantic.

I wouldn't say this is a perfect movie from a technical standpoint - and the CGI breaks down here and there (even as Skinny Steve still looks seamless to me).  But, man, it works for me.  And not just because of Hayley Atwell (which doesn't hurt).

What's funny is that, oh, gee... I guess back in 2009 when they were talking about this movie getting made, there was all sort of concern that the amazingly savvy audiences of the modern era wouldn't take to Captain America as a character because of something or other about how much smarter we are in the 2010's than we were in the 1940's and that having something to do with being a decent human being no longer being a "relatable" trait for a character.*

Well, the marketing wasn't all there for this movie, and it didn't make a mint, but, boy howdy, the sequels did just fine, it seems.  And we got two good seasons of a spin-off TV show with Peggy Carter, which happened to be one of the few watchable things on network TV in the past couple of years.

Anyway, I dig this movie, and I should probably not just turn it on and leave it on as much as I do, but there you have it.



*I cannot tell you how annoyed I get at the idea that audiences of the modern era are more "sophisticated".  Watching a ton of TV doesn't make you more sophisticated, but it will train you to expect certain things.  I sat through two movies from the 1940's last night with an audience that giggled at anything they didn't understand like a herd of middle-school kids.   The techniques change and symbolism and execution change with technology and perception, but your hip, modern ideas are going to look positively quaint in fifteen years, so, get over yourself, you knobs.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Marvel Watch: Captain America - Civil War (2016)



Let''s be honest - if you're trying to look at Marvel movies as individual installments - you're utterly missing the point.  I suspect you're the sort of person who, while selecting a computer, asks the sales associate what gauge typewriter ribbon this contraption will require.  The strength of the Marvel U is the serial nature and continuity, something more traditional critics seem to balk at, continually expect to flounder, but then engage with once they get down to brass tacks in their discussion of the semi-annual Marvel release.  Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the culmination of the past decade's worth of Marvel studios box office success, tight narrative management, and editorial vision of a shared universe reflecting the best aspects of more than 50 years of Marvel comics.

I should point out right here that I still have not seen Batman v. Superman, so I'll do my best not to make any comparisons between this film and one I haven't seen.  It's not fair to either.

My relationship with the original Civil War comics from Marvel is not a great one.  I loved the art in the main series, but I didn't entirely buy either Cap or Tony suddenly coming to their respective positions, and due to events in recent Captain America comics - Steve had unmasked on camera and said his name directly into a microphone as a sign of strength while confronting terrorists (it was just post 9/11) - I didn't really think it made sense for him to be the standard bearer in the comics for being anti-government management.  After all, Steve has been roughly a government op for SHIELD since his return in the 64' era and getting his own title.

At the series' conclusion, it felt like they took dozens and dozens of comics, from the mini-series to the associated mini-series, to the in-continuity issue tie-in's, to tell a story which only really needed about 5-7 issues to tell.  And, at the conclusion of that series, I dropped Marvel as a line, except for, I think, Black Panther - which I only stuck with for a while longer, and then Cap.  They were headed into doing the same thing over again with another storyline (that Skrull dealy-o), and I just raised my hands and said "I can't afford this, and you need to do this better".

Thus, I was a bit skeptical when Marvel selected Civil War as the basis for its next storyline for Cap following Winter Soldier.  If I was cheered a bit, it was that I felt Winter Soldier was an entirely new story using pieces of the comics (which I'd enjoyed terrifically), maintaining the central conflicts and many of the characters while telling an entirely different story.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A "National Superhero Day" Tour of The Fortress


About three years ago I did a post where I took a bunch of photos of my collections.  But it's been a while, so I thought for National Superhero Day, I'd take some pics and show you where we're at today with the collections of The Fortress of Nerditude/ League HQ/ Signal Watchtower.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Captain America III Trailer, Just Because



Of course I'm excited about Captain America: Civil War.  It's a new Marvel movie, so I'll go see it.  Plus, it's a Captain America movie, which means I'll see it opening weekend.  Plus, it has The Falcon, Black Panther, Black Widow, Iron Man, War Machine and more.  So, I'm seeing it opening day at 7:30.  Tickets are secured.

I was not, of course, a fan of the actual Marvel Civil War comics, and I am concerned I'd have the same issues with this movie.  If Marvel wants to pretend it has any attachment to the real world, yes:  superheroes kinda sorta seem like they need to be regulated folks under the supervision of some sort of legal authority.  Otherwise, it's "person with an agenda and a mask on the street with lethal force at their disposal".  What made the Marvel Civil War comics all the more ridiculous was that Cap, who was a working government agent with no secret ID at the time of the series' release came down on the side of anarchic superheroes avoiding legal repercussion.

We live in a country of laws, sir.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Marvel Watch: Agent Carter - Season 2



Tuesday evening saw the conclusion of Season 2 of Marvel's Agent Carter, a short-run ABC television program.  ABC is, of course, a Disney company, and Marvel is also owned by Disney.

The show is a spin-off from the Captain America movies and a lodestone pointing to the mid-20th Century origins of the Marvel comic characters and the fictional origins of the doings of the Marvel Universe films.  If you're not keeping up (and both ratings and anecdotal evidence suggests you're not), Agent Carter follows the post-WWII, post-Captain America: The First Avenger doings of Special Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Science Reserve - the forebear of SHIELD.

You may remember Peggy as the uniformed sidekick to Tommy Lee Jones as Steve Rogers transformed into Captain America, who stayed on the radio with him as he piloted the Red Skull's plane into the Arctic.  Yes, yes, I was quite smitten with Agent Carter back during the first go-round, and I was a bit disappointed that - as we then jumped to the 21st Century, that was the last we were going to see of Peggy.  The film had written Peggy as pointing a new way forward for female characters in Marvel movies, and, Peggy was based on a character from the comics, who - in turn - reflected the sort of bad-assery women were displaying in all sorts of very, very real covert and resistance-fighting roles during WWII.

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Happy Birthday to Jack Kirby - Marvelous Marvel

A friendly reminder that in honor of Jack Kirby's birthday, you can donate today to the Heroes Initiative, an organization that helps freelance comics folk with financial support in times of need.

Click here to donate and see what else is going on today thanks to the Kirby4Heroes Campaign.

So, Jack Kirby more or less made up about 90% of the Marvel Universe that anyone cares about.  He didn't do Spider-Man and had limited contributions to Iron Man, but he drew up a whole lot else.

Way back before World War 2 and his own enlistment, Kirby went ahead and made-up a superhero to throw a punch at Hitler as a proxy for the slug Jack would have gladly thrown himself.




Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cap Watch: Captain America (1990)

Some time in 1989, with the success of Tim Burton's Batman now making the idea of superhero movies an attractive financial reality, I remember walking out of a movie and into the lobby of a local theater here in sunny Austin, Texas (Great Hills 8 then, The Arbor 8 now), and seeing the poster below:


While I was aware this was Marvel running to catch up with their own non-flying, non-laser slinging superhero, I was also pretty jazzed.  Captain America seemed pretty attainable as far as superheroes went.  I had vague memories of the 1979 movies, I'd been reading a little Cap here and there, and I really wanted to see someone smack bad guys with that shield.

Then, Spring and summer 1990 came and went, and no Cap movie materialized.  I was a bit of a showbiz follower, and I knew what it meant when a movie was delayed or shelved (it rarely meant they were holding onto the movie because they just forgot to release it).

Flash-forward to on evening after June 2002.  I had moved to Phoenix and was already up a little late,when the TV told me they were going to air the 1990 Captain America movie.  Rather than just set the DVR and go to bed, I sat up with the movie until the bitter end.

The film was grainy and desaturated, and I remember that slow sinking feeling of despair setting in that was once so common when it came to portrayals of superheroes on TV or in movies.

Honestly, if you didn't try to watch everything with a superhero in it prior to Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and Singer's X-Men, you will never really understand what it was like to be grateful for anything with a superhero in it somewhere outside of comics.  And if you came into superheroes with the Avengers movies, you are living in a very magical time, indeed.

Because for a long time, it seemed like a point of pride for movie makers to take the source material of a comic book superhero and obliterate it in favor of whatever the director felt like doing.  Sometimes this worked - and both the Burton and Nolan Batman movies work as movies even if they're not exactly Dark Knight Detective movies.  Prior to that, I'll admit that Superman had completely ignored much of the comics in favor of doing their own thing, but they did keep core elements in place enough that they managed to make the movie clearly a Superman flick.  Even Wonder Woman, which you guys know I think is the bees knees, rarely featured super-bad-guys and never any of her established villains.  It just hung tight to being a good show with a solid lead character.  And, it's safe to say, Lynda Carter and Christopher Reeve's takes on the characters wound up deeply impacting the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DCU.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cap Watch: Captain America II - Death Too Soon!

This evening we took in the second, not lesser, but - indeed - final installment of the TV movie exploration of Marvel's Sentinel of Liberty, Captain America in Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979).

The movie is perhaps even more of a curiosity than the prior attempt, but it's worth noting that Wonder Woman - which we sort of think of as fully formed, first aired as a TV movie with tennis-pro Cathy Lee Crosby as a jump-suited, blonde Wonder Woman prior to the decision to try another TV movie pilot with Lynda Carter, which led into the series (which had to switch networks and decades before the 1977 season, just to make life more complicated).

Things were a little different back when you had to actually be home to watch TV when it aired, and once it was gone, it was gone.

Cap DOES NOT let thugs take money from sweet old ladies.  No, really.

I genuinely feel this movie is better acted and directed than the origin story, and the plot plods along at a mosey instead of a painful death march.  I'm not saying this even good TV, but I am saying it didn't physically hurt to watch (even if I did end the movie with a migraine halo).

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cap Watch: Captain America (1979)

It's been a long time since I've seen this version of Captain America, but I am pretty sure that this was also my first real exposure to Ol' Wing Head.  What's weird is that I remember knowing who Cap was when I watched the movie, but I don't know why.  I didn't own any Captain America comics until 4th or fifth grade, so I guess I was watching those "throws his mighty shield" cartoons.



If I had to guess, this movie was intended as a bit of a pilot for a Captain America TV show, and the movie didn't get the eyeballs that they were hoping for.  This would have been after Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk were on TV, so there was recent precedent for making super-heroes work on TV in a dramatic context, as well as sci-fi concepts like The Bionic Woman/ Six Million Dollar Man franchises.  But, if I am going to pick nits, the primary difference between those shows and Captain America (1979) is that the Captain America movie is very, very not good.

The sins are many.  It nonsensically overcomplicates Cap's origin, strips it of any WWII-era ties, and goes all in on post-Watergate cynicism regarding patriotism while paradoxically insisting we "cram Captain America down their throats".

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Marvel Watch: Avengers - Age of Ultron

So... I had the benefit and/or handicap of seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron in its third weekend of release.  As always, a little context:

I was never a big Avengers reader growing up.  I was far more into Uncanny X-Men for my Marvel team book of choice, but I was also not a reader of Thor, Iron Man and most of the rest of the Avengers line up of characters, and only dipped in and out of Captain America, a book I had certain opinions about when it came to tone and what I was interested in reading.  Most of what I know about the Avengers comes from reading Marvel Super Heroes Role-Playing Game supplements and character guides, and via comic dork osmosis.

Thus, I don't have as many conceptual ideas regarding Avengers as I might about lots of other characters, especially from DC Comics.  But Marvel was always better about balancing character and plot, and so the Marvel characters have tended to be fixed points over the years in ways that DC characters so often seemed to struggle.  But if you ask me "what's Wanda Maximoff like?", I can give you a basic idea, and feel fairly confident, even if I only ever owned a dozen or so comics in which Wanda appeared.



The movie has taken it a bit on the chin from clickbait articles and folks looking to weigh in, and I was under the impression this installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was likely to be something endured to make sense of coming MCU movies.

But, you know, I actually liked it better than the first Avengers movie.

Marvel Watch: Captain America - The Winter Soldier (2014)



I'm way past the ability to discuss this movie from a critical standpoint.  Y'all know I'm a fan of the character and concept of Captain America, and with this movie, I felt like Marvel really finally got to the Steve Rogers I dig.  And, you know, people, all I want to see is the shockingly earnest Steve Rogers bounce his mighty shield off the cranium of a HYDRA agent.  And, here, I get that.

We're off to finally see Avengers: Age of Ultron, so Jamie threw this in the BluRay player this evening so we could review, I guess.  Whatever the reason, I am always up for this flick.  Goofy techno-thriller with 70's government paranoia that intentionally or otherwise has some curious parallels to the real world that, holy god, nobody ever seems to notice or talk about, Robert Redford out to remind everyone he gave up on handsomeness some time ago, Jenny Agutter showing up because, hey... who doesn't like Jenny Agutter?*

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Agent Carter Draws to a Close (and I'm a little sad)

I'm not sure how many episodes there wound up being of Agent Carter, or how many weeks.  I think the answer is "eight", but I didn't major in math, okay?

But it was a great ride, a lot of fun, and I really, really hope people who didn't watch the show during its televised run find it online.  I'd certainly be onboard for another 80 episodes, but I suspect nobody is asking me.



Most certainly tying into the Marvel Universe of both Captain America: The First Avenger and things to come in Captain America: The Winter Soldier - the show was not dependent on either for it's success, and stood alone as a rock solid entry in the Marvel U, working for me in a way that Agents of SHIELD, unfortunately, did not.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

SW Watches: Captain America (2011)

It had been a while since we watched 2011's Captain America (or, Captain America: The First Avenger, if you want to get fancy).  I mean, not that long a while, but we kind of forgot to watch it to get prepped for Agent Carter, which, it seems, people aren't watching in significant numbers.

Which... what are you people doing out there?  Stop watching CSI.




If you saw Captain America 2 this summer, the difference between the two movies is certainly striking.  One a warm-hearted nostalgic superhero romp in a world of skeleton-faced villains and good guys on one side and bad guys in black jodhpurs.  Heck, it's got a musical number.  And, of course, Cap 2 being all about the excesses and compromised values of shadow wars and secret power grabs.

I don't have much to add.  You guys know I'm in the bag for the Cap movies.

I'm still glad Marvel didn't see any reason they needed to make Cap edgy or extreme or whatever.  Even in the context of our throwback-nostalgic-era of the movie which people still like to think of in Capra-esque terms, and which the movie plays to, Steve is the idealist to the point of getting beat up on the regular for standing up for himself and for pushing back against bullies.  That adherence to ideals is refreshing not just in this movie, but puts Rogers on a whole other level, giving his allies something to cling to in the storm in the sequel.  It would have been great to see a bit more of Steve Rogers as baritone voiced leader and less as buddy-calling-on-his-friends in the first installment, because I think that informed a bit about how Cap was made the hapless straightman a bit in Avengers.   But Cap 2 certainly took a different tack on that, and I expect something different in the coming Avengers sequel.

And, of course, the movie introduced us to Agent Carter played by Haley Atwell, and that is a very good thing.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Here's something we haven't talked about yet - Avengers: Age of Ultron

Here's that new Avengers 2 Trailer



Looks pretty snazzy, and like Superman/ Batman better not bring a knife to this gunfight when the JLA forms here shortly.

Of the various Marvel movies, Avengers still isn't my favorite.  Doesn't have to be, because that's a lot of movies and I've liked all of them to some extent or other.  Even both versions of The Hulk (don't judge me).  So I'm not going to act like a goon and pretend for two seconds like I'm not pretty jazzed about this trailer and the ones that preceded it.

You may recall that I wasn't (and am not) much of an Avengers reader when it comes to the comics, so I don't have too many preconceived notions regarding Earth's Mightiest Heroes.  In fact, I'm still confused about what happened to Monica Rambeau - Captain Marvel as she was in the first Avengers comic I ever read (she had a rad power set).*

Anyway, this looks like a pretty crazy summer blockbuster.  It's interesting to watch the Marvel U gel and become something long known by comic fans but unknown in almost any other media.  And these Avengers movies that pull the whole thing together are a pretty great idea.

So, what have y'all been thinking when it comes to Avengers 2 and the Marvel Cinematic U?

*I may have a comic with her in it that's sitting on my coffee table that I just haven't read yet.  Is she in Mighty Avengers?


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Anybody Else Watch "Marvel's Agent Carter"?

Sure, if I was willing to bore you with my movie and TV habits of the past 18 months, I guess I'll do a post at some point regarding what television I've been watching.  This isn't that post.

I have tried Marvel's Agents of SHIELD on three... no.  Four separate occasions and have been unable to finish an episode, including the pilot.  Nothing about that show does anything for me, so it's been with - at best - a cautiously optimistic eye that I've been watching the development of Agent Carter.  Every once in a while in making a movie you capture lightning in a bottle, and certainly Haley Atwell's performance as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger seemed to be one of those occasions.   The part was well written, and Atwell did enough that not only is she one of the most memorable supporting characters in Marvel's expanded cinematic universe full of intergalactic gods and futuristic technology, Marvel Studios decided they could build a whole show around just Agent Carter.  So, Haley Atwell should feel pretty good about herself at the moment.