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Posts Tagged ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – Michael Giacchino

July 17, 2019 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

With Avengers Endgame having smashed almost every box office record in existence, it was always going to be difficult for Marvel to build on that movie’s enormous success. The two-part Avengers finale was one of those rare things that is both a commercial and cultural touchstone; it also marked the end of the ‘Third Phase’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which the existential threat of Thanos was finally eliminated, and the circle of movies that began with Iron Man in 2008 ended with Iron Man’s death. Spider-Man: Far From Home, despite being officially the last part of Phase III and the 23rd Marvel film overall, is actually something of a coda, acting both as a rumination on the events of Endgame and as a bridge to the Phase IV series which is scheduled to begin in 2020; it also seems to have successfully maintained the interest that peaked with Avengers, enjoying huge box office takings and good critical reviews. The film is set 8 months after Endgame and again stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man; he is still coming to terms with Tony Stark’s death and longs just to be a normal teenager again. As such, he agrees to go on a trip to Europe with his high school classmates, including his potential girlfriend MJ (Zendaya); unfortunately, Peter can’t escape from his responsibilities even there, and is called upon by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assist a multi-dimensional warrior named Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) in saving the world from creatures that wreak havoc by controlling the power of the four elements. The film is directed by Jon Watts and has an original score by Michael Giacchino. Read more…

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – Alan Silvestri

April 30, 2019 8 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

When Marvel and Paramount Pictures made and released the movie Iron Man in the spring of 2008, I doubt anyone involved had any inkling of what would occur over the course of the next 11 years. To put it bluntly, Marvel and its controlling executive Kevin Feige revolutionized the movies, not only in terms of technical advancement, but in how movies are made and released. Over the course of the next decade the Marvel Cinematic Universe expanded into an interlocking series of 22 movies, most of which reference back to one another, and which follow a group of super-heroes as they defend the Earth from various threats, foreign, domestic, and inter-galactic. There have been hundreds of articles written about what this has done to the very nature of cinema, how potential ‘expanded universes’ are now designed into the development of every new franchise, and whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m not going to go into this here – but I will say this: I doubt I will ever see a storytelling effort more ambitious than this in my lifetime. The combined Marvel movies have grossed more than $18 billion worldwide, and this final one – Avengers: Endgame – looks poised to be the biggest of them all. Read more…

CAPTAIN MARVEL – Pinar Toprak

March 12, 2019 5 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Captain Marvel is being touted as a game-changing film in a number of important ways. As the 21st official entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series of films that began with Iron Man in 2008, it’s the first to be led by a female protagonist, and the first to have a female director, with Anna Boden co-directing alongside Ryan Fleck. In an era where the promotion of woman-centric films and female filmmakers has been such a major issue in Hollywood this is encouraging, but it’s also sobering that this is such news, by way of the fact that this hasn’t been done before. Assuming that Captain Marvel is the gigantic box office hit that many expect it to be, going forward one would hope that male and female filmmakers are given the same opportunities to succeed as each other, in an environment where talent and creativity are more important than gender, and where female protagonists in films are just part of the norm and not rare events that need to be singled out for special praise. Read more…

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – Alan Silvestri

May 18, 2018 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

Avengers: Infinity War is, essentially, the culmination of a 10-year project overseen by producer Kevin Feige, the likes of which had never been attempted before in the history of cinema. Of course there have been long-running franchises before – Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings – but the development and growth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite something to behold: it’s a series of 19 theatrical movies and 10 related TV shows, all of which feature the origin stories and subsequent adventures of a vast array of super heroes who come together periodically to face down an array of threats which jeopardize the future of the Earth and, in some cases, the entire galaxy. Each individual story is planned to fit within a specific timeline charting the development of each character, they all feature interlocking plot strands and cross-references, and they have all been leading to this film. Read more…

BLACK PANTHER – Ludwig Göransson

February 20, 2018 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The utter dominance of comic book action movies at the American box office continues with the success of Black Panther, the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s the origin story of a character who appeared for the first time in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, and explores the history of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, which is the most technologically advanced civilization on Earth thanks to its unlimited supplies of the metal vibranium, but pretends to be a poor third world country to hide its power. Chadwick Boseman plays T’Challa, the new King of Wakanda, who takes up the mantle of the Black Panther after his father’s death in Captain America: Civil War; returning home to begin leading his country, T’Challa finds himself facing a threat in the shape of Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a mercenary with ties to Wakanda, whose actions send the entire country into a civil war of its own. The film co-stars Lupita Nyongo, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Sterling K. Brown, and Andy Serkis, and is directed by Ryan Coogler. Read more…

THOR RAGNAROK – Mark Mothersbaugh

November 3, 2017 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Thor Ragnarok is, quite astonishingly, the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fifth in Marvel’s Phase 3 series, and the third film focusing on the character Thor, the Norse God of Thunder. Chris Hemsworth returns to the title role, and in this installment finds himself having to escape from the clutches of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), the ruler of the planet Sakaar, who has enslaved Thor, forcing him to compete in a series of gladiatorial games. Meanwhile, the city of Asgard has been taken over by Hela the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett), Thor’s long-exiled sister, whose merciless rule is threatening to bring about the prophesized ‘ragnarok’ – the destruction of Asgard and the death of the Gods. The film co-stars Tom Hiddlestone, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins, and is directed by New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – Michael Giacchino

July 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been just fifteen years since Hollywood released its first big-screen movie about the popular comic book super hero Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire took the web-slinger through his first three iterations before the story was ‘re-booted’ and the Spidey suit was passed on to Andrew Garfield for The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012. He only lasted for two movies as now, building from his cameo appearance in Captain America: Civil War, the character has now been re-booted for a second time in order to facilitate his full introduction into the Avengers universe. The new Peter Parker/Spider-Man is played by English actor Tom Holland, and the film is another “origin story” of sorts, in which Parker tries to prove his worth to the de-facto leader of the Avengers, Tony Stark/Iron Man, by battling with super-villain Adrian Toomes/Vulture, while simultaneously dealing with the usual high school issues faced by a 15-year-old kid. The film co-stars Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., and Marisa Tomei, and is directed by Jon Watts. Read more…

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 – Tyler Bates

May 9, 2017 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in which writer/director James Gunn blends epic space action and special effects with broad comedy and a whole host of unresolved daddy issues. In the aftermath of the events of the first film, the Guardians – Star Lord Peter Quinn (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and the newly-sprouted Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) – are now working as heroes for hire, saving planets for a price. Unfortunately for the Guardians, the aftermath of their most recent job results in them running from the haughty and arrogant High Priestess of the Sovereigns (Elizabeth Debicki), space pirate Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), and Gamora’s vengeful sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), all of whom have different reasons for wanting to find the Guardians. Unexpectedly, the Guardians receive help from an omnipotent and powerful creature named Ego (Kurt Russell), who claims to be Quinn’s father… Read more…

DOCTOR STRANGE – Michael Giacchino

November 11, 2016 4 comments

doctorstrangeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Doctor Strange is the fourteenth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series of super-hero films that includes the Iron Man, Captain America, and Avengers franchises, and is the first to depict the origin story of a completely new character since Ant-Man last year. Directed by Scott Derrickson, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon, whose life is shattered when he severely damages both his hands in a car accident. Seeking new and experimental procedures so that he can fix his hands and resume his career, Strange eventually finds his way to Nepal where he meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a student of the so-called Ancient One (Tilda Swinton); however, rather than simply fix his physical injuries, the Ancient One sees further potential in Strange, and begins to train him in various mystical arts which allow him to enter the astral plane, conjure objects out of pure energy, manipulate reality, and even bend time. Eventually, Strange’s proficiency in these new abilities bring him into conflict with Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of the Ancient One, who now seeks to use his powers in the service of evil. Read more…

ANT-MAN – Christophe Beck

July 30, 2015 2 comments

ant-manOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A wholly unlikely new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man is the latest super hero film to hit the silver screen. Originally created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby for the comic ‘Tales to Astonish’ in 1962, this first big-screen adventure for the character focuses on cat burglar Scott Foley, whose efforts to put aside his life of crime are stymied by his inability to hold down a regular job, jeopardizing his relationship with his daughter Cassie. Talked into committing “one last job” by his former cellmate Luis, Scott breaks into a house to steal a safe, unaware that the house belongs to scientist and inventor Hank Pym, who has created a suit which will shrink the wearer down to the size of an ant, while simultaneously giving him super-human powers. Unbeknownst to Scott, Pym – who became the original Ant-Man in 1963 – has manipulated events so that he can convince Scott to become a new Ant-Man, and help him retrieve the shrinking technology from his former protégé, the ruthless Darren Cross, who has stolen it, and intends to it sell to agents of Hydra. The film is directed by Peyton Reed, stars Paul Rudd as Foley, Michael Douglas as Pym, Corey Stoll as Cross, and Evangeline Lilly as Pym’s daughter Hope Van Dyne, and has an original score by Christophe Beck. Read more…

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON – Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman

May 5, 2015 7 comments

avengersageofultronOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Avengers: Age of Ultron, the eleventh film in the series since the first Iron Man film in 2008, and the second film featuring all the main characters after the first Avengers movie in 2012. Directed by Joss Whedon, the film sees the six heroes – Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – teaming up to take on Ultron (James Spader), a sentient robot created as part of an Earth defense system by Stark, which achieves consciousness and decides that the only way to save the Earth is to eradicate humanity. It’s a visual extravaganza, filled with spectacular special effects, complicated action sequences, and plenty of witty banter between the protagonists, as well as a host of cameos from earlier Marvel films, and the introduction of several new characters which will play larger roles in future movies. Read more…

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – Tyler Bates

August 5, 2014 12 comments

guardiansofthegalaxy-scoreOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I have waited for 15 years, ever since I heard his first major score for the 1999 film Rated X, to type the following sentence: finally, after all these years, here is a Tyler Bates score I enjoy quite a lot. I have made no secret of the fact that I have found the vast majority of Bates’s work over the past decade pretty underwhelming. Ignoring the controversy surrounding his work on 300, scores like The Day the Earth Stood Still, Watchmen, and Conan the Barbarian had the conceptual and thematic potential to inspire truly terrific music, but ended up being disappointments of the highest order. Guardians of the Galaxy, thankfully, is a significant step forward. While still lagging behind the upper echelons of the film scoring world, and despite still suffering from a curious lack of individual personality, it is nevertheless the best score of Bates’s career to date by a country mile, making use of a big orchestra, a big choir, electronics, and some rock and 1980s pop elements, all brought together under the banner of a rousing central theme. Read more…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – Henry Jackman

March 20, 2014 19 comments

captainamericathewintersoldierOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Once upon a time there was a director who, along with some friends – a writer, a cameraman, some actors – made a movie. It doesn’t matter what the movie was about. It could have been about aliens, or cowboys and indians, or a young couple suffering through a rocky relationship, or a bank robbery gone wrong. Whatever it was about, the director wanted to make the best movie he could make, and for the audience who saw that movie to care about the characters, and to empathize with the emotions they felt. At some point, he approached a composer, in order to give that film a musical voice. The composer – who was well-versed in musical theory and composition – was as much of a storyteller as the director was, and wanted to enhance the film with his music; to bring out subtle emotions so the audience could feel them, to highlight subtexts that acting alone could not convey, to make it a better film than it would be without the music being there. Read more…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER – Alan Silvestri

August 19, 2011 5 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Growing up as I did in the UK, the comic book adventures of Captain America didn’t mean very much to me. I was aware of the character, of course, and vaguely remember seeing the 1990 film starring Matt Salinger, but beyond that my knowledge of the comics, and the hoopla surrounding him was nonexistent. It turns out that he’s actually something of an icon; since his first appearance in print in 1941 – when he was depicted landing a right slug on Hitler’s jaw – he has grown to become a true all-American hero beloved by millions, with a large fan base that endures to this day.

This new version of the Captain America story – the last of the series of Avengers prequels that also includes Thor, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk – stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, an ambitious and brave wannabe soldier in 1940s America who is continually turned down for military service due to his scrawny build. After impressing scientist Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) with his determination, Rogers is selected to take part in a top-secret science experiment that intends to breed a genetically enhanced battalion of super soldiers that will help turn the fortunes of World War II in the favor of the Allies. Read more…

THOR – Patrick Doyle

May 4, 2011 8 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An epic comic book action-fantasy based on Norse mythology. Kenneth Branagh in the director’s chair. Patrick Doyle providing the score. For film music fans Thor was a mouth watering prospect that promised to be one of the most exciting and adventurous scores of the year. The film stars Chris Hemsworth as the eponymous hero, who is cast out of the Norse god stronghold Asgard after disobeying his father, King Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Arriving on Earth, and no longer able to channel the power of his hammer Mjolnir, Thor teams up with scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in an effort to reclaim his power and return to Asgard in time to stop his duplicitous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from overthrowing Odin. The film, which also features Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore and Samuel L. Jackson, is part of the Marvel Avengers series of movies which includes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and the upcoming Captain America, and will culminate in a combined Avengers movie slated for 2012. Read more…