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Review: Captain America: Civil War

It doesn’t get much better than this. And I say that fully believing that Marvel can go even bigger, better and more exciting. If after more than ten movies deep into their film slate, Marvel can still produce something as amazing as Captain America: Civil War, then the future remains as bright as ever. This is the epic, spectacular, big bombast superhero movie that Marvel has been building towards all these years.

Movie Rating: 9/10 – Great.

Captain America: Civil War is a glorious mix of spectacle and drama, combining some of the most touching and important character work in the entire franchise with quite possibly the greatest bout of superhero action to ever grace the silver screen. The centerpiece ‘war’ between heroes at the abandoned airport is worth the price of admission alone. It’s worth of price of admission to every Marvel movie we’ve seen so far, building on almost each and every film to instill real emotional heft to these characters and their punches.

When Captain American, Iron Man and their allies face off in Civil War, there is real history behind it. We’ve seen the previous movies. We’ve seen the friendships and rivalries grow and build and strain. We’ve seen Steve Rogers and Tony Stark get testy in The Avengers. We’ve watched Black Widow’s character arc from the sidelines of other movies. We’ve seen Ant-Man consider calling the Avengers for help. This has been a journey.

Civil War is a movie for Marvel fans, for the people who have seen all their movies and probably held mini-marathons to gear up for this new one. It’s not ashamed of that focus, and it shouldn’t be. Marvel is producing a masterpiece on a scale never before imagined, and they’re pulling it off with such skill and excitement that I almost feel bad for other movies.

Like, do any of the previous Spider-Man movies even matter anymore? Batman v. Superman surely doesn’t.

Join me after the jump for the full review. There will be SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War.

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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 10/31/15

Happy Halloween! I hope all you ghosts, ghouls and superheroes have a lot of fun today! Halloween is my favorite holiday because of the insanely awesome pageantry involved. It’s just so much fun! Too bad we didn’t get any spooky comics this week…at least not in my regular pile. I should start reading Wytches maybe.

Word of note, before we begin: there won’t be any reviews next Saturday! Yours truly is going on vacation to London next week, and I won’t get any comics! I’ll still try to get some videos up, and a couple Lists of Six, but we’re skipping comic reviews next week. It’s for the best.

Fortunately, this week was pretty darn good. Batgirl #45 wins Comic Book of the Week for a lovely wedding issue.

Let’s make the magic happen!

Always good to see more diverse weddings and love stories in comics! We’ve come a long way since Northstar got married.

Comic Reviews: Angela: Queen of Hel #1, Batgirl #45, Batman and Robin Eternal #4, Chewbacca #2, Grayson #13, Sam Wilson: Captain America #2 and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1.

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Falcon and Crossbones are Looking Pretty Fly

See what I did there? I hope so, because I’m rather proud of that pun. Either way, filming is under way for Captain America 3: Civil War, and photographic sleuths have captured the first images of Falcon and Crossbones in costume — and they look pretty great!

Falcon is sporting his full costume from the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. I like it! Falcon has had some pretty bad costumes in his comic book career, so I’m excited for this more realistic, mechanical looking suit. I’m also grateful that they did mix in some red and white.

Sadly, no Redwing…yet

Actor Anthony Mackie has been great as Sam Wilson, so I’m excited to see him return for the threequel.

Actor Frank Grillo also looks pretty intense as supervillain Crossbones, a carry over from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Remember the semi-friendly SHIELD agent who turned out to be a bad guy, Brock Rumlow? He’s back as Crossbones in the new movie.

Though I’m a little disappointed in how suited up he is. Crossbones, especially recently, usually wears standard military-esque gear with just a skull mask. This costume is full-on super-villain.

Super-villain style

And check out those gauntlets on his hands! Probably meant for punching the super soldier Captain America.

Civil War is going to be an exciting film! Too bad we have to wait a whole year! It’s a good thing we have Ant-Man to tide us over.

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Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron is like a new episode of the biggest, most expensive TV show of all time. It’s not the event that the first movie was, and it might not be as Earth-shattering as I expected, but Age of Ultron is nonetheless a fun, exciting and action-packed movie starring all of our favorite superheroes. And therein lies my biggest complaint, which is really a non-complaint.

There’s a familiarity to Age of Ultron that leads to contentment. The movie doesn’t really give us anything new to get excited about, instead delivering just another solid chapter in this ongoing saga.

Movie Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

I liken Age of Ultron to a TV show because that’s exactly what it felt like while I was watching. I may have been in a packed movie theater, and it’s been three years since the last episode, but Ultron was definitely the ‘monster-of-the-week’ in the latest episode of The Avengers. All of our favorite characters are back, their friendly, comfortable banter is exactly what we’d expect, and everything is more or less tied up in a nice, tidy bow by the end. Lessons are learned, a little romance is slipped in, and now we just sit back and wait for the next episode.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way with any movie sequel before. It’s a weird feeling.

But the episodic feel doesn’t keep the movie from being entertaining. It’s an exciting film from beginning to end. In the big picture sense, the movie is amazing. But when you step back and really think about all the moving parts, it’s not without some flaws. Director Joss Whedon juggles a few too many characters, so that some get a lot of attention — like Hawkeye, in some standout moments — while others are little more than props — like Thor, who spends most of his time dropping hints about future movies.

The new characters are a mixed bag. The titular villain, Ultron, is too entertaining to be menacing. That’s an odd way to describe a super villain, but it’s exactly how actor James Spader pulls it off.

I like Age of Ultron, a lot. It’s not as good at the first Avengers film, largely because the spectacle has worn off, but also for a lot of little reasons. Yet overall, it’s another exciting film in my favorite franchise of all time, despite those little reasons.

Join me after the jump for my full, detailed review. And there will be SPOILERS!

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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 10/4/14

Welcome to a week of firsts! I don’t know if it’s divine intervention or some kind of back room deal, but both Marvel and DC delivered a huge number of new starts and #1 issues this week, which sounds to me like a solid foundation for this week’s reviews. There were so many firsts I couldn’t even get to them all, but I think I picked a nice smattering of titles.

We’ve got #1 issues for the new Thor, Gotham Academy, Guardians 3000, Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier and Lobo, some of which are really good, some of which are mediocre, and at least one of which is the worst comic I’ve ever reviewed in this column! I also included the new Captain America issue, which debuted Sam Wilson as the new Cap!

Thank Stephen Colbert

Comic Book of the Week goes to Gotham Academy for being both adorable and mysterious in pretty much equal measure. That’s a good start for any comic.

I’m going to warn you fine folks in advance though…be careful of my reviews this week. You know I’ve been sticking it out with Batman Eternal since the beginning, but this week…man…I get a little ranty. Keep reading if you dare…

Comic Reviews: Batman Eternal #26, Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1, Captain America #25, Gotham Academy #1, Guardians 3000 #1, Lobo #1 and Thor #1.

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