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The Avengers (2012): Movie Review

Marvel’s The Avengers is a box office hit, topping The Dark Knight’s midnight premier

The Avengers (2012 film)

The Avengers (2012 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

records and emerging as #1 opening weekend at $207,438,708 [1] in the United States and Canada alone. However, is this highly acclaimed film worth the hype? Or is it simply another blockbuster blown out of proportion? Even many of the staunchest critics agree – The Avengers is a superhero masterpiece.

Incorporating elements from the previous films, The Hulk, Iron Man, Iron Man II, Thor, and Captain America, The Avengers embodies a fantastic medley of the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes and villains, all the while, paving the way for the next installments. It is highly comedic and intensely action-packed, superior to the Transformers series which attempts a similar plot-line in Dark of the Moon.

The Avengers opens up with a most ominous, alien voice, rambling on about some plot which entails the power-hungry Loki, banished of Asgard, like something produced by Garage Band’s “deeper vocals” voice modifier. Following this singular introduction, we find SHIELD agents and scientists (some from Thor) working diligently at unlocking the secrets of the divine Tesseract, a source of seemingly ultimate and limitless power. Albeit, as one might expect of the suspenseful setting, their experimentation goes terribly wrong. The Asgardian device suddenly reacts with a violent burst of light and generates a portal, which may be likened to the destructive force which presumably annihilated the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, sending forth the vengeful Loki who is bent on conquering Earth with an army given him in return for the Tesseract. The available SHIELD agents surround the self-proclaimed “god,” albeit are disposed of by a few blasts of Loki’s newly acquired staff. Nick Fury arrives on the scene, shooting a few rounds in vain, whilst Loki uses his staff to mind-control the mercenary Hawkeye and Dr. Erik Selvig to aid in his escape. The next few moments are without respite – the SHIELD complex sinks underground, collapsing inward as a maelstrom, due to the effects of the Tesseract. Fury and company give chase, although lose their quarry and are forced to flee.

On less dramatic grounds, fan-favorite Tony Stark and his girlfriend Pepper Pots, are debating who deserves the most credit for Stark Tower – a top of the line, self-sufficient complex inspired by the reactor core. Amusing quarrel aside, SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson -promptly arrives with a briefing for Iron Man, in preparation for the “Avengers Initiative” – it would appear the world is once again in peril and only the aforementioned team of heroes can save it.

In another part of the world, Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), after dispatching with a Russian general, is sent to extract Dr. Bruce Banner (The Hulk), and Director Fury introduces Steve Rogers (Captain America) to the Initiative. The team slowly comes together as the peril grows greater, and there is much dissonance among the members, as they fight to recapture Loki, and then amongst themselves (Thor vs. Captain America & Iron Man) to retain him. All the while, the preparations for Loki’s army is nearly complete… will the team be able to come together and save the world, or will the alien apocalypse fall upon them?

The Avengers is a barrel of fun, with enough intrigue to keep the audience guessing until the end and a good portion of comedy to provide the necessary balance. It introduces [to the series] the developmental process of a team, rather than a single protagonist. The villain is likewise in control of a massive army and it is evident another power is pulling the strings at the start, adding depth. In this way, it separates itself from its superhero predecessors outside of the animated realm, attaining the claim by some that it is “the best superhero movie ever.”

Family Perspective

This time around, the violence gets a little bloody, with the death of a great number of characters (as opposed to those scenes which are given little reflection), some more evident than others which are merely suggested.

Language is fairly minimal, albeit a few curse words are used in the course of the film.

Natasha Romanoff, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, remains a source of eye-candy, albeit not as overt in as in the Iron Man films and much more of an independent protagonist. Her top, during the Russian interrogation, is low cut and gratuitous during fighting scenes, yet the “buck stops there” so to speak, in that the female form is not exploited for the vast remainder of the film (note: at the beginning, Pepper Pots wears “short-shorts,” she, however, plays a minor role in the film and takes up only a small fraction of screen time), aside from the skin tight suits.

The Avengers is better suited to teen and adult audiences, especially on account of much more mature conceptions and visuals.

Notable Quotations

“Earth’s mightiest heroes type-thing. / Yeah. Takes us awhile to get any traction, I’ll give you that one. But let’s do a headcount here. Your brother the demigod, the super soldier living legend who kind of lives up to the legend, a man with breathtaking anger management issues, a couple of master assassins, and you, big fella, have managed to [anger] every single one of them.” -Tony Stark to Loki

“You miss the point, there’s no throne. No version of this where you come on top.” -Tony Stark to Loki

“I’m in the middle of an interrogation, this moron is giving me everything.” -Black Widow

“I’m bringing the party to you. | I don’t see how that’s a party.” Iron Man | Black Widow

“How desperate are you? You call on such lost creatures to defend you. / It burns you to have come so close. To have the tesseract, to have power – unlimited power. And for what? A warm light for all mankind to share, and then to be reminded of what real power is.” -Loki

“Well, let me know if real power wants a magazine or something.” -Nick Fury

Christian Perspective

The Avengers delves deep into what it means to be a hero, as clashing egos and selfish motives are put aside for teamwork and integrity.

Captain America, Steve Rogers, stands for traditionalist, Christian America, when, after a remark is made about Loki and Thor’s “godhood,” retorts “I mean no disrespect ma’am, but there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that!” All the while calling for team to unite and realize their duty.

References are made to the macro-evolutionary theory, as Loki jokingly states he had thought “humans were more evolved” than they were behaving. Loki, furthermore, observes the depravity of man and the hopeless nature therein (without a remedy).

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Review)

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Image via Wikipedia

“A five minute game?”

-Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.)

“If you think you can manage it.”

-Professor Moriarty  (Jared Harris)

Take the world’s most famous detective, a singular and most riveting case, add an arch rival, comedic brother, and a medical companion with a knack for gambling – stir, bake for 25 minutes under the cover of a bullet proof oven and out will come a piping hot Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. 

Critical analyses go anywhere from five stars to zero – with a plethora of praises and distastes. The film takes an initiative of which its predecessor partially abstained. In the first film, one may recall a deal of action, yet the overall plot was filled with a rather supernatural air of mystery and peril, with Sherlock Holmes’ deductions casting light on a seemingly foggy night. Once the big reveal is made, we find a case of dramatic proportions.

“This is so deliciously complicated.”

-Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows rids itself of superstition and focuses entirely on action and rapidly-paced deductions. A war is on the brink, and only Sherlock Holmes can stop it. The stakes are higher than ever before, thus, an action film rendition of Conan Doyle’s literary feat is what we find at the theaters.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows opens onto a crowded London Street, following the urgent pace of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). With a singular-looking package in one hand, and a homeless gent following quick behind, we find ourselves immersed in a suspenseful endeavor. The man rushes up beside her, covertly steals her package, and warns there are two men behind Irene with “unsavory” motives. Sherlock Holmes is on the case with one of his many disguises. Irene makes a humorous jibe about Holmes’ apparent situation of poverty, then enters an empty alleyway and stops three men joining her. Irene takes back the rectangular package from Holmes and reveals the men are her guards, ensuring the safe delivery of the package. With a few flirtatious remarks and a kiss goodbye, she hurries off – leaving Holmes to deal with the formidable thugs. A fight immediately breaks out, and it is uncertain who has the upper hand. Sherlock knocks one man to the ground while another shoves his head through two unsteady wooden beams. Holmes recovers and once again joins the fray. As two police officers walk by, Sherlock Holmes plops into an odd seating position and the thugs toss him a few coins, feigning innocence. During this time Sherlock Holmes deduces their next moves in the fashion of the first film (boxing scene deductions) with slow-motion observations with voiced over deductions, with a speedy follow-through of punches, jabs, grabs, and slams – leaving the enemy out cold. After scaring off his final opponent, Sherlock resumes his investigation.

“Did you kill my wife? …you just threw her off a train!”

 -Dr. Watson

“I timed it perfectly.”

-Sherlock Holmes

One thing happens after another – Irene dies, explosions abound, and Watson decides to get married.

Professor Moriarty. From the Sherlock Holmes s...

Prior to the marriage comes a party filled with gambling, fortune telling (by Sherlock Holmes to a key character gypsy), a rotund and comical Mycroft, and  a series of thwarted assassination encounters. Watson gets married, boards a train to honeymoon, and finds himself in danger as Sherlock “knocks antlers” with his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty, the criminal king who is bent on fortune and glory. Will Sherlock manage to best his foes, or with he lose all that is dear to him? Such secrets are hidden in a game of shadows…

“Now are you sure you want to play this game?”

-Prof. Moriarty

“I’m afraid you’d lose.”

-Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes Featurette

Critical Review

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the best installment yet, and I certainly hope for a third to exceed my expectations. Robert Downey Jr. makes for a brilliant Holmes, utilizing all the quirks of Conan Doyle’s original character with a few new aspects, such as a greater romantic interest with Irene. Likewise, other characters have been “remodeled.” Mycroft Holmes, the self-secluded introverted twin of Holmes (sharing the same, even better, deductive abilities) became a comedic relief in the film, creating the only nude scene present (again, for humor. The nude scene consists entirely of Mycroft holding a newspaper while talking to Mrs. Watson about a telegram he has received from Holmes and Watson who have delved deep into their investigation. He acts normally, and there is no sexual innuendo aside from the fact of Mycroft’s nudity. He is ignorant of the opposite sex and is acting purely out of this vice.) I personally enjoy the extra additions of action and suspense and appreciated the film’s dramatic “reference” to The Final Problem (Sherlock Holmes book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). (Spoiler [highlight to read: the scene is question is the second to last. Where Sherlock Holmes plummets into the waterfall’s depths with Moriarty, leaving the audience to think them dead. The final scene where we find Sherlock Holmes camouflaged, sitting in a chair while Watson types his memoir, was not in the novel, albeit I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.)

“Competent but predictable – now allow me to reply.”

-Prof. Moriarty

Christian and Family Perspective

The spiritual concerns I had noted with the first film (drawing of the pentagram by Holmes, and virtually the entire nature of the case until we learn it is all faux) are not a problem with this sequel. There is a fortune teller, however, and before she has the chance to make any prediction, Sherlock interrupts and (mockingly) informs her that he would like to tell her a fortune. He picks up the cards and uses them for illustration in his points: she has been driven to drinking, has a brother whom she holds dear, and a client who has come to kill her.

From a Christian and family perspective, this movie is a bundle of fun with a plethora of concerns. There is a gypsy woman whose occupation is fortune telling. The demonic is not, however, as fully pressed in this movie as it was in the first. Before she can even get out a word of Sherlock’s fortune, Sherlock tells her he would like to give her fortune. He uses the cards while presenting his points, then rescues her from an assassin. Therefore, it is not as dark as one may suspect from the previews, yet the concept should be noted. There are many fights, such as those between Sherlock and Watson against various mobs, including at a place where gambling is taking place. This movie, taking into account the action, flirtatious content (to be discussed in the full review), should be suitable for children aged 15+ (Common Sense Media recommends age 14+, however, it may be a bit much even for fourteen year olds, depending on their maturity level and “tolerance”).

-Adventure Writer's Blog: Preliminary Review

In addition to the points noted above, there is also a great deal of alcohol consumption.

“Never let these gypsies make you drink (paraphrased).”

-Sherlock Holmes, who proceeds chug down the gypsy's wine.

This film is certainly a pleasure to watch for the most part, although it is certainly not a family film, as it is unsuitable for younger children due to the above points.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – Notes & Quotes

“Hidden within the unconsciousness is an insatiable desire for conflict.”

English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. W...

Image via Wikipedia

-Prof. Moriarty

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the most action-packed of both films – it retains the same deductive reasoning and slow-mo transitions that the first movie introduced in a most unique fashion. This will be elaborated upon in my full review.

“Unlike you, I repress nothing.”
-Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.)
“Perfectly normal.”
-Dr. Watson (Jude Law)

From a Christian and family perspective, this movie is a bundle of fun with a plethora of concerns. There is a gypsy woman whose occupation is fortune telling. The demonic is not, however, as fully pressed in this movie as it was in the first. Before she can even get out a word of Sherlock’s fortune, Sherlock tells her he would like to give her fortune. He uses the cards while presenting his points, then rescues her from an assassin. Therefore, it is not as dark as one may suspect from the previews, yet the concept should be noted. There are many fights, such as those between Sherlock and Watson against various mobs, including at a place where gambling is taking place. This movie, taking into account the action, flirtatious content (to be discussed in the full review), should be suitable for children aged 15+ (Common Sense Media recommends age 14+, however, it may be a bit much even for fourteen year olds, depending on their maturity level and “tolerance”).

Faithfulness to Conan Doyle

The film includes a scene or two which appeared within the original Sherlock Holmes stories, however, aside from those, the film has taken a different, one might say fresh, turn away from the original novels and characterization. Mycroft, Sherlock’s brother, is much more outgoing than he is portrayed in the novels and is used for comedy relief. Sherlock retains his oddities and singularity, plus his deductive qualities, yet has changed in other respects. He has more of an interest in Irene Adler than he had in the novel – exchanging kisses and flirtatious notions. In the original, he merely had an admiration for her, bordering on love. Watson is… well, that is in itself a long explanation and I will save that for the full review.

Puss in Boots: Movie Review

Puss in Boots

Image via Wikipedia

It began a long time ago… you may want to sit down for this.

-Puss (Antonio Banderas)

Puss in Boots is back, and this time around there’s no sign of donkey, Shrek, or the usual storyline. Puss In Boots brings a fresh, rollicking, action-packed adventure to the table – abundant in sword fights, dance fights, and angry goose mothers.

The story kicks off with a Casanova-like Puss, escaping from an unknown villain at the dark of night. After a narrow escape, he ventures to a saloon for a glass of leche. Here he receives news of the infamous golden eggs, and the fantastic goose who lays them, residing in a castle far into the heavens. The only way to get there is to obtain the magical beans and plant them in a specific spot to create beanstalk. Simple, right? Until Puss learns of the bean’s current “owners,” the notorious Jack & Jill who seek the goose of legend for the great wealth it may provide. A race to obtain the beans ensues and Puss finds himself intercepted by the elusive Kitty Softpaws, who extends an offer of partnership, one that puss would readily accept…

I’ll steal you blind before you even know it. 

-Softpaws (Salma Hayek)

…if it wasn’t for his orphan “brother.”

I smell something familiar… *great whiff* … something dangerous… *contemplates* … something breakfasty… HUMPTY ALEXANDRE DUMPTY! How dare you show your face to me?

-Puss

Puss first met Humpty in an orphanage as a mere kitten, and they forged an immediate friendship and a club dedicated to tracking down the magical beans. They had many an adventure together – stealing beans from local vendors, and planting them whenever they had the chance, hoping one day to find the ones they were looking for. One day, however, a raging bull escapes from its pen and charges through the town, heading straight for an elderly woman. Puss swoops in, saves her, and consequently becomes the town hero – receiving his well known boots and cap as a reward. From this point on, Puss vowed never to steal again, an oath which Humpty observed with annoyance – for although Puss had taken the path of straight and narrow, Humpty would not, and continued to strive for his goal by whatever means necessary, even by breaking into the head soldier’s household and stealing gold so that he may escape from town. Puss arrives on the scene as Humpty hobbles out of the grounds, unaware of his theft. Humpty prompts him to drive him away, and Puss obeys. Soon, however, he realizes the depth of their situation. Soldiers chase them until they reach the town bridge, and all the while Puss furiously chides Humpty on deceiving him. The next moment, their cart overturns and the gold falls into the river. Humpty, unable to stand up, rolls around and asks Puss for help. Puss, however, regards him as a traitor and runs off, leaving him to the guards.

Present day, Humpty asks Puss to join him (and Softpaws this time around) in capturing the beans. After much hesitation and backstory, Puss agrees, wanting to use the golden eggs to pay back the villagers and head Soldier… will Puss, Humpty, and Softpaws succeed in their endeavor or will Jack and Jill get to the castle first? All the while there is treachery afoot…

Christian & Family Perspective [See CS & PI for more information]

Puss in Boots is a fantastic movie, easily comparable to the rest of the related-Shrek series. It’s highly enjoyable for all ages – the audience I sat with consisted of elderly individuals, young people (children & college aged), as well as middle-aged adults.

Regarding age and religious confliction, the film is suitably rated PG and is mostly quite humorous, even “dark” foreboding scenes are somewhat predictable and not at all extreme in violence, imagery, or language. There are some concepts which parents may need to discuss with their children, but otherwise its a great, family-friendly movie for ages 7+ (Common Sense says 6+).

Excerpted from Adventure Writer's Blog:Preliminary Review

The character of Puss transitions from a thief, to an unrighteously accused outlaw, seeking to making up for crimes he did not commit. He does also, however, constantly retain a rogue-romantic-avenger aspect – flirting with female cats (most especially Softpaws, with whom he wishes to have many more adventures), and shaving off opponent’s hither and thither.

In conclusion, I greatly enjoyed Puss in Boots and would certainly recommend it for the family setting. It has, in my opinion, far surpassed the Shrek series.

Ready for the Avengers?

I’ve been ready since I heard about it months ago (update), although I wasn’t sure what to think of the trailer.

The Avengers promises to be explosive, yet whether it will have an equally well-thought out, energized plot is to be determined. From my experience with Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and such other Marvel films I’m hopeful, however, I’ll have to see it before I get beyond my perceptions of the trailer.

Puss in Boots: Notes and Quotes

Just like last time with Captain America, here’s our Puss in Boots: Notes & Quotes!

The full review is now available here!

Chatbotté1885

Image via Wikipedia

Preliminary Review (Full-Review Monday)

Puss in Boots is a fantastic movie, easily comparable to the rest of the related-Shrek series. It’s highly enjoyable for all ages – the audience I sat with consisted of elderly individuals, young people (children & college aged), as well as middle-aged adults.

Regarding age and religious confliction, the film is suitably rated PG and is mostly quite humorous, even “dark” foreboding scenes are somewhat predictable and not at all extreme in violence, imagery, or language. There are some concepts which parents may need to discuss with their children, but otherwise its a great, family-friendly movie for ages 7+ (Common Sense says 6+).

Highlighted Movie Quotes

It began a long time ago… you may want to sit down for this. -Puss (Antonio Banderas), regarding life story.

I’ll steal you blind before you even know it. -Softpaws

You’re better than that. – Orphan Caretaker & Puss (3x) – marks many turning points in the film.

I smell something familiar… *great whiff* … something dangerous… *contemplates* … something breakfasty… HUMPTY ALEXANDRE DUMPTY! How dare you show your face to me? -Puss [see teaser]

Holy frijoles! -Puss

Real Steel Movie Review: Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I’ll start composing my review of Real Steel and hopefully be able to post it the first day.

On a preliminary note – the movie was fantastic, but has quite a bit of cursing. Much like a kiddified, mech-based Fast & Furious.

Graphics are fantastic and the movie is quite “lifelike”, despite its science-fiction elements, void of cheesy or overdone CGI.

I recommend the film for audiences 12-13+

Puss in Boots: Official Trailer

Looks like all those Old Spice parodies and other videos have paved the way for the Official Trailer, look for a review on the Adventure Writer’s Blog shortly after the film comes out.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [Official Trailer]

The new Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows trailer is here!

Already in the trailer there may be some points of concern for Christians. We immediately see a common element from the first movie – demonic powers – fortune telling. Will it be a hoax again this time? Or proposed as the “real deal?” Full preliminary review coming soon.

Be sure to read our review on the first film, Sherlock Holmes (2010)!

Best Movies of 2011 (thus far)

As I post more and more reviews, I find I like to go back and see which films I liked the best, which had the greatest impact on my memory, emotions, and entertainment.

Here’s a short list of movies I felt were tremendously well done (out of movies I’ve reviewed or plan on reviewing in the next few days… with the exception of the 2nd list), and an even shorter list of movies that had a negative impact and that I would never see again:

 (listed in no particular order unless otherwise posted)
  1. Soul Surfer (#1)
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger
  3. Cowboys & Aliens
  4. Rango
  5. Green Lantern
  6. The Adjustment Bureau
  7. Unknown
  8. X:Men First Class
  9. Kung-Fu Panda 2
  10. Source Code
  11. Thor
  12. Fast Five
The Dreaded Second List
  1. Limitless