Spoilers (but not many)
2016 might have witnessed a fair amount of upheaval, but one thing remained constant: Hollywood’s love of superheroes is as strong as ever. While DC sat out 2015, Marvel saw three of their properties in theaters; this year The Big Two had six combined. Next year that will edge up to seven. In addition, geek-favorite franchises Star Trek and Star Wars continued their multi-year missions through galaxies far, far away. Almost all of them raked the ticket sales (analysists were divided on whether Star Trek Beyond fell short of breaking even or turned a modest profit). Either way, neither profit margins nor quantity of films produced equal quality. 2016 was a very mixed year in terms of artistic merit, as fans could be forgiven for experiencing whiplash when trying to create a double bill for some of these movies. Some films excelled by being able to break new ground, while others entertained with well-executed tried and true formulas. Some were an utter mess (and not simply in their murky CGI sequences). It could have been worse; viewers were denied anything quite as terrible as last year’s Fantastic Four. Then again, that is placing the bar quite low.
Continue reading This Year’s Finest 2016: Film
Eight years ago Marvel Studios unveiled their first effort, Iron Man. Since then Marvel has produced 11 more films and four television series while amassing a staggering amount of box office revenue. That is a huge accomplishment which either makes Iron Man seem like just the other day, or a long time ago, depending on your perspective. Regardless, it is hard to argue that Marvel has found a filmmaking approach which works for both them and their audience. Multiple factors are at play here, though, one of the key ones has been taking their time to let their Cinematic Universe expand organically. At first glance this statement might seem paradoxical when applied to an enterprise which since Day One has been geared towards setting up the next chapter. Hence all those mid/post credit scenes which remain one of the trademarks of the franchise. Yet, if nothing else, this emphasis on serial storytelling points towards a shared link between the movies and their source material. More importantly it gives characters room to breathe, allowing the actors opportunity to build on beats from previous appearances. This attention to nearly a decade of world and character building pays off this week with the arrival of Marvel Studio’s latest entry: Captain America: Civil War. It is an exciting, fast paced film which never loses sight of the flawed individuals at the center of its narrative.
Continue reading Review: Captain America: Civil War