The Avengers Imax Art 101 

THE MIGHTY MARVEL CHRONOLOGY – A Beginner’s Guide to the Cinematic Universe (Part 2)

Last week we began with PART 1 of our Beginner’s Guide the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and its related properties. Marvel Studios’ films have a (nearly) flawless continuity. Their brethren? Not so much. But since the X-Men, pre-MCU Spider-Man, and more are vital members of the Marvel family, they are included in this timeline in a slightly less official capacity. My job, as your guide, will be to detail the nature of entries that might make a little less chronological sense, and let you know which Marvel films are worth watching, why… and, most importantly, in what order to make the most of this sprawling narrative.

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Finding Dory in a Cup review 

FINDING DORY – “Just keep swimming…”

I wasn’t a huge fan of Finding Nemo. The film was enormously successful for Pixar and one of its biggest crowd pleasers. I thought it was cute, but that the plot structure was really meandering, and that its message was weak compared to a lot of Pixar’s best. Worst of all, I didn’t connect to the protagonist Marlin (Albert Brooks). In fact, I actively dislike him. I don’t see Marlin as having any positive character traits. He’s a neurotic, snippy worrywart. Sure, he loves his son. He’s not a monster. But honestly, Nemo’s blank slate innocence and growing up story was a far more compelling part of the story to me.

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The Avengers Movie Banner 101 

THE MIGHTY MARVEL CHRONOLOGY – A Beginner’s Guide to the Cinematic Universe (Part 1)

Once upon a time, superhero fans were lucky to get a movie or two per decade featuring characters in colorful costumes fighting crime. Even then, most of them were poorly executed – not only as a film, but as representations of everything that their source material stood for. That has changed dramatically, and while we still have the occasional dud, the mythos of superheroes has exploded in a big way – particularly in the pantheon of Marvel Comics heroes.

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Lothar Diving into Combat in Warcraft review 

WARCRAFT – As “Not Terrible” as Game Adaptations Come

Movies based on video games are never “good”. Often they’ve been “godawful” (Super Mario Bros.), with a few falling into the so-bad-they’re-good category (DOA: Dead or Alive). The best they ever get is “okay” (Resident Evil), with the vast majority falling into the “bland” (Prince of Persia) or “gimmicky” (Final Fantasy) categories. So it may surprise you when I say that I really enjoyed Warcraft, While it certainly has no shortage of “bland” elements, and stumbles over a lot of chances it had to excel, I think it’s about as close as I’ve seen to a video game adaptation being “good” without actually earning that qualifier. It certainly has enough standout qualities for me to call it “above average”. As The Powerwaifu so aptly put it, “I wouldn’t kick it out of bed.” 

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The Jungle Book - Mowgli and Bagheera review 

THE JUNGLE BOOK – Welcome to the Jungle, We’ve Got Fun and Games

The Jungle Book: Jon Favreau’s 2016 “live action” remake of Walt Disney’s 1967 animated adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 collection of short stories. Jon Favreau is a famously analogue director. His 2005 Zathura largely eschewed digital effects for practical props, and when he directed Iron Man in 2008 he refused to film the hero’s digital double in a way that couldn’t have been captured with practical aerial photography. But with the exception of its star, (12-years-old and charmingly rough around the edges) Neel Sethi, as Mowgli, Favreau’s Jungle Book is an entirely digital fabrication. Despite the fact that it apes a live action look, in actuality it is nearly as pure an animated feature as Disney’s original adaptation.

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Up - Russel's Missing Assisting the Elderly Badge top 25 

UP – “We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges”

[Full spoilers for Up follow]

[For the love of God, if you haven’t seen Up, please go watch it right now]

Pixar’s UP (2009) is one of my favorite films of all time. A masterpiece of smart storytelling decisions amount to what may be one of the most dense and tightly paced narratives in existence. Within 96 minutes the film effortlessly blends comedy, tragedy, adventure, and one of the most meaningful examinations of the human condition yet committed to celluloid. And in a format accessible to all ages! In its first 11 minutes, Up exhibits a more thoughtful, true, and heartbreaking love story than most films manage in their entire runtimes. It has to, because while Up is a film about Love, it’s equally about Loss. While these elements to the film are in the text, they’re also supported by an incredibly deep, yet seemingly effortless symbolism that perfectly represents the effect of loss on human Identity.

Up is all about badges.

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BB-8 rolling review 

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS – Revisiting and Remixing a Galaxy Far Far Away…

J.J Abrams had his work cut out for him. By design, Star Wars: The Force Awakens demands to be judged by more criteria than most movies, yet how well it stands on its own is, surprisingly, least relevant of them. The film juggles the many responsibilities of being a remix/reboot emphasizing the most beloved elements of the classic trilogy, a clean jumping-on point for a new and expanding global audience, and a satisfying new chapter in an expanding saga (or at least better than the shitty prequels), 

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Ant-Man running with ants review 

ANT-MAN – A Little Adventure With Big Heart

Fear not, Marvel aficionados. Ant-Man is just as fun, and awesome, and weird, as you have hoped! Is it as perfect a blend of high-adventure and comedy as Edgar Wright would have done? … No. Not quite. But Peyton Reed does an admirable job with the material, working with a hero who’s both hilarious, and hilariously awesome. The movie starts out a tad uneven, with some flat jokes and awkward interactions, but finds its footing by the second act, and soars once the action picks up.

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Riley's+emotions+viewing+a+memory review 

INSIDE OUT – Pixar Delves Deeper

INSIDE OUT is one of Pixar’s finest films, and there is little higher praise I could give a film than that. Though I still prefer UP for its deep symbolism and mature message, and the Toy Stories have a more iconic cast, I believe that the argument could be made that INSIDE OUT is Pixar’s most meaningful and skillfully crafted film yet. It approaches a premise and message as convoluted and complex as the human mind, and somehow, effortlessly streamlines it into a narrative so simple and human that any…

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