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Captain Marvel – A SPOILER FREE MOVIE REVIEW! WRITTEN BY PETER ALDEN GRIGSBY

Published March 6, 2019 by Disneyways.com

Captain Marvel – A spoiler free movie review written by Peter Alden Grigsby

You really have to admire the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They have managed to take Comic Book Superheroes, and make them one of the most viable franchises in modern cinema. They have been so successful in fact, that they have enough productions to sub-divide into phases. As of now, we are coming to the end of phase 3, which will culminate with “Avengers: Endgame”. Shifting from big league hitters such as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk to characters that have not received as much attention such as Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the lynch pin, Captain Marvel. Spider Man, quite possibly their most popular character ever, has also recently re-acquired from Sony, so he will also figure prominently in the new phase.

When we left what was left of the team after “Infinity Wars”, we learned that Nick Fury had sent an emergency signal to Captain Marvel, just before being vaporized by Thanos. But who is Captain Marvel? Why was she not included in “The Avengers Initiative”? How can she help, when some of earths ‘Mightiest Heroes’ have already been vaporized? These are just some of the questions that this film sets out to answer. While giving the ‘basic gist’ of the story, I’m not going into too much detail; I want to present this review with NO SPOILERS! So buckle up true believers, here we go!

Right off the bat, THIS is an ‘origin’ film! Simply stated, don’t expect too much of a plot. Take this film as a “hi, nice to meet you”/first date kind of experience. We start out in the middle of the story, where we learn that a race of people called ‘Kree’ is in a war with another race called the ‘Skrulls’. We learned a little about them in “Infinity War”, but we get more of an insight in this film. The Skrulls are shape shifters, and can control their appearance. This is where we first meet “Vers” played by Brie Larson, who comes off fairly well. She presents a “girl-next-door” type of personality, while also being perfectly believable as a woman that can handle herself in any situation. At times she comes off a bit ‘wooden’, but hey, it’s a superhero movie, not “Titanic”. Vers is dealing with reoccurring nightmares about people she feels she knows, but can’t explain why. She also has a mysterious power that even the Kree don’t understand, but properly harnessed could make her one of the most powerful beings in the Universe. Her mentor, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) is doing his best to help her figure out both who she is, and how to control her powers. Training her to control her emotions, as that is how she can ultimately control her powers. Jude Law is certainly capable, and believable in what he is being asked to do. That said, it’s not much! His character is certainly not explored to the degree it could have been. The chemistry between Law and Larson is not quite Luke Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi caliber, but acceptable. Much like an older brother helping his younger sister. After learning that the Skrull commander, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) has captured Soh-Lar a Kree spy. Vers joins Yon-Rogg and a Kree rescue team to retrieve Soh-Lar. Of course, things go terribly wrong and Vers winds up separated from her team, and on a collision course towards Earth. For me, Ben Mendelsohn comes close to stealing this film! He gets some of the best lines in the movie, and delivers them brilliantly. This character, sadly, is not explored much either, but Mendelsohn managers to capture a menacing presence, without coming off as a typical ‘casting couch’ villain. He also demonstrates some brilliant comic timing.

Marvel uses a great ploy of ‘going back’ to move forward! Back, meaning to earth in the mid-90’s, (those familiar with the time period will enjoy the many ‘inside jokes’ that are presented.) and there are some genuinely funny moments. This is where we meet a young Nick Fury (Samuel A. Jackson), sans eye-patch, and a ‘rookie’ Shield agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). I’ve never really been a fan of the ‘de-aging’ CGI effects to make older actors look younger, I’ve never thought it looked real, but I will say it was done fairly well, and doesn’t really distract too much. Talos has followed Vers to earth, and is now after her. Sadly, this is where the ‘1990’s’ shtick becomes burdensome, and takes this film into a TV superhero feel. Not ‘camp’ but more like the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno ‘Incredible Hulk’ series. We learn Vers real name is Carol Danvers. She has a mysterious relationship with a Scientist (Annette Bening) she barely remembers. To me it seems that Bening was used for her ‘star power’ and very little else. What should have been a pivotal character was, again, never explored enough to the point that we actually cared anything about her. We also meet her best friend, Maria Rambeau (Lashanna Lynch). Maria Rambeau is extremely likeable, and presents her character as the kind of friend we would all like to have. However, other than being Danvers best friend, there is not much for her to do. Danvers and Rambeau, we learn, are kind of like a female version of “Top Gun”. Yes, there is even a mascot named ‘Goose’! It’s almost as if the writers got a bit lazy during this ‘middle section’ and just went into an auto pilot mode, burping up cliché’ after cliché’ and really over using what could have been a fun little plot point. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some laughs, but all in all, the movie drags a bit here.

The last 30 minutes or so ramps up, and we get more of the action sequences we were expecting from the trailers. This is where I have to be careful because, as I said before, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Suffice it to say, we DO learn how Captain Marvel will fit into the MCU in “Endgame”, as well as some interesting little twists along the way.

 

So, in going ‘back’ to move forward, “Captain Marvel” has set the stage for phase 4 of Marvel’s cinematic franchise. While certainly not Marvel’s best ‘solo’ hero movie, it’s certainly not the worst, (that dubious honor belongs to “Iron Man 2” in my opinion) and it’s certainly enjoyable as sort of a ‘Saturday afternoon matinee’! Story line, what little there is of it, is a bit contrived and confusing at times. As for character development, there were so many, so none of them was really explored in-depth. It was certainly nice to learn more about Fury, and how everything ties in together. There were a few moments in this film when I felt that it was heading into a ‘preachy’, feminist, “#metoo” direction, but thankfully it pulled itself back. It’s going to be tricky, moving forward with this character, to not fall into that trap. I hope Marvel can do it, because Captain Marvel could be a very interesting character. I would still recommend seeing it to fill in the last gaps before “Endgame”. This movie does at least explain why Danvers has been absent, and that was satisfying. So, in short: Dull story, some funny dialogue, mediocre villains, and a predictable plot. CGI was well done.

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on Monday March 4, 2019 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

As seen on major Disney Fan sites such as Disney World Enthusiast, WDW Hints, WDW Magazine, City Surfing Orlando, Disneyways.com and many more! Rave reviews from all major Disney influencers and talk show hosts are online now – for Peter Alden’s Kingdom Classics CD.
Get ready for Classic Disney songs, with a retro rock vibe!! Peter Alden captures the ‘classic’ feel of the golden age of rock and fuses it into some of your favorite Disney classics!!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ~ A Review from Guest Author Peter Alden Grigsby

Published May 8, 2017 by Disneyways.com

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ~ A Review from Guest Author Peter Alden Grigsby

Before we even get into the meat of this film, I have to say that I continue to be impressed with Marvel Studios, and the cinematic universe of superheroes that they are creating. When you bring so many comic heroes (Icons really) to life on the screen, at such a frantic pace, you certainly set yourself up for a BIG ‘letdown’ or quite frankly a bomb!! (Fan boys may remember a little gem from the eighties called “Howard The Duck” – Yikes!) However, I have to say that Marvel has done a fantastic job of avoiding the normal pitfalls, and has created for itself a nice little niche’ in cinematic history!

Like with any movie that is associated with Marvel Studios, “Guardians of the Galaxy! Vol. 2”, comes with much of the inherited “hype” and “excitement”. Director James Gunn, who is relatively unknown, has really made a name for himself directing both the previous “Guardians of the Galaxy” and a confirmed sequel to this installment. He could have relaxed and just coasted on the popularity of the characters, but instead he chose to take a bunch odd-ball misfits and create some depth.

From the very outset we were provided a little bit more on the history of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and exactly how he came about his existence. This opening scene sets that stage with Peter’s mother and his father. In the first film we got snatches of his story, and not really so much about him, but his relationship with his mother. She is the one who instilled in him his ethics, morals and musical tastes, thanks to some great ‘mix’ tapes she made for him with her favorite music. Because she was his only compass, when she was taken from him by Cancer, he immediately put her on a pedestal. He has spent his life not so much ‘searching’ for his father, just more or less wondering who he was. And where his place in the Galaxy was. As the movie advances, and we discover new details about Quills life we, along with him, get to understand what a ‘Father’ really is.

Immediately after that opening scene we flash forward to ‘current time’ and are thrusted straight into a familiar line-up and setting with fellow Guardians: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) joining Quill in tackling an inter-dimensional being, as their duty. However, unlike many action films, this battle is actually a ‘background’ to Baby Groot discovering Quills mix tape of 80’s classics. Accompanied by some soothing and scene setting music the battle takes place, mostly in the background, but the focus is not on the fight but rather refreshing the viewers on the character’s relationships and chemistry.

Throughout the movie we are re-acquainted with Nebula (Karen Gillan), who we learned was actually Gamora’s sister, and Yondu (Michael Rooker), the scavenger, thief we met in the first film, who actually has an interesting connection with Quill.
We are also greeted by cameo appearances from Kurt Russell appears as Quills long lost father, a character called Ego, who may or may not be the answer to his prayers. Sylvester Stallone also appears briefly as someone from Yondu’s past, but we may see more of him in future offerings. Gunn chose to include explaining the complex relationship that transpired between sisters Gamora and Nebula; foreshadowing a larger turn of events in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) perhaps? Time will tell, but nonetheless I appreciated that it was explained in more detail.

When creating a film that is based in such drama, there is a need to give the audience a break with some humor. The main crux of this, and there was a lot of it was included definitely at the right times. Drax and Mantis (played by Marvel newcomer Pom Klementieff) had an interesting connection as their characters were constantly in turmoil, but in a playful, and almost romantic way. Rocket and Quill clashing with one another made for good viewing. Almost like a Han Solo/Luke Skywalker relationship these two can’t seem to get out of each others way, which makes for some very funny moments. We get way more insight into Rocket as well. He’s still a colossal jerk, but we are given a bit more insight as to what may have led him to be that way. And, although he is gruff, there is a sentimentality to Rocket that makes him more much more ‘human’ than anyone could have thought. Baby Groot’s inclusion kind of brought the tension between the characters back and almost simplified what was going on, as from a child’s point of view.

The ‘final’ battle is the only place that was difficult for me. It took way too long, and was a bit too cerebral at times. Some of the things that happened took way to long to transpire, and it almost felt a little forced. After all, we had seen some incredible special effects up to this point. I have to say, that although I thought the end battle scene was too long, and a little contrived, it did provide some interesting comedic moments, including an homage to Mary Poppins!

After the movie reached its conclusion it was mind boggling to see so many people walking out upon the beginning of the credits! Another one of the amazing things that Marvel Studios has done, is that it has gotten most people (at least the fan boys) to stay for the final credits! In fact Marvel has almost become synonymous with an ‘extra’ scene at the end of the film. It amazes me still that I sometimes see people waiting through credits at the end of another movie, wondering if maybe other studios had gotten the idea of a way to keep people in their seats. Marvel, however, appreciates their post-production scenes and there were a massive 5 in this movie! That’s right folks, 5 different scenes including one interesting one that sets the scene for the next installment. All in all I found this film to be immensely entertaining and funny. It also takes some two-dimensional characters and gives you much more insight into why they do what they do! It is definitely a ‘big screen’ film, so see it in a theater soon!

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on Tuesday May 2nd 2017 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

Video! Exclusive Disneyways Interview with Djimon Hounsou from Guardians of the Galaxy!

Published July 31, 2014 by Disneyways.com

You may have caught a glimpse of Djimon Hounsou in his role as  Korath the Accuser in the trailers for Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Between 1989 and 1991, he appeared in the music videos for “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul and “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” by Janet Jackson, as well as Madonna’s Express Yourself. In 2007, Hounsou began dating model Kimora Lee Simmons. On May 30, 2009, Simmons gave birth to their son, Kenzo Lee Hounsou. Hounsou has been nominated for 2 Academy Awards and 1 Golden Globe, and has had quite an accomplished career as an actor and model. But today, we’ve got a new look at Hounsou, right here on Disneyways, just for you!

Yesterday a red carpet event was held at an AMC theater in Orlando for the new Marvel blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy. Our friend Jason, who runs Orlando Fun and Food and has been a guest on the Disney Parks Podcast, went out to the event on behalf of our site. Djimon Hounsou, who plays a villain in the movie, was on hand at the red carpet. Jason had the chance to interview him about his role in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” on behalf of Disneyways. Check below for a video of interview.

About Guardians of the Galaxy: From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY hits theaters everywhere on August 1, 2014

For the latest news and updates on the Guardians of the Galaxy, follow @Guardians on Twitter and like the Guardians of the Galaxy on Facebook! For Guardians of the Galaxy movie tickets and more, click HERE.

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