Black Panther

Like most initial solo Marvel hero movies, Black Panther gives us a nice introduction to the character and his motivations above and beyond his introduction in Civil War.

Black Panther introduces us to the MCU version of Wakanda, his family, love interest, and traditions. Also, where those same traditions can fail.

Wakanda as a society has always hidden who and what they are. The world at large sees Wakanda as a third world farming country. Not the technologically advanced, rich country they are. Some Wakandans believe they should go out into the world with their technology and help people while others wish to stick with tradition.

Claw returns and has a sonic hand cannon and is working with War Monger. They show little regard for human life while stealing a Wakandan artifact from a museum. Their attempt to sell it in South Korea to the CIA brings them in direct conflict with the Black Panther.

War Monger takes extraordinary steps (many evil steps) to get into Wakanda. You want to completely dislike the character. But. His backstory makes him a sympathetic character. Up to a point. War Monger’s ideals to spread Wakandan weaponry and begin an Empire are in direct conflict with the Black Panther and Wakandan tradition.

The fight between War Monger and Black Panther ultimately splits the Wakandan people over tradition and new ideals. There will be a lot of healing needed for the Wakandan people. And a change in tradition.

The mid credits scene lets us see how Wakanda will be interacting with the world at large now. The post credits scene gives us a nice update on characters last seen in Civil War.

My favorite character introduced by far is Shuri, T’Challa’s sister. She brought a fun lightheartedness take on the role. Okoye was just plain badass.

There were a lot of kids at the theater when I saw this movie. They all had a blast. This one group sitting near me had all of them picking which Marvel hero they were going to be. From Black Panther to Iron Man. Then the movie started….and all the kids were so engrossed in the movie. I have never seen a movie where kids were so behaved and engrossed in a movie.

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker, John Kani
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Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is the best Thor movie to date, in my opinion. We get some good comedy and action along with dire consequences.

Thor: Ragnarok combines several storylines from the comics (Contest of Champions, Planet Hulk, Ragnarok) and gives us one of the funniest Marvel movies.

I was excited to see what Taika Waititi would do with this franchise. I loved What We Do in the Shadows.

Thor:Ragnarok does a nice job of clearing the field and leaves the Asgardians with almost a reset.

Thor begins by defeating Surtur and returning to Asgard. Where he sees a nice little play about the death of Loki. He quickly reveals that Loki has been impersonating Odin and they head to Earth to pick up Odin.

We get a little cameo from Dr. Strange. Odin tells the brothers of their unknown, older sister, Hela and she makes her appearance. Thor and Loki attempt to fight Hela, but she crushes Mjolnir and throws them both out of the Rainbow Bridge.

Thor falls out of a portal onto the GrandMaster’s planet and is forced to fight. He comes across the Hulk and a couple of Asgardians. They plan to return to Asgard to fight Hela. In the meantime, Hela has invaded Asgard and slaughtered a good portion of the population.

I do not want to go any further into the plot. But this does lead into Avengers: Infinity War.

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Taika Waititi

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

I love this third iteration of Spider-Man. It had the right amount of humor and action. We get to see the beginnings of the Parker Luck as Peter has to make choices about doing things with his friends or patrolling as Spider-Man. The Vulture is way more sympathetic than I thought he would be.

I tried to go into this with my expectations lowered, but recently re-watching Civil War took that notion away. Thankfully my high expectations were met and exceeded.

Plus – no origin story! We do not have to live through Uncle Ben dying and imparting the life lesson on Peter. At most, we get Peter telling someone that he was bit by a spider. That’s it.

Mid-Credits scene was good. But the after credits scene is a game changer for the MCU.

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Bokeem Woodbine, Kenneth Choi

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 is all about family.

GotG2 opens on a fun action scene set to music off the Awesome Mix 2. This sets us up nicely for the B Plot group that will be after the Guardians. This setup brings Nebula into the mix and introduces us to Star Lord’s biological father, Ego.

Ego the living planet. Ego is portrayed beautifully by Kurt Russell.

We also get more Yondu in this installment. We see him with a more traditional look as well.

GotG2 brings the laughter and some tears. I have not laughed more at a Marvel Studios film. There were multiple instances of someone cutting onions in the theater. Very surprising for the light-hearted franchise in the MCEU.

Ego and Star Lord’s relationship is at the heart of this movie. And all the implications along with it.

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Stallone, Sean Gunn

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Logan

I caught Logan and it gave a nice cap to the Fox X-Men series and High Jackman’s run as Wolverine.

Logan definitely earns its R rating. Plenty of violence and foul language (some from an unexpected source) with brief nudity. I would not recommend bringing young children to see this movie.

We are introduced to a world 29 years removed from the events of the first X-Men movie. A world seemingly without mutants and a Wolverine showing the effects of aging and a slowed down healing factor. We get introduced to Laura (X-23) at the same time Logan does.

At first Laura seems like a normal if mute little girl. Until she is not. She turns into a little Tasmanian Devil , Whirling Dervish of destruction. Easily more violent and vicious than we have seen Logan before. Then, we get the road trip from Hell with Logan, Laura and Professor X.

This movie leaves the door open for more future films in this series, but also leaves it at a good finishing point. Barring the Deadpool franchise, I would love to see a reboot of the X-Men movies with different people at the helm.

FYI, There are no mid-credit or post-credit scenes.

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Jason Genao

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