Tag Archive: the hulk

Come See The Avengers!

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Finally, finally, this week the movie that we have been waiting for hits the home theater market.

The Avengers arrives on DVD and Blu-ray. To say we are excited would be an understatement.

This is the one movie my husband did not see this summer although the kids and I went with friends to the drive-in to see it on opening weekend.

And what a powerhouse of performances.

I love Chris Evans as Captain America which is a completely different character from his Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four.  He pulls together the serious earnest young man who wanted to fight Nazis and became a leader in the process. Robert Downey Jr. continues as the stunningly self-confident Tony Stark . Perhaps my favorite player is Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in which he is humanized even more than when Bill Bixby played the character on the old TV show.

Poster Image from IMBd.com

The story follows Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) trying to come up with a solution when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) decides he wants to take over Earth with a group of otherworldly warriors. He starts with New York City. But the problem is Fury’s group is there as well. And they are ready to fight back, especially Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who wants to bring his adopted brother back home to Asgard.

But Loki is a fierce opponent. He has more than one weapon to use and his favorite one is discord, creating disturbances within the team. That scene in the flying headquarters is wonderfully tense as the darker parts of each person comes into play. It shows what propels each character and what they control within their soul.

This time I am looking for all of those little things I missed as I was paying attention to the big action scenes. The little details of pictures on the wall and references to other characters or real-life items. My neighbor saw a reference to the ship her son had served during his stint in the Navy. I have read articles about pictures and references  to other Marvel comic characters.

But I also want to see nuances. Such as the scene in which Steve Rogers gives Nick Fury some money for a bet. I could not remember what the bet is about. I want to observe the Hulk’s and Thor’s relationship to understand why the Hulk slams Thor at one point.  I want to watch for the scene all the way at the end of the movie when the whole group is at a diner, simply sharing a meal together.

Perhaps the greatest strength of this movie is the dialogue. There are seven characters that we need to know intimately as well as any secondary characters associated with each. With each interaction, whether in battle or in downtime, we learn a little more that defines these characters. We learn about who they are and who they love and why they act in the manner that they do.

There are precious few perfect movies. But in my book, The Avengers just might be one.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


The Avengers is one movie that had a huge build-up.


It has been years in the making, starting with the first Iron Man movie in 2008. In Iron Man 2 we met the Black Widow, a spy whose beauty matches her skill.  Last year we were treated to the first Thor movie which had audiences falling in love with an arrogant man forced to learn honor through difficulty.


And I cannot forget Captain America. The hero from years past charmed us with his earnestness as he fought Nazis and secret organizations.


This past weekend, the Marvel characters came together in The Avengers. 


Loki is a Norse demi-God who wants to rule Earth and the rest of the universe. He has teamed with other evil creatures that are looking to control Earth.


While Loki is capable of controlling some people to do his bidding, there is a group of people willing to do whatever it takes to keep earth safe. That team is called the Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America , Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk. They have been brought together by Nick Fury, head of S.H.I.E.L.D.


But Loki is tricky. He likes chaos, he likes creating disturbances. He is capable of doing that to anyone. With a touch of his scepter on the heart, he can make just about anyone follow him.


We saw the movie in the drive-in and loved it. I was happily surprised to see six different back stories weaved in to something that made sense. Plus, it was clear that people had history together in their comments and body language. Not every one liked each other, but with the proper motivation, they were able to work together.


The movie was long but thanks to a tight screenplay that gave a real voice to each superhero and interesting, compelling action sequences, the movie never feels as long as it should. Just as Jon Favreau did with Iron Man, director Joss Whedon has put in a certain amount of lightness with all the seriousness of a comic book movie.


Now the question you might be asking is “do I have to watch all of the other movies to see this one?” My answer would be yes IF you do not have a thorough knowledge of the Marval comic characters. I was not familiar with Iron Man before the movies nor was I all that knowing about Captain America. Because of a youth spent watching Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, I understood The Hulk and enjoyed Mark Ruffalo’s performance.


On the other hand, we went with friends who were not familiar with the whole story and they enjoyed it. Part of it was the experience of being at a drive-in but the movie was exciting. The other part was the stunning special effects that created leviathans and creepy ice guys to cause trouble.


Strangely enough, I found the movie to be mostly kid appropriate. It has a PG-13 rating, mostly for the action shots. If your child is not used to such movies, then it will not be appropriate. However, our 7-year-old watched and loved it. Granted, he has also seen many of the movies leading up to this one and knew what to expect.


A good story with great dialogue and thrilling action along with characters that are more than cardboard cutouts make for a great movie. It is everything I would want for a summer blockbuster movie and much more.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle. 

Comic Book Summer

Family Movie Night


Movies based on comic books has become the popular summer movie format.


Movies Poster image from IMDb.com

This year we have seen Thor and X-Men: First Class make it to the movie theaters across the land. Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds comes out this week.


What makes most of these comic book movies perfect for family views is the fact that many kids have seen these characters in cartoon TV shows or on the comic page of the newspaper. I used to watch The Justice League as well as Batman when I was a kid. Kids and some parents already know these characters.


Secondly, the violence in these action/adventure movies tends to be blood-free. We know when someone gets hit bad enough to make them die without copious amounts of blood and gore. Remember when The Goblin is killed by his own weapon in Spiderman? It makes some of these scenes easier to take when watching these movies with your child who is in grade school.


Lastly, our heroes are fighting certain evil. The Joker is a bad guy, there is no grey coloring in his soul. The lines are black and white as to who is good and who is not in these movies. They might be facing personal demons – Spiderman does on a regular basis – but when it comes to protecting others there is no conflict.


In the last few years we have seen the X-men series, Spiderman series and Batman series. Iron man is working to combine with the Avenger series.


I am intrigued with the two versions of The Hulk and recently heard there is going to be another version of Superman.


What you should not confuse these movies with are the one being adapted from graphic novels. Movies such as Sin City and Hell Boy. These movies are geared for their readers who tend to be older teenager on up. And that means the gore factor and the language is more suitable for that age group.


These are not PG-13 movies pretending they can run with the big boys of “R” ratings as most comic book movies do. Graphic novel adaptations are meant for an older audience and they embrace that factor. That means salty language, great car chases, and bullets that actually hit and cause bleeding. 


The only exception to this is the latest Batman series being directed by Christopher Nolan. This is being based on a graphic novel series but Nolan has made it friendlier for younger views. We never see what happened to the Joker to turn him so evil, we never see Rachel in the explosion that kills her although we see Bruce’s anguish at her death.


If you are trying to decide what movie to go to, here are a few tips to make sure you see the movie you want to see.


1. Look for the rating of the movie. Most of the time, the rating gives parents a good idea if this is suitable for a specific age group.


2. Read reviews of the movies you are thinking about seeing. The tone of the review will tell you if this or that movie is appropriate for family viewing or not. The more reviews you read, the more you will know about the storyline and anything that might be objectionable. I like going to Rottentomatoes.com to see a myriad of reviews for one movie.


3. Ask friends if they have seen a specific movie you are interested in seeing. If they have a similar taste to yours or a very different taste, this is a great judge on a movie.


The bottom line is always investigate a movie a little before you see it if you want to make sure it is a good movie to see with your family – be it with kids, teens, parents and/or grandparents.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.