A little late, but here’s what I watched in April of 2014! All around a very satisfying month for visual entertainment.
Captain America: The Winter Solider– After two divisive (but still profitable) entries into Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel really hits it out of the park with the second Captain America movie. Here, our “man out of time” comes to the realization that the America he fought for in World War II has changed, and not for the better. There is so much that works about this film. The most notable one for me was on a character level. Marvel has established some attention grabbing characters and really uses this film as an opportunity to develop them further, while at the same time, bringing in some new ones (the Falcon, for example was one of my favorite parts of the movie). The chemistry between the cast is fabulous and every actor, including lead Chris Evans, really brings their A-game. It’s also daringly relevant to today’s world, putting the costumes on hold for a while to dig into the complex issue of preemptive strikes. And on top of that, it’s a damn exciting action movie, filled with fight scenes and explosions galore. Oh, and Cap in those tight shirts. Damn. A
In Your Eyes– Confession: until recently, I’ve never seen the point of watching a movie on demand. But this was the only way to view Joss Whedon’s newest film, and I found it to be a surprisingly pleasant experience (at least for a microbudget project like this. Big blockbusters are best viewed on larger screens). The film itself caught me off guard at first. A love story about two people who can see out of each others eyes, it’s very different from previous Joss projects (and, since he didn’t direct it, it looks different too). But the deeper I dove into their relationship, the more involved I became with the film. I found myself really enjoying it and will probably buy a copy when it comes out on Blu-Ray. It’s not Joss’s strongest work, but he does relationships (romantic or not) very well. B+
Gravity– I’ve finally seen it! Now, I can see what everyone was so excited about, as Gravity is really an exceptional movie. One thing that surprised me about it is how simple it is. It’s basically a survival story in space, with a miniscule cast of characters with very little back story. But Alfonso Curaon (who’s becoming of my of favorite directors) manages to deliver the best survival-in-space-story possible by producing top of the line visuals, a pitch perfect soundtrack, and the best actors possible for the job. I really and enjoyed this short but effective suspense tale, and would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. A-
Archer (Season 4)– I’m officially out of Archer to watch on Netflix! Season 4 was probably the weakest season so far. I wasn’t fond of the premiere, and it didn’t have as many stand out episodes over all. Fortunately, the show certainly had its moments, making good use of recurring characters, a strong guest cast, and featuring an aspect rarely seen in adult cartoons, character development. I was particularly fond of the two-part finale. I’m ready for season 5. Please come to Netflix soon! B
Agents of SHIELD– What the hell? How has the show I once thought would never truly live up to it’s potential become the highlight of my week? In April, I watched a grand total of four SHIELD episodes (End of the Beginning; Turn, Turn, Turn; Providence; and The Only Light in the Darkness. Nothing Personal doesn’t hit Hulu until next week), and all of them were just fantastic. By building off of the events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, SHIELD not only did a better job of bonding the series to the MCU as a whole, but has shown us different sides of our characters. Agent Ward, which I found to be the weak point of the show, has become its most compelling element. What do you mean I only have three episodes left?
Castle– Okay! I’m finally caught up with Castle, at least the episodes that are available on hulu. This month I watched The Way of the Ninja, The Greater Good, and That 70s Show. I found all three to be enjoyable, although not exceptional episodes. It was nice to get a little more on Gates’s background in The Greater Good, although it took them long enough to get to it. She’s been around for three seasons now! That 70s Show on the other hand, was completely ridiculous and over the top, yet somehow touching at the same time. Three more episodes left, and we’re done for the year.