Captain America: Civil War (2016)

You’d expect Marvel to be running out of steam by now, but this latest offering confounds expectations. Captain America: Civil War brandishes the series’ signature eye-popping visual spectacle in a package that skimps on neither heart nor wit. This is the best MCU film since the original Iron-Man. The screenwriters have managed to succeed in two key areas…

Ant-Man (2015)

There are lots of reasons to like Ant-Man. You’ve got the sparkling comic chemistry of Paul Rudd and Michael Peña (Evangeline Lilly’s there too). There’s a zippy Michael Douglas/John Slattery/Hayley Atwell prologue that makes you long for an MCU film set in the ‘80s. Minus a misjudged training sequence, the film’s bouncy heist framework is…

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron is, for better or worse, the culmination of Marvel Studios’ approach to commercial cinema. By this stage, their much-discussed directorial departures – Patty Jenkins from Thor: The Dark World, Edgar Wright from Ant-Man – and the homogeneity of their output make it clear that this is about as far from auteurist…

Canon Will Eat Itself: Alien and Other Modern Icons

District 9 director Neil Blomkamp kicked up a fuss yesterday when it was reported that his upcoming Alien sequel would break continuity from the last two films of the franchise, Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection. Blomkamp has since stepped back from that assertion – “I’m not trying to undo Alien 3 or Alien: Resurrection, I just…

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy promises the kind of irreverent disdain for blockbuster norms that founded the Marvel Studios juggernaut, way back when they handed the reins to Mr. Favreau and Mr. Downey Jr. It features an unapologetically weird crew of intergalactic outlaws – green-skinned princesses and rocket-wielding raccoons – in an unapologetically weird universe mined…