The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

Posts Tagged ‘review

The Avengers: A Review

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Avengers was probably one of the best movies I have ever seen. It was a crowning jewel of Marvel’s cinematic renaissance, which has made the company a powerhouse over the past few years. It is hard to believe that Marvel went from almost disappearing, back in the 90s, to accompany that can make a superhero movie that is not only accessible, but also mind blowing, to geeks and mainstream audiences alike.

 Usually, when you watch a movie based on a popular franchise you hear from purists complaining about their beloved characters being modified in order to fit a director’s perception of what the mainstream will embrace. Invariably this type of storytelling leads to bland and boring moviemaking. Just think about this about the betrayal most fans experienced when it was announced that the Ninja Turtles were actually going to be aliens, rather than mutants. Avengers succeeded because Marvel had the guts to trust that a good story combined with their characters would be enough to please the audience. They were right. Shortly after the movie I received a text message from a friend whom I don’t think has ever read comic books as habitually as I do. The message read: “Amazing!” And I knew that he was talking about Avengers.

 Finally Marvel has done what me and my friends, back when we are 13 years old, only dreamt about, but never thought would be possible: A movie combining all of our favorite superheroes in the kind of extravaganza that only a genius or a 10-year-old dressed up in a superhero costume can dream about.

 While I haven’t enjoyed everything Joss Whedon has ever made, but the guy knows how to tell a story. Just ask the thousands of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans who followed the show in rapture until it ended. Mr. Wheaton took the by now trite alien invasion ploy and turned it into a multilayered drama that contained just enough romance, political intrigue, corrected development, and action to appeal to almost anyone who loves a good story. The timing in the movie was impeccable, and every actor, from the superhero team to the lowly waitress who gets interviewed at the end had enough presence to carry themselves next to each other.

To be honest, I thought that Chris Evans was not going to be able to pull off the role of Capt. America. I thought that Robert Downey Junior’s magnetic personality would overshadow his role, but he actually pulled it off. He comes across as a somewhat older, extremely idealistic, but gifted leader who knows how to take control of the situation and direct his team towards victory. My concern for Mr. Evans’ ability to pull off the role of Capt. America stemmed from Tobey Maguire’s rendition of Spider–Man. He was a great young Peter Parker, but when it came time for him to turn into smart the  Alec personality of Spiderman, he felt a little bit short. Chris Evans was a great young Captain America, but did not lose track of the character when it was time for him to be the older version of the icon we’ve all come to love and trust.

 As I said before, every other actor surpassed my expectations. Scarlett Johansson was unbelievable as the Black Widow, and everyone got enough screen time for the story to feel tight and organized. While I usually never watch movies more than once, this one will make its way into my collection as soon as it becomes available. Seeing the movie’s incredible success overseas makes me hope that producers and decision-makers in big media companies will see that it is quality storytelling, well-developed characters, and attention to detail that make a great movie experience. I am hoping that the incredible amounts of money the Avengers will generate will have a positive impact in the movie industry. Of course, some producers are just as likely to try and imitate the movie’s success by dissecting it and by trying to copy the elements that made it successful. The problem is that you cannot copy good storytelling. It has to come from a place of authenticity, not from focus groups only.

 I can wholeheartedly recommend the Avengers to anyone who wants a good yarn. And yes, you should stay after the credits.

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Written by Hector

May 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

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Saturn’s Children, Third Hugo review

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Saturn's Children Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross

My review


rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book was not for me. I didn’t have a problem with the concepts this book deals with, in fact it is a perfectly logical view of the Singularity, but I couldn’t get too much in to it, and ambivalence towards literature is a sure sign that I better move on. It seemed like the author used too many shortcuts and references to other science fiction to create anything truly original. I can’t say I wouldn’t have liked this book ten or even fifteen years ago, but while I enjoy cheesy movies, I like my books to make me think. Mr. Stross manages to throw in a few interesting ideas about ownership and life that really made me think, but they were too obvious to surprise. The setting did not feel real enough. Reading this book was like walking through a science fiction convention filled with cosplayers whose costumes allude to bad and obscure manga based on the one or two bad Heinlein novels out there. I could not finish the book, so, while it is possible that it gets better beyond the first half of it, I could not immerse myself in a world that verged on the interesting, but missed the mark by millimeters. Having started to read some of the other Hugo Nominees made it impossible for this book to hold my attention. It didn’t measure up, in my opinion, to the rest of the material. Again, some people may enjoy Mr. Stross’s style more than me, and I encourage anyone interested to at least read other reviews, it is not a “bad” book, just very clearly, not the book I like to be reading right now.

View all my reviews.

Written by Hector

May 8, 2009 at 2:20 pm

His Majesty’s Dragon

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His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1) His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik


My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
let me start by saying that three stars are not a bad thing. They mean that I like the book, and that I think other people would also enjoy it. The book takes place in an alternative version of the Napoleonic wars, where dragons act as a mysterious, and strangely out of place air force. The book wasn’t life-changing, but it was a fun read, and I liked it a lot. The characters are a little flat, even when the story is not truly plot driven. What makes this book worthwhile is the loving detail with which Novik regales her dragons. Temerarie is a great character, and even his handler, Laurence, comes to live when interacting with him. I enjoyed the setting, and the aerial battles, though I found myself having to ignore the modernization of values present in the Dragon Corps. I didn’t worry too much about it, though, because the book was very entertaining. If you are looking for a good and fun light read, check this book out. You won’t regret it.

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Note: I am going to start posting my “Good Reads” reviews here. This is the first one (you can check more of my reviews by clicking the link above)

Written by Hector

April 18, 2009 at 2:32 pm