A week in film – 2016, week 18

Obviously, as yesterday’s post shows, this week has been building up to one thing: Captain America: Civil War. While that’s undoubtedly the main event, the remaining six days of the week haven’t been entirely without incident.

For starters, watching Captain America: The First Avenger this week was a pretty foregone conclusion. I’ve long since been a defender of The First Avenger – while it might not be one of Marvel’s most accomplished films and can’t really hold a candle to either of its sequels, it’s still really bloody charming. Almost all of this is due to Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell, who are a wonderful screen couple – I talk about this almost every time I watch a Cap movie or Agent Carter, which is often. The First Avenger is also particularly memorable for its genuinely moving ending: ‘I had a date’ is such a simple, yet effective, way of drawing attention to what Steve’s lost by waking up in 2011. It makes me sad every time, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this movie at least twice this year already.

I’ve talked about Captain America: Civil War itself extensively elsewhere, but I’m still thinking about it for, like, 50% of my waking hours. My Marvel obsession lives on, but when it’s given such riveting fuel as this, it’s not a surprise. Aside from its characters, it’s got a bunch of great action sequences – particular highlights come as Steve and Bucky fight their way out of an apartment block and OH GOD, that whole airport scene – and a really, really effective final fight. I’ve reached peak nerd now so while a few of the plot developments didn’t surprise me that much, I was still carried along by the way that story is told. I love this film and, depending on what mood I’m in/what day it is/what film I’ve watched most recently, I’m probably going to name it as my favourite Marvel movie.

(Bizarrely, I haven’t watched The Winter Soldier – one of my other favourite Marvel movies – this week. I don’t have a sensible explanation as to why.)

These are genuinely good films, but my ongoing devotion to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t really show that I’ve got a great deal of objectivity when it comes to the MCU. This week’s episode wasn’t ever going to really click for me as it was Malick-centric, but whatever Ward is now (do we know? Have I just forgotten?) is creeping me out almost as much as actual Ward did when he was alive. It is fairly interesting to get a glimpse into the Hydra mythos again too.

I’m still watching Supergirl as well, although at this point I think I’m only watching waiting for The Flash to cameo. But this week was OK, really – The Black Mercy is a pretty cool name for anything dark (even if the actual design of the parasite was a bit weird), and the conflict it created between Kara’s life on Earth and her fantasy life on Krypton was effective. People do refer to ‘family’ as much as they do in the Fast and Furious movies, but it does sort of make sense – it’s also nice to be reminded that these characters do really like each other, as Kara has been increasingly isolated from everyone in the past few episodes. I’ve also missed its optimistic episode endings.

The Flash, also usually optimistic – I’m comparing both of these to Arrow, by the way, which was never known for its positivity – did not leave things in as good a place. But while the ending was effective, gearing towards the series’ end, I’m not particularly convinced that the same can be said for the rest of the episode – I’m struggling to remember anything outside of those final five minutes, to be honest, unless they involved Cisco. Although, to be fair, the opportunity to see more of Vibe’s powers is no bad thing.

Continuing to mainline superhero shows and comedies, as I’ve been doing for the past few weeks, seems to be veering towards a general conclusion too. I’ve finished The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt now, which I briefly became obsessed with before a weaker – at least, much more serious – ending. The final lines, which I feel were meant to be a comedy cliffhanger, genuinely creeped me out. But to get over the loss/fill time before Captain America: Civil War, I’ve watched some Veep, some Community, and some Jane The Virgin. I’ve tried Veep a couple of times and I still can’t click with it – I see where the jokes are and recognise it’s written well, but it doesn’t work for me – but Community, precious, dependable, early series Community, is a gift which I do not treasure enough. Watching ‘Contemporary American Poultry’ is ALWAYS a sensible decision.

As for Jane The Virgin, after spending ages saying I wasn’t enjoying it any more, I watched about five episodes in a row. Its affectionate take on telenovelas means that it’s crazy-overblown sometimes – or quite a lot – but Gina Rodriguez is worth watching for her great performance as Jane. It might be a case of it having a midseason peak, though, as episodes 10 to 15 (approximately) pulled me along with them while I find myself losing interest now they’re over. Still, I’m so close to finishing the series now, so I may as well make it all the way to the end.

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