I was fortunate enough this year to see quite a few movies released in 2014, but five of the eight were on DVD. For the three I made the effort to see in a theater, read on.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I love Cap’s new look in this movie. The spangly Avengers outfit never worked for me as well as the Captain America: The First Avenger suit, so seeing it go away in favor of the alternate AND a return to the original just made my dip in the shallow end of the gene pool. And the movie was good, too. Robert Redford shined, Samuel L. Jackson was his usual awesome self, even when being upstaged by his SUV, and the BFF angst between Steve and Bucky was right up my alley (plus great fights, to boot). But it’s not my favorite MCU movie. I think the problem with doing stand-alone superhero movies after a big group movie like The Avengers, is that when Big Trouble arises, you’re always left asking, “So, where were The Avengers when all this was going down?” And I don’t remember if there was a throw-away reference to why none of them except showed up, but if there was, it wasn’t sufficient. Also, I’m pretty good at getting caught up in the moment and swept away in the atmosphere of A Big Movie at the theater, so it’s always disappointing when things like the physics of Falcon distract me.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
I wrote about this one already. Since that review, I watched it again with my dad. A lot of the questions and issues I had after seeing it the first time remain (though, as far as enjoyment goes, I largely got over it), but he did make me feel better about at least one aggravating thing: How the new future undoes the Dark Phoenix arc of X3. Because I could see how it took care of the Sentinel issue, but I couldn’t see how anything else was changed that would create the new future. But he reminded me that the big issue of X3 was that Charles had futzed with Jean’s head to make her what he thought was best. Which is arguably essentially the same thing he was trying to do with Raven/Mystique, only with sanctimonious lectures instead of mutant powers. And I can accept that after learning he had to let Raven be free to make her own choices, he would have handled the Jean situation differently.
3. This Is Where I Leave You
I’ve enjoyed Jason Bateman since Teen Wolf Too, so even though it isn’t typically the sort of movie I’d necessarily go to the theater for, I jumped when a friend asked if I wanted to go. And it was wonderfully hilarious in places, sad in others and just all-around a great movie about a dysfunctional family sitting shiva for the patriarch. Probably not something you want to watch with the parents or the kids, though.