REVIEW: SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE

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CAST

Demi Lovato (Camp Rock)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Jack McBrayer (Wreck-It-Ralph)
Danny Purdi (Powerless)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Julia Roberts (Closer)
Ariel Winter (Modern Family)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Josh Keaton (Green Lantern: TAS)
Yuri Lowenthal (Legion of Super Heroes)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty)

In Smurf Village, the Smurfs live peacefully among themselves. Their leader is the wise, eldery, and a bit overprotective, Papa Smurf. Some of the Smurfs include the klutsy and slow-witted Clumsy Smurf, the intelligent and eccentric Brainy Smurf, the strong and gutsy Hefty Smurf and the beautiful Smurfette, who feels out of place in Smurf Village as the only girl. Smurfette was created by the villainous wizard Gargamel from a lump of clay, but was redeemed by Papa Smurf and became part of the village. Gargamel makes it his mission to capture the Smurfs, steal all of their essence, and become the most powerful wizard in the world.After Smurfette accidentally breaks an invention by Brainy, made up by a fun day snowboarding with Clumsy, Brainy and Hefty, Smurfette sees a blue creature hidden by a leaf and follows it straight into the forbidden forest, which Papa Smurf forbids the Smurfs from entering, believing the creature to be a Smurf. She loses sight of the creature but she discovers a hat that was dropped by the possible Smurf. Smurfette ends up being captured by Gargamel and at his castle, she ends up inadvertently revealing the hat, enabling Gargamel to mix up a brew that causes him to locate the village on a map. Soon enough Clumsy, Brainy, and Hefty, who followed Smurfette, help her escape and return to Smurf Village, where they are reprimanded by Papa Smurf for disobeying his orders and confines them to their houses while dismissing their claims of a lost village filled with Smurfs.However, Smurfette, still wanting to find her place, sneaks out into the night, with Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty volunteering to come with her. Gargamel soon discovers them trying to find the lost village and heads out with his cat Azrael and giant bird Monty to stop them. The four best friends follow the map and end up in various predicaments and misadventures, like being attacked by monster flowers and getting caught in a stampede of luminescent rabbits, one of whom they befriended and named Bucky, who helps them on their quest. After setting sail on their handmade raft along the river, they encounter Gargamel, Azrael, and Monty. Following a brief chase, Gargamel was thrown out of his own raft. Hefty and Smurfette convince the others to help save him. They do so but instead of thanking them, he pushed them out of their raft, leaving them to plunge down a waterfall.Meanwhile, back at Smurf Village, Papa Smurf tries to reconcile with Smurfette over his actions on the previous night, but soon discovers that she, Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy are gone, so he sets out to find them and set things right. Back with the Smurf group, after surviving the waterfall and washed ashore, they are soon captured by the leaf-covered creature from earlier along with a few others and they soon reveal themselves to be female Smurfs. They are taken to their village, which is called Smurfy Grove, in the trees and get to know all the girl Smurfs, including the leader Smurf Willow, the tomboyish Smurf Storm, the hyperactive Smurf Blossom, the gentle Smurf Lily and the music-loving Smurf Melody. They all welcome the Smurfs, especially Smurfette, to their humble home. After a while of showing them what they do, Smurf Storm and Clumsy come back with her telling that Smurfette was created by Gargamel. Before they can attack her for being considered a traitor, Papa Smurf appears, and the female smurfs accept him into their home. Then, Gargamel comes and destroys Smurfy Grove, capturing all the Smurfs, all except Smurfette, who is now alone, feeling guilty for her actions. However, Brainy’s pet Snappy bug shows her a picture of her and the others, and she soon realizes that she is not a real Smurf, and heads back to Gargamel’s lair with Snappy and Bucky to save the Smurfs.At Gargamel’s lair, where all the Smurfs are, Brainy makes a plan to escape. Papa Smurf hears their plan and he and Smurf Willow decide to help them. Hefty, Brainy, Clumsy, and some of the female Smurfs succeed at the plan until Gargamel and Azrael spot them and put some of the female Smurfs and Clumsy into his Smurfilator, extracting their essence. Smurfette appears, tricking Gargamel that she wants to be an evil smurf again. When Gargamel tries to turn Smurfette into an evil smurf, he realizes that Smurfette is absorbing his magic powers instead, a skill she found earlier after destroying Brainy’s invention. The lair explodes, sending Gargamel, Azrael, and Monty into a lake full of piranhas. Unfortunately, Smurfette has reverted to her original lifeless clay form. Back at Smurf Village, all the Smurfs mourn the loss of Smurfette. Using their energy, Smurfette comes back to life and becomes a Smurf again and everybody celebrates. After which, Smurf Village and Smurfy Grove become united with each other and Smurfette finds her purpose, being anything she wants to be and most of all, a true-blue Smurf.Smurfs: The Lost Village is a story that fits nicely between the classic Peyo comics and the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon. The animation is beautifully done. There is no way you can take every little detail in with just one viewing. The plot is fairly straightforward with adventure at the forefront. This film avoids the misplaced pop culture references and overused Smurf puns that many disliked about the previous movies. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” aims for a younger audience, but adults shouldn’t have a problem remembering why they liked these characters themselves.

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REVIEW: ROAD TRIP 2: BEER PONG

CAST

Preston Jones (Spring Break ’83)
Michael Trotter (Underground)
Nestor Aaron Absera  (Van Wilder 3)
Danny Pudi (Powerless)
Julianna Guill (Friday The 13th)
Daniel Newman (The Dark Knight Rises)
DJ Qualls (Cherry Falls)
Rhoda Griffis (Runaway Jury)

Andy (Preston Jones) is egged on by his best friends to stop worrying so much about his girlfriend, Katy Hartman (Julianna Guill), back-home and start enjoying college life to the fullest. While enjoying his life, he remembers Jenna, an old girlfriend from home who is now a beer pong model and becomes infatuated with her. Andy and his friends decide to hit the road chasing Jenna and her model friends to compete in a beer pong tournament, but their plans get complicated when Katy decides to transfer to his university so she can be closer to him. They call on a son of a rich despot, Arash (Danny Pudi), who hopes to get him to sponsor their road trip but instead are taken into custody by the CIA, who interrogate them and dump them in Bethesda. They steal a taxi and continue their journey, but make a pit stop in family run strip clip, only to run afoul of a gang of bikers. Short of cash, they pick up a hitchhiker hoping she will pay for a ride. Instead, she holds up a convenience store and steals the taxi.maxresdefaultKorkin (Michael Trotter) prays for rescue and a school bus full of beautiful girls appears. The driver, Sarah (Leandra Terrazzano), is the daughter of the reverend who founded “Chastity Until Marriage” and quickly sees through their lies but agrees to continue their road trip to Nashville. Korkin makes it his mission to sleep with Sarah. His first attempt to “score” with Sarah is on the bus while everyone is sleeping. While Sarah sleeps with her head on his lap, Korkin removes Sarah’s bra and attempts to feel her up while she sleeps. However, Arash crashes the bus and awakens everyone aboard. Arash takes a turn driving the bus while the others sleep but gets distracted by phone sex and has an accident, hitting a wild boar that becomes stuck under the truck. They stop the next day and Korkin realizes they are in Katy’s hometown and they call in to her mother’s house.

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The gang eventually catch up with Jenna and the Beer Pong tour. A video Andy had intended as an anniversary present for Katy had been posted on the internet by Korkin. The video of him singing In the Buff has become a hit and Jenna has him perform it live on stage. The performance is also posted on the internet and Katy sees Andy kissing Jenna at the end of his performance. Meanwhile back on the bus where Korkin meet Sarah again, she says she’s inspired by Andy’s song in the previous performance and starts stripping meaning she’s willing to have sex with Korkin. On the other hand, Andy was trying to have sex with Jenna but couldn’t since he’s actually in love with Katy. Due to this fact, Jenna then decided to give her blessings to Andy and his girlfriend. However, shortly after leaving Jenna’s trailer, Andy gets a call from an enraged Katy that she wants to end their relationship. Heartbroken and angry at Korkin since it his idea that the gang went for the road trip, he went to see Korkin who was still having sex with Sarah. After berating with Korkin, Andy and the gang begin competing in the beer pong tournament. The film ends when Katy eventually ends up at the Beer Pong tournament and makes amends with Andy.19537766_20130910124712289I was plesantly suprised that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. It isn’t as good as the first as is the case with most sequels but this one isn’t far off the mark.

REVIEW: STAR TREK BEYOND

CAST

Chris Pine (Into The Woods)
Zachary Quinto (Heroes)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Simon Pegg (Paul)
John Cho (Total Recall)
Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog)
Sofia Boutella (Monsters: Dark Continet)
Idris Elba (Thor)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Danny Pudi (Community)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)

Three years into its five year mission, the USS Enterprise arrives at Starbase Yorktown, a massive space station, for resupply and shore leave for her crew. Struggling to find continued meaning in the endless nature of their mission of exploration, Captain James T. Kirk has applied for a promotion to Vice Admiral and commanding officer of Yorktown. He recommends Spock as the new captain of the Enterprise. Meanwhile, Hikaru Sulu reunites with his husband and their young daughter, Montgomery Scott works to keep the ship operational, and Spock and Nyota Uhura amicably end their relationship; Spock also receives word from New Vulcan that Ambassador Spock (Spock’s future self from the original timeline) has died.

The Enterprise is dispatched on a rescue mission at short notice after an escape pod drifts out of a nearby uncharted nebula. The survivor, Kalara, claims her ship is stranded on Altamid, a planet within the nebula. The rescue turns into an ambush when the Enterprise is quickly torn apart by a massive swarm of small ships. Krall and his crew board the ship, and unsuccessfully search for a relic called an Abronath that Kirk had obtained for a failed diplomatic mission. Krall captures and removes many crew members from the ship. Kirk then orders the crew to abandon ship as the Enterprise’s saucer section hurtles towards the planet.

On the planet’s surface, Sulu, Uhura, and other survivors are captured by Krall. Kirk and navigator Pavel Chekov, accompanied by Kalara, locate the wrecked saucer section. Kalara is discovered to be following Krall’s orders when she tries to retrieve the Abronath. To escape Krall’s soldiers, Kirk activates the still-functional thrusters, causing the saucer to lurch forward, crushing Kalara. Meanwhile, a wounded Spock and Dr. Leonard McCoy search for other survivors. Spock confides to McCoy that he intends to leave Starfleet to continue the late Ambassador Spock’s work on New Vulcan. Meanwhile, Scott is rescued by Jaylah, a scavenger who previously escaped Krall’s encampment. She takes Scott to her makeshift home, the grounded USS Franklin, an early Starfleet vessel reported missing over a century earlier. Scott is reunited with Kirk, Chekov, McCoy and Spock. Using the ship as a base, they plot to raid Krall’s camp and transport the crew to the Franklin, then escape the planet in the repaired ship. Meanwhile, Krall coerces Ensign Syl to hand over the Abronath that she had kept hidden for Kirk, then kills her with it. The Abronath is the missing half of an ancient bioweapon, created by the planet’s original inhabitants, which can disintegrate any humanoid. With the device complete, Krall intends to attack Yorktown and kill its inhabitants, and, using its advanced technology, go on to attack the Federation. Kirk and the others free the crew as Krall launches into space with the bioweapon, leading his drone fleet to Yorktown.

The Starfleet crew pursues Krall in the Franklin. Scott transports Spock and McCoy into one of Krall’s drone ships. After dispatching the pilot, they learn that VHF transmissions can disrupt Krall’s communications. Matching the drone fleet’s frequency and using the ‘classical’ song “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, they destroy almost the entire fleet. Krall and his three surviving ships crash in Yorktown. As Krall flees into the city, Uhura and Kirk discover from the Franklin’s logs that he is actually Balthazar Edison, the former captain of the Franklin. A pre-Federation human soldier, Edison became disillusioned with the newly founded Federation, rejecting its principles of unity and cooperation with former enemies, like the Xindi. When he and his crew were stranded on Altamid by a rogue wormhole, he believed the Federation had deliberately abandoned them. The three survivors prolonged their lives with the technology of the planet’s extinct natives (at the cost of their human physiology and their numerous victims’ lives), and repurposed their dormant drone workers into the swarm. Krall now plans to destroy the Federation and resume galactic conflict. Kirk pursues Krall into Yorktown’s ventilation system, where Krall activates the bioweapon. Before it can be unleashed, Kirk ejects the weapon and Krall into space. Spock and McCoy save Kirk moments before he is also blown into open space.

Commodore Paris closes the unsolved cases of the fate of Captain Edison and the USS Franklin crew. Kirk decides to remain as a captain, and Spock chooses to stay in Starfleet and resumes his relationship with Uhura. Jaylah has been accepted into Starfleet Academy based on Kirk’s recommendation. As the crew celebrates Kirk’s birthday, they view the construction of their new ship, USS Enterprise-A, and after its completion, they depart on their next mission.This film feels in many ways like a completion of the work done to establish the rebooted series. The actors have now made the characters their own and no longer feel like imitations of the original incarnations. The film ends with the commissioning of an all-new Enterprise. As Paramount has already confirmed that a fourth instalment is on the way, we can be sure that Kirk and his crew will continue their little Trek through the Stars for some time to come.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 5

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J.Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (The O.C.)
Vik Sahay (Bones)
NOTABLE GUEST/RECURRING CAST
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones)
Angus Macfadyen (Alias)
Richard Burgi (Starship Troopers 2)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Bo Derek (Sharknado 3)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Jeff Fahey (Lost)
Danny Pudi (Powerless)
Stan Lee (Spider-Man)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Cheryl Ladd (Poison Ivy)
Ben Browder (Arrow)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Mark Pellegrino (The Number 23)

Chuck Bartowski no longer possesses the Intersect, but has matured into a confident and capable secret agent. As he mentors the new Intersect, he also has to deal with the fact he and his team are now independent contractors with bills to pay and rival companies to compete with. When a dangerous agent comes after the Intersect, Chuck has to call upon his resources and training to stop them.

Chuck has always been a curious show, a geek comedy with dramatic and romantic overtones whose tone has often spun on a dime. The show has always done a good job of managing these different tones and styles, keeping everything grounded though Zachary Levi’s earnest-but-sympathetic performance as the title character. In the fifth season, the show experiences several additional such tonal shifts, as Chuck is betrayed by his best friend (but it turns out not to be his fault) and, most surprisingly, has his life almost ruined in the final few episodes of the series. For a show that’s always been quite warm-hearted and entertainingly cheesy, the surprisingly bleak tone of the final few episodes comes as a bit of a shock.

The season  only consists of thirteen episodes. Given the tone of the show, I was confidently expecting some last-minute solution or cure would be found. Instead, we get a highly inconclusive ending. It’s not quite The Sopranos, but the series ending without ever answering the central question poised by the last couple of episodes is an unexpected and possibly even brave choice. Whether it’s the right choice is one that fans will be arguing about for years to come. For myself, Chuck has always been first and foremost an escapist and fun show, not a gritty drama like the new BSG or something from HBO. Ending the show in this manner feels out of character for the series, and a little bit of pointless torture for our main characters who really deserved more of a happy ending.

That aside, the final season of Chuck is entertaining, well-acted and often quite funny.  the ending will be divisive, but certainly the season is worth watching for established fans. In particular, the way Chuck’s character develops across the five seasons, going from nerd to an intelligent, resourceful agent  does pay off very well here.

REVIEW: HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS EVIL

CAST (VOICES)
Hayden Panettiere (Heroes)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Martin Short (Mars Attacks)
Brad Garrett (Finding Nemo)
Andy Dick (Road Trip)
David Alan Grier (Jumanji)
Cheech Marin (Cars)
Tommy Chong (That 70s Show)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)Danny Pudi (Powerless)

Wolf (Patrick Warburton), Granny (Glenn Close), and Twitchy (Cory Edwards) are on a rescue mission to save Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader and Amy Poehler) from an evil witch named Verushka (Joan Cusack). The plan goes wrong however and Granny is kidnapped as well. Meanwhile, Red (Hayden Panettiere) is in training with a mysterious group called the Sisters of the Hood where she learns that a secret all powerful truffle recipe has been stolen. She teams up with Wolf and Twitchy to find the recipe and save her grandma, but she and Wolf can’t get along and the team splits up. Meanwhile, Verushka, who stole the truffle recipe, tries to force Granny into making it for her.
Granny escapes and finds Hansel and Gretel, but learns that they are actually the masterminds behind the plot. Granny is recaptured and learns that Verushka was an old classmate of hers when they were both in training with the Sisters of the Hood; Verushka was always second behind Granny’s accomplishments. Eventually Red, Wolf, and Twitchy team back together and infiltrate Hansel and Gretel’s base. Red accidentally reveals the final ingredient for the truffle recipe and the truffles are made.
Hansel and Gretel eat the truffles transforming into giants and go on a rampage through the city. Hansel and Gretel betray Verushka, whereupon Granny convinces her to join forces with her, Red, Wolf, and Twitchy. They trick Hansel and Gretel into eating more truffles which make them so obese that they can no longer move their arms and legs, before the two are arrested.
The Plot is not nearly as clever or well written as the original. However, since the characters are already developed, the the jokes are well presented, well timed and come quickly. This movie is far more action driven than the original. The plot seems merely the vehicle. Don’t expect unique take on an old tale as the movie primarily moves forward developing current characters and back stories. Additional fairly tail intersections are used for story structure. Overall it’s a fun movie and if you enjoyed the first one you will enjoy this.

REVIEW: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

 

CAST

Chris Evans (The Losers)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jurassic Park)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Robert Redford (The Sting)
Sebastian Stan (Spread)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Frank Grillo (The Purge 2)
Maximiliano Hernandex (Warriors)
Emily Vancamp (Revenge)
Hayley Atwell (The Duchess)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble0
Alan Dale (Lost)
Chin Han (Arrow)
Garry Shandling (Over The Hedge)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Gary Sinise (Deception)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla)
Danny Pudi (Powerless)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)

Two years after the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers works in Washington D.C. for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. under Director Nick Fury, while adjusting to contemporary society. Rogers and Agent Natasha Romanoff are sent with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Georges Batroc and his mercenaries. Mid-mission, Rogers discovers Romanoff has another agenda: to extract data from the ship’s computers for Fury. Rogers returns to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters, to confront Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Unable to decrypt the data recovered by Romanoff, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce to delay the project.
On his way to rendezvous with Maria Hill, Fury is ambushed by assailants led by a mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier. Fury escapes to Rogers’ apartment, and warns Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised. After handing Rogers a flash drive containing data from the ship, Fury is gunned down by the Winter Soldier. Fury dies in surgery, and Hill recovers the body. The next day, Pierce summons Rogers to the Triskelion. When Rogers withholds Fury’s information, Pierce brands him a fugitive. Hunted by S.T.R.I.K.E., Rogers meets with Romanoff. Using data in the flash drive they discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that ever since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, Hydra has secretly operated within its ranks, sowing global chaos with the objective of making humanity willing to surrender its freedom in exchange for security. The pair narrowly escape death when a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker, and realize that Pierce is Hydra’s leader within S.H.I.E.L.D.Rogers and Romanoff enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Rogers befriended, and acquire his powered “Falcon” wingpack. Deducing that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is a Hydra mole, they force him to divulge that Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals who might become future threats to Hydra’s plans. The Insight Helicarriers will sweep the globe, using satellite-guided guns to eliminate these individuals. Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson are ambushed by the Winter Soldier, who kills Sitwell. During the fight, Rogers recognizes the Winter Soldier as Bucky Barnes, his friend who was captured and experimented upon during WWII. Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, is waiting with plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips.
After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers’ launch, Rogers broadcasts Hydra’s plot to everyone at the Triskelion. Romanoff, disguised as one of the Council members, disarms Pierce. Fury arrives and forces Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D’s database so that Romanoff can leak classified information, exposing Hydra to the public. Following a struggle, Fury kills Pierce. Meanwhile, Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson’s suit and fights Rogers on the third. Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other. Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers is thrown out into the Potomac River. The Winter Soldier rescues the unconscious Rogers before disappearing into the woods. With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Romanoff appears before a Senate subcommittee and Fury, under the cover of his apparent death, heads to Eastern Europe in pursuit of Hydra’s remaining cells. Rogers and Wilson decide to find the Winter Soldier, while Rumlow, who was a double agent for Hydra, is hospitalized following the Triskelion’s destruction.
In a mid-credits scene, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, at a Hydra lab, proclaims that the “age of miracles” has begun as scientists examine an energy-filled scepter and two prisoners: one with superhuman speed, the other with telekinetic powers. In a post-credits scene, the Winter Soldier visits a Bucky memorial at the Smithsonian Institution.

Seeing Cap and Black Widow banter about his dating life,  plays on the established chemistry between Evans and Johansson, working both the humor and the inherent pathos that defines their roles. That Mackie and Redford both effortlessly slide into this established dynamic is testament to what skilled performers they are. There is also some nice continuity to having the same writers return from The First Avenger to craft its sequel. There are plenty of parallels and callbacks here. when  watched back to back, you not only get to appreciate the original more, but enjoy how they connect.