Operatic space-adventure doesn’t come much better than this. Fun, funny, thrilling and filled with plenty of heart-n-soul, Guardians might just be the best film (if not the most enjoyable) of 2014. If you haven’t seen it, you really should.
The Winter Soldier is perhaps the most complete and cohesive of all the Marvel Universe films thus far – while it might not have the box office draw of the Avengers, The Winter Soldier presents some major ramifications for the in-Universe continuity, pushing both Cap and Black Widow out of their relative comfort zones, and setting the stage for a massive showdown in the next Captain America film (due out after Avengers 2). There’s enough action to keep the junkies happy, plenty of plot, some nice character development (especially of Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow, surprisingly) and a few nice Easter Eggs paving the way for franchise expansion in the future. A rip-roaring adventure yarn with plenty of style to burn.
It’s weird that the best part of The Dark World’s shenanigans is the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-wielding Thor and Tom Hiddleston’s mischief-making Loki; the film rumbles through its galactic action with barely a pause, there’s twists and shocks galore, and the stakes appear to be enormous, yet Alan Taylor’s solid, commendable direction feels more mechanical than organic, leaving the on-screen action flat and emotionless. The Dark World is entertaining, but hardly enthralling.