Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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This Week: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

I am just sitting here, staring at the screen that just has “This Week: Avengers: Endgame (2019)” written on it.  I’m not sure what I can write.

I have been watching these movies since 2008.  Midnight showings for almost every one of them.  Over a decade of dedication.  This movie is the capstone.  The Russo Brothers stated that you only need to watch 2 movies to see this one.  Civil War and Infinity War.

The Russo Brothers lied to you.  I would say the only movie you don’t need to see is Incredible Hulk.  I spent the last week watching EVERY marvel movie and it fully prepped me for everything.  Save for one thing I had to look up, but it was one of my guesses.

This movie is literally the culmination of everything since 2008.  If you go in not having seen any of the MCU movies, you are very likely leaving stuff on the table.

It is good, it is long, it is worth it.  I would say if you need a bathroom break, it is in the first hour.  After that, I would say walk away at your own risk.

Spoiler warnings:

 

This movie is extremely satisfying.  Almost everything we wanted to see in over a decade of Marvel movies, we get.

This movie is long and it stretches its legs on its length.  Several of the Marvel movies are long.  Infinity War was 2 hours and 40 minutes.  This is only about 20 minutes longer, but there is a world of difference between Infinity War being long and Endgame being long.

Infinity War was a building story all the way to the end.  You couldn’t really walk away.  It’s like a choreographed dance. Every step lead perfectly to the next one.

Endgame maintains this set up for about half an hour, then the dance is over and everyone just sort of mulls around for about half an hour or so until they decide to dance again.

Captain Marvel shows up, saves Tony from Space, and then everybody tracks down Thanos.  Thanos apparently destroyed the Infinity stones and nearly died in doing it.  Then Thor takes Thanos’ advice and goes for the head.  Thanos is dead, but half the universe is gone for good.

We cut to 5 years later and everyone is dealing with the fallout of the snap.  Some people try to rebuild, some people give up, and some go in an entirely new direction.  A good deal of the first hour is just establishing where everyone ended up following the fallout.

Then a rat brings Ant-Man back.  Really?  Everything that happens in this movie is entirely dependent on a rat “accidently” activating a quantum vortex manipulator.  I wonder how many futures Doctor Strange saw that the rat got hit by a rat trap.  Or get thwarted by the Great Mouse Detective.

After Ant-man returns and mentions he has a time travel idea and we go and find the Avengers who aren’t still living at the compound.

2 of the Avengers have DRASTICALLY changed.  And they remain that way for the rest of the movie.  I am just generally not a fan of reducing heroes to jokes.  Ultimately when everything is on the table, they man up and are the heroes we know and love, but I could have done without the permanent changes for comedic effect.

So they all jump back in time to the old movies and do a really good job tying in the old movies.  Though I don’t quite follow how their time travel rules work, but they can basically go back and do whatever without creating another timeline or wrenching the universe apart.  That’s convenient.

The scenes in the past are actually awesome as hell.  I have nothing to say about them that is worth spoiling.

They undo the snap, and then Thanos circa 2014 shows up and blasts everything to hell. . .but manages not to kill anyone.  Then the rest of the movie plays on in awesomeness.

One thing I’m not sure I feel about is Spider-man.  Spider-man returns along with everyone else in the Snap and helps participate in the War.  And Spider-man activates Instant Kill.  He’s fighting Thanos’ mindless mutant monster things, so it might be okay, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with Spider-man actually killing.  Most of the Marvel Heroes I am totally okay with killing these things because their moral code does not prevent them from killing enemy combatants.  Spider-man’s does.  He won’t kill people if he has any other choice.  He has killed people by accident and once or twice directly, but he wouldn’t activate Instant Kill.  I think the Russo Brothers saw this gag in Homecoming and wanted to flesh it out in Endgame.

So there is actually a very low death count in this movie.  One death, that happens towards the middle, I didn’t care for.  It just felt like the wrong way to go out.

In the end we get another death and a parting of the ways.  The death saved the world and was a fitting end to the character.  I actually was tearing up a bit as they went.  The parting of the ways also was very fitting and I was happy to have their journey end that way.  They deserved it.  It was reminiscent of Furious 7.  We knew the character was leaving, but wasn’t sure how.  And since they didn’t die in the massive war, they had to back out of the action somehow.

So there is a funeral at the end of the movie.  It pans over a TON of characters that we have seen over a variety of marvel movies.  Then it pans over this one kid.  And nobody has ANY idea who this kid is.  Seriously, on the car ride home, I just suddenly turned to my fiancé out of nowhere and go, “Who the hell was that kid?” And even though we had mentioned NOTHING up until this point, she responds, “I have no idea, I was going to ask you that!”  So we looked it up and apparently it is the kid from the dead character’s third movie, now all grown up.

Despite all the spoiler warnings, I am REALLY trying to avoid just plopping out “Snape kills Dumbledore” level spoilers.  I already heard someone is out there sharing gifs of the finale cut into gifs of a blonde Wonder Woman shaking her ass.  Don’t look at anything until you have seen the movie(he says LONG after the spoiler tags).

As I said, the movie is long and honestly it could have cut a decent amount to get a more flowing narrative, but this takes place just after the universe got cut in half.  Hope is gone.  So we have the scenes where people are just collecting themselves after the fallout.  This movie is a 6 part series instead of a one shot.  It doesn’t have to keep the tempo up to keep everyone around.  It paces itself and takes its time.  It starts a little slow, but once it gets to the third act, everything is full steam ahead.

So I did 22 movies, 22 reviews, in 7 days.  Wow.  Guess I should probably get back to that Dark Universe thing then, huh?

Next Week: The Long Dolls Intruder.  Charlize Theron buys a home from a bunch of deformed toys who terrorize her when she doesn’t keep the house how they want it.

 

Road to Endgame: Avengers: Infinity War

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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

I attended a Marathon leading up to the release of Infinity War.  Sadly it was only 11 of the 19 movies available at the time.  So it wasn’t as complete a marathon as I would have liked.  Worse was that the movies they cut out were all the middle bits.  It didn’t even include Thor Ragnarok, which is VITAL to the lead up to Infinity War.  But once again, I was in a theater(or two) with over a hundred people for about 36 hours.  So when we got to the ending, we had true fans just get ripped apart.  I desperately wish I was knee deep in this years Marathon that is ALL 22 Marvel movies, but sadly, I am not.  If I was, I would not be able to do these reviews, so you guys win?

This movie is just beyond good.  The Russo Brothers are just absolute masters of movie making.  I’m not sure anyone else could consistently take all these characters, give them significant screen time, and make them all have weight.  No character gets a back burner.  Well, except Drax, but no more back burner than in his own movies.  He just stays so still. . .

One of the most surprising aspects of this movie is Thanos.  Marvel has a fairly rough history when it comes to villains.  Or at least that is the common complaint.  I think a majority of the villains are fairly compelling, but they are one offs that won’t really go beyond the one movie.  We figured Thanos was going to just be a big angry threat, but not terribly compelling.

Boy were we wrong.

Thanos has great motivation, and it is almost reasonable.  For a guy who wants to wipe out half of everything.  Josh Brolin does a spectacular job bringing depth to the mad Titan.

This movie also had moment on top of moment of audience reactions.  Thor showing up in Wakanda got a huge cheer from the Audience.  We also thought he almost won.  But then the snap happened.  And the joy turned to ash in our mouths.

Oh yeah, Peter Dinklage is in this film.  He plays a giant dwarf.  Yeah, it is a thing.

As phenomenal as this film is, there are a few things that are only so-so.  Speaking of Peter Dinklage, his the effect they used to make him seem like a giant was kinda off.  Not as distracting as, say, the scene where Hellboy is fighting giants, but it seemed a little weird.  Also I was never sold on Iron Man’s armor.  It seems like it needed a few more renders to look “real.”  Also all the CGI of Thanos and his Minions looks like a really good video game render, but not believable as they really exist.

Now the part that pissed everyone off.  Star Lord screwing up the plan.  He didn’t change character.  He is the one who started shooting the crap out of his Celestial Planet Father the SECOND he admitted to killing his mother.  That is honestly one of the biggest things that this marathon reminded me of.  Star Lord will give up the power of the cosmos to strike out at those who hurt his loved ones.

So we were all shocked when the snap happened and at the end.  Characters that we just met are scattered to the dust.  We all “know” that they will be back, but it was still emotionally devastating.

This movie is not for kids, and DEFINITELY not for my mother.

We didn’t warn her.

We are still in trouble.

Hopefully she’ll let us back in the house after Endgame.

And now let it begin.

Next Time: Avengers: Endgame.

Road to Endgame: Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)

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Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Man, Ant-man movies don’t believe in opening credits, do they?  You expect to have a title card or two of breathing time.  Just a slow ease into the movie, get that fancy new Marvel Studios logo in there.  Nope, BOOM, movie’s started, sit the f*** down!

So it seems everyone forgot that Scott Lang was hired by Pym to steal the suit.  I also wonder what happened at the end of Winter Soldier.  It is heavily hinted that Captain America broke into the Raft and broke out everyone on his team.  But in Infinity War and this movie it is pointed out that Scott Lang and Hawkeye took deals so they could return to their families under house arrest.

Anywho, Scott Lang returns home and Hank and Hope both are mad at him.  Hank has lost all his faith in Scott.  Which is understandable.  In Ant-Man, Hank had a lot of faith in Scott Lang and believed in him.  However, when Scott Lang took his tech WITHOUT him hiring him to do it, Hank gets all pissy, because now he has made them fugitives in something they didn’t even participate in.  Which is really odd.  If War Machine went against the Accords, wouldn’t Tony Stark technically be arrested for making his suit?

So when Scott has a dream about Janet Van Dyne, he gets hauled right into the plot of the movie, because suddenly he has what Hank and Hope need to save Janet.  By the way, worst kept secret that Janet Van Dyne returns, she’s on the damn poster.  Hell, she has her own character poster.

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So after picking up Scott, the team needs to get a special technology thing that a restaurant owner has. . .for some reason.  So that one guy who keeps playing racist characters in Quinten Tarantino films and Justified plays a guy who owns a restaurant and does shady technology deals.  Honestly, I don’t know where this guy fits into things outside of just being a third party that wants to hunt down Pym’s tech.

When the deal goes south and Hope goes full Wasp on their bitch asses, we are then introduced to the Ghost.  She can phase in and out of reality which makes her a pain in the ass to fight against.  She wants Pym’s tech so she can steal the quantum energy from Janet Van Dyne in order to fix her phasing issue, which is slowly killing her.  She is getting help from the former Black Goliath(checks notes) okay, just Goliath.  He was Black Goliath for years, but they took it out.

Oh and because Hank, Hope, and Scott are all fugitives, the FBI is also after them and their tech.  So 4 separate groups are all after this tech.  Only two of them have motivations beyond, “I want it.”  All the groups are entertaining as hell, but it is damn near turning into wacky racers of everybody trying to get the tech.

After a game of hot potato with the incredible shrinking building, Paul Rudd does his best impression of a character we haven’t met yet, and then gets everyone back.  Janet returns to the real world, then manages to stabilize Ghost for the time being.  Then Ant-man goes deep diving in the quantum realm to get more Quantum juice. . .right when Thanos decides to snap everyone else out of existence, stranding him in the quantum realm.

I feel this is one of the better sequels.  It manages to maintain the quality of the first film pretty well.  It doesn’t go above and beyond like Winter Soldier did, but it doesn’t regress or reduce, like Dark World or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

Now, one final film.  Infinity War, where it all comes together for the first time.

Road to Endgame: Black Panther (2018)

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Black Panther (2018)

This movie, like Captain Marvel, is a minefield when it comes to reviewing it.  If you didn’t like Captain Marvel, you’re sexist and hate Brie Larson.  If you didn’t like Black Panther, you’re racist.  How can you critically review a movie if you are handcuffed only to like it and can’t bad mouth it?

I for one believe that a bad movie should be called out regardless of whether or not people will judge you for disliking it.  IF YOUR MOVIE SUCKS, I WILL TELL YOU IT SUCKS AND DAMN THE CONSEQUENC!

. . . That was a pretty dramatic build up for a movie I really liked.

The story is good, if average for a film about a King and the struggle for the throne.  It’s been done in Thor, Aquaman, Lion King, Hamlet, My Little Pony, Winnie the Pooh, Minesweeper. . .okay, I think some of those might be off the mark, but you get the gist.

Killmonger is a great villain, but in the end becomes an Evil Black Panther in the end.  However he is compelling as hell and played by the great Michael B Jordan.  One thing though, and it has nothing to do with the film.  Michael B Jordan stated he thought Killmonger would be able to defeat Thanos because Killmonger is smart dedicated enough that if he set his mind to it, he would find a way to kill Thanos.

I’m sorry, no.  Killmonger is a great villain and pulled off a full scale hostile takeover, but he would not be able to pull off the same thing with Thanos.  Killmonger spent his entire life building up to taking down Black Panther, and ultimately failed.  Thanos has several people spending their entire lives trying to kill him, 2 in fact.  Neither of them have succeeded yet.

However, the greatness of Black Panther is not in the broad strokes, but in the details.  This is a blockbuster movie made by a primarily minority cast and crew.  Most of the time these movies get ignored by the general audiences, or gets treated as an off brand.  However, this movie gets the same treatment and importance as any of the other Marvel heroes.  This is groundbreaking.  And it is really really good.  Not my favorite, because Winter Soldier and the Avengers movies, but I would hold on par with any of the Phase 1 stand alone movies, which is high praise considering they BUILT the MCU.

Now, I know Infinity War is next in release date, but I want to save that as the last movie I see before Endgame.  So next on the list is Ant Man and The Wasp.

Road to Endgame: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

So when this movie came out, I was kinda dissappointed.  I thought it was funny as hell, but Thor became a joke.  I missed the Shakespearian Thor.  But you can only hang around Tony Stark for so long before getting a sense of humor.  And we are NOT doing Dark World again.

So the three acts of this movie are drastically seperate.  Act 1 has Thor battling demons on fire world, then briefly returning to Asgard to find that his brother is pretending to be Odin.  Loki takes Thor to earth to find Odin and then IMMEDIATELY gets captured by Doctor Strange.

THIS is the Doctor Strange I know and love from the comics.  Just casually tossing around gods on a whim as he moves through his house.  He drops Thor and Loki in Norway where they find Odin.

Who immediately dies, Unleashing HELL ON EARTH!

Whoops, Typo, Hela on Earth.  She breaks Thors hammer and knocks both the Odinsons out of the Bifrost and into Act 2.

Based on early trailers and set photos, there was clearly a different staging area for the death of Odin and introduction of Hela.  I kinda want to see how that one turned out, cause having it occur on a very green area of Norway is kind of . . .weird.

Anywho, Act 2 has Thor and Loki on Sakaar.  Jeff Goldblum is brilliant as the Grandmaster.  I want more of him.  Thor finds Hulk who has been very absent for a few movies.  Thor and Hulk have an awesome battle with HILARIOUS commentary by Loki.  The fight gets called early by The Grandmaster who uses a shock collar on Thor.

The God of Thunder is taken down by a fancy shock collar.  What the bleeding hell?

Meanwhile Hela is overthrowing everyone and getting Marvel Actors out of their contracts before they move over to DC. And Heimdall is hiding the masses.

After an interesting escape from Sakaar through the Devil’s Anus, everyone makes it back to Asgard for Act 3.

The Battle for Asgard is epic, long, hilarious, and awesome.  However, one thing that kind of turned me off the first time and I still find a little lame is the “One against All” fights.  The fights between Thor and Hulk and Thor and Hela are awesome.  But Hela against all the soldiers of Asgard was a cgi bleh.  The Brief battle of Thor, Hulk, Loki, Heimdall, and Valkyrie against the armies of the dead is also somewhat bleh, but is greatly helped by the rock soundtrack.

Anyway, Thor loses an eye, but figures out he is not the God of Hammers.  Even at his best though, he cannot defeat Hela.  So he sacrifices Asgard the planet, and saves Asgard the people.

Until Thanos shows up.

So I enjoy this movie a lot more after initially being dissappointed by a jokey Thor.  I like that they fixed Odin.  Made him the wise father again instead of an old man and a fool.

So we go from the death of one wise king and the power struggle that follows to another in Black Panther.

 

Road to Endgame: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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Spider-man: Homecoming (2017)

So considering I just tore into my entire family for not watching Spider-man: Homecoming in theaters and everyone seeing them months or years after it came out, it must mean that it is one of my FAVORITE MCU movies, right? Eh, not really.

Honestly, I wanted more Spider-man action.  Spider-man was kind of underwhelming.  He spent most of the movie trying to work his suit, without even the fun of his suit wanting to eat people.  I do like the Instant Kill version of the suit looking similar to the Assassin Spider-man.

We also don’t get the same level of competence Spider-man showed in Civil War.  Save for the beginning of the Ferry fight and at the final battle, we don’t see much of his fighting ability.  In Civil War he clowned The Falcon and Winter Soldier.  Hell, he somewhat held his own against Cap.  . . .okay, he got a few shots in, but experiance won out on that one.  In this he spends most of the fighting getting dragged around, getting shown up, or overall just not doing a great job.

However, it does a great job showing Peter taking his role of Spider-man seriously.  He doesn’t use his powers to showboat.  He doesn’t use his identity as Spider-man to gain favor.  When his friend tries to convince him to show up at a party, Peter decides it is the wrong thing to do.  Good on you Spider-man avoiding an awkward situation.

Michael Keaton was brilliant, everyone says so.

Honestly, I wish the comedy came more from Spider-man’s wit than just what is happening to Spider-man.

The main problem is that they took Spider-man away from the buildings and the sky scrapers, and kept him on the ground and out of the areas where he can swing webs like crazy.  Tobey McGuire’s and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Spider-man were both amazingly quick and agile.  Tom Holland spends a LONG time climbing the Washington Monument and when he reaches the top he is winded.

The story is well done, and fortunately no evil Spider-man as the villain, but I wanted a little bit more from my Spider-man.  But I think we have some good foundations to build on.  Really excited for Far From Home.

Well, now we go to a funnier movie than Spider-man, Thor Ragnarok!

Road to Endgame: Captain Marvel (2019)

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Captain Marvel (2019)

I JUST reviewed this movie!  I have to do it again?!?  Ugh, FINE!

The first time I watched this movie, I loved everything about it except for Nick Fury.

After rewatching all the other Marvel movies, I am slightly more accepting of this Nick Fury.  He’s young and not as sure of himself as the Fury that has “seen some shit.”  So the Fury that depends on a cat to save him is not the same as one that thought he was bad ass enough to take out a fighter jet with a hand gun  He thought about it at least.

There are some things that bug me about the movie.

One of the big things about this movie is the fact it takes place in the 90’s.  Thus it is chock full of 90’s nostalgia and gags.  Or. . . like 4 or 5 of them?  She crash lands in a Blockbuster, gets a Gameboy and other electronics from RadioShack(I don’t EVER remember RadioShack selling gameboys, but whatever), 2 way pagers are a thing, and low grade computers and spycraft.  Oh and the Stan Lee cameo of him reading the Mallrats script.  Hell I think Guardians of the Galaxy has more references to the 80’s than this does to the 90’s.  Not that it drags the movie down, but it is just odd that a movie that went with a Geocities theme for its website only has a few 90’s references.

Another is the mythology gags.  The name for the Avengers Initiative comes from Carol Danvers callsign.  In the comics her callsign was Cheeseburger.  I, for one, would be all for the Cheeseburger Initiative.  Marvel’s The Cheeseburgers.  Cheeseburger: Age Of Ultron.  Cheeseburger: Infinity War.  Cheeseburg-(WE GET IT!). . .endgame.  If it was from the comics, or was built in naturally, that would be one thing.  But throwing it in this late in the game, just seems disingenius and forced.

Also I still don’t care for how Fury lost his eye.  It robs some of the depth in Winter Soldier.  AND WE DON’T F**K WITH WINTER SOLDIER!

Admittedly, I guess their aren’t going to be any more stories that go into the past, so have to squeeze those answers in there SOMEWHERE.

One of the things I legitmately enjoyed was the Skrull twist.  We have been beaten over the head with how shitty the Kree are.  They Sucked in Guardians of the Galaxy.  They sucked in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  AND GUESS WHERE THEY SUCK AGAIN?  That’s right, Captain Marvel.  Except they are initially set up as the good guys when compared to the Skrulls.  And it is easy to hate the Skrulls, because they have been the villainous race all throughout Marvel’s history.  But, they have yet to show up in the MCU until now.  So why would they be a threat back in the 90’s, but not in the 20 odd some years since?  Because they are not the bad guys.  In fact, if you look into the Skrull history, the only became the militiristic villains AFTER long drawn out war with the Kree.  They originally were a mercantile race who believed in free trade and cooperation.  But the Kree being total assholes kind of turned them into total assholes.

Also we get spared the evil Captain Marvel as the villain.  Her actual villains were holding her back and when she loses the restraints, she just stomps all over them.

Overall, the story is great, the characters are great, AND THE CAT IS GODLIKE!

And now to a character that wasn’t even born until after the 90’s, Spider-man!