Avengers: Endgame (Spoilers)

Here we are, months after the release of Avengers: Endgame, and I am now ready to post a review. Why the delay? Several reasons!

One, my review when it came out would not mean a damn thing. Who cares? Everyone who wants to see it will go see it, and I wouldn’t convince any one on any side to change their mind. No one was on the fence.

Two, I wanted to wait for it to beat Avatar‘s record. I don’t think it has yet, but I’m tired of waiting. It will break it will silly re-releases, so pretty disappointing.

And three, if I waited a long time, I could do a review with spoilers! Something I have never really done before. A spoiler review can be more specific, and hey, people can agree or disagree. So let’s get on it.

heroes
Together Each Achieves More.

Endgame takes place almost immediately after the events of Infinity War. Half the population is gone, many heroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is trapped in space. People are sad. But once Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) shows up, and they get their coordinates on, they all rush over to fuck over Thanos (Josh Brolin) and kill him. Hopefully also undo what he did. And it turns out they can’t. Infinity Stones are broken and gone, nothing can be done except sadness.

Five years later? Life is weird. Heroes are now fat (Chris Hemsworth). Hulks are now Professor Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Captain America (Chris Evans) is just trying to help people. But once Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is able to escape finally from the Quantum Realm, he is disgusted by what has occurred, and has ideas on how to fix what was undone. You know. With Time Travel.

Also starring…everybody. Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Sean Gunn, Winston Duke, Linda Cardellini, Frank Grillo, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, James D’Arcy, Jacob Batalon, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ty Simpkins, Robert Redford, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Lexi Rabe, Ross Marquand, Kerry Condon, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, and Stan Lee

villains“Is that all you got?” Thanos, about the last paragraph, probably.

So sure, I gave Avengers: Endgame a 4 out of 4, despite being a non-perfect movie. Because it is an emotionally satisfying film. I cried, I cheered, I seized up with anticipation, I was serviced so much as a fan. It was a blast and the three hours flew by. The final battle had so many nice moments that were cool and can still be talked about today.

When Captain America was about to say Avengers Assemble, I remember bouncing in my seat for over 10 seconds, grabbing my wife’s arm and just ready to explode. That moment was necessary. It was beautiful.

And of course we lost characters, finally. Steve, despite feeling plot holey, got to live his regular life for once and die once his life was finally over. Tony sacrificed himself for the greater good, to finally fix all of his wrongs. Natasha had a fun suicide battle with Clint that we all knew were coming, and yet, the result was surprising given future movie’s coming out.

Most characters felt like they were given their proper moments to shine and showcase their power, especially the first big three of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. The throwbacks to previous films and their first fight in Avengers were nostalgic wet dreams.

And sure, a lot of might not be desired. Some newer, strong characters barely got screen time. Captain Marvel was mostly wasted (and despite the fun of the ladies of Marvel moment, it felt awkward because we know she needed zero help). Dr. Strange was left to be a defensive wizard. Of course a lot of this was done because these characters will have more time to shine in the future and are not mid swan song, but it technically also didn’t feel natural/necessary.

Honestly, a lot of the time stuff was silly. It probably could have been shortened a good amount, but again, it featured a ton of fun moments and also gave us the entrance for Loki’s future television show.

Torches were passed, heads were rolled, and franchises collided and will be changed in the future. I just hope this five year advance is handled with care and has a real significance to it. Spider-Man: Far From Home touched on it, but it didn’t go really in depth with it still. I am afraid they will mostly ignore these ramifications later in just a few movies.

Also I should note the forced disconnect of the TV shows and the movies is frustrating. All of the Netflix drama and Agents of Shield ruined us from having even more fun moments. I blame Ike.

4 out of 4.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first question you have to ask yourself, does anyone care about Ant-Man? Does anyone care about the Wasp? Does anyone care about Ant-Man and The Wasp?

So soon does this film come out, when just two months ago we had Avengers: Infinity War, a film that made some people cry. Now these titular characters were missing from Avengers of course. Does this happen before IW? After? During? That has to be the majority reason why anyone is watching this film. To see how, if at all, it connects to Avengers. People care about the larger story, not these minor characters.

And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Ant-Man. I thought the villain was great, and it had the best superhero teaser for a film, that they sadly didn’t recreate for this film.

Either way, if this film ends up being completely stand alone, then a lot of people will be disappointed.

Amatw
Hey look! The titular characters! Together!

This film takes place pre-Avengers: Infinity War, so don’t expect it to start with chaos. Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for two years following the events in Captain America: Civil War, before he has probation. All of this is explained neatly by the FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) early on, don’t worry. It is boring, he has no contact with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) or Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), but his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) still visits frequently and his ex wife and her husband (Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale).

But hey, he lives with his ex convict buddies still (Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I.), and they started a security business themselves.

AND THEN THANOS ATTACKS. Wait, no not yet. Things start to change however, when Scott has a vision of himself inside the Quantum Realm again, including a vision of Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the lost Wasp. This sucks him back into the technology rich, very steal heavy world of Ant-Man, despite only having days left on his house arrest.

Now they are in a race against time to finish developing a safer way into the Quantum Realm to find their wife, mom, and lady they don’t actually know, depending on what character you ask. We also have a skeevy business man who wants in on the potential profis (Walton Goggins), a girl phasing in and out of the physical realm (Hannah John-Kamen), and an old S.H.I.E.L.D. research buddy (Laurence Fishburne) also going in and out of their plans.

Ghost
Hey look! Ghost is joining their dance party!

I almost gave this film a 1 out of 4.

Figure that is a good starting place for this review. Sure, it is entertaining. It is funny. The cast has good chemistry. A specific Rudd scene where he has to act like an entirely different person is nailed perfectly and doesn’t feel wrong. The crew has less screen time, T.I. almost feels nonexistant, but they still have their moments. And Ghost fights were relatively cool to watch, as was the Wasp kitchen fight scene.

And yet I almost gave it a 1 out of 4. Technically, the reason I gave it the 2 instead is because of Peña’s character. I was worried they wouldn’t continue a joke from the first film and declared it to be an okay movie if they continued it on. Eventually? They continued it on, and sure, an average review.

Because lets face it, you aren’t getting your Avengers tie in until the credit scenes. This movie overall feels like a filler film. We don’t have any real villains, we just have things that consistently make the plot longer. There isn’t a lot of fighting, it is more just car chases and shrinking and growing. It isn’t a film that can feel smart, because all of the science behind it is fake anyways, so when scientific breakthroughs happen, it happens because the characters say it work, not that the audience could figure it out on our own.

Overall, it sets up a little bit in the universe. But it feels too clunk with no real established threat besides time itself. Ghost isn’t even a villain, just another damaged person, which they make sure we understand very early on.

If the MCU was Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead, this movie would fit in the middle of season one, instead of how most other films are clearly in the 2-7 territory.

2 out of 4.

Avengers: Infinity War

I really don’t have to spend a lot of information on this intro, do I?

Avengers: Infinity War (originally called Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, but people were nervous about half movies, and now the next one’s title is a secret because of spoilers or something.

I was an ecstatic little girl when the first Avengers film came out, waiting for it as soon as the first Iron Man film finished. Since then, things have been a bit more middling. My reviews have generally always been positive, none of them ever received under a 2 out of 4, and some of which are maybe too highly rated. Not everything I am extremely excited for, but most I definitely have a higher interest.

Last year, no superhero movies made my top of the year list (although one of them was about a super hero, sort of). This year, I already had Black Panther as a 4. And yet this film, this one right here, has me just as giddy as the first one for so many reasons.

So let’s just get into it.

Group 2
Oh yeah, look at these folks. Maybe this is just Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, we had a surprise for Thor and his crew. This film takes place right after that point. Bad news for the Asgardians, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is here. At this point he has one of the infinity stones, out of six total. His goal? To wipe out half of the life in the universe.

Now presumably this just means sentient life forms who walk around and have languages. I don’t think he has anything against puppies. Or plants. He isn’t doing it out of spite, he is calling it mercy. It is sort of his thing. He has been doing it manually with his own crew for a while, but he wants the stones to do it instantly, so that the survivors can flourish. You know, by having more resources, more space, less crime, whatever. He is a benevolent God.

It turns out some people have some issues with him wanting to do this though. And with two of the stones (that we know of) being on Earth, he is going to have to come crashing down, where a few people down there are decently strong and going to have to put up a little fight.

Starring every goddamn person ever. You know, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, and Benicio Del Toro.

Also featuring some newbies, like Peter Dinklage and Carrie Coon! Two whole people! Wow! And some technically regular people like Gwyneth Paltrow and William Hurt. Damn, did I get them all?

Group
What is this a crossover episode?

What’s to say that isn’t already all over the internet?

Avengers: Infinity War is a fan pleasing romp across the universe, adding most of the cast we have come to love into a few surprising show downs, where the stakes have never been higher. It is certainly one of the darker and serious Marvel films at this point. People are going to get hurt, people are going to be sad, and people are going to cry. Well, maybe. I know I cried near the end, and almost another time before then.

Acting wise, a lot of the stars gave their A-game. Shout out to Cumberbatch who really felt like a leader of this group, despite being one of the most recent additions. Holland was brought in for his acting ability, and it really showed by the end. A lot of pain was on Evans’ face throughout the film. Hemsworth is so goddamn Thor-y, its fantastic, and I am glad we got so much of him in the last few movies. And finally, Saldana, who is normally a low point from the acting carried a lot.

Of course I also have to talk about Brolin as Thanos, a role we have been waiting for for years and it really paid off well. This is a goddamn villain right here. It is really great writing when you sympathize with someone who is trying to kill half of the universe.

I don´t entirely know where Marvel is going with its ending, but I do have a feeling I will be incredibly annoyed by it in the next film. I think they are going to take what they did great here and ruin it with the second part, but that is just a gut feeling.

Avengers: Infinity Wars has some of the best fight scenes and team ups yet, and is just pure fan service through and through while giving an incredible story as well. I wish this film was longer.

I don´t have to tell you to go see this one, I know you will, and I can´t see anyone who likes the series to be disappointed with this milestone achievement.

If there is anything to be disappointed in, it is Marvel´s poor decisions to not include their other people. I haven´t seen Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in forever, but it seemed to react to the movies but never impact them, but someone from there might have been involved. And the Netflix shows? Come on, there was stuff happening in New York. If the Netflix shows ignore this event (which they didn´t ignore the first Avengers movie…) then they are just making poor decisions.

Group
You’d think with three group shots I’d have gotten all the heroes. But nope.

4 out of 4.

Justice League

Justice League promised to be The Avengers, but for the DCEU. Obvious comparisons are obvious.

Unfortunately, unlike Marvel, most of the films that led up to Justice League were either shit or average. The only one to break the mold a bit was Wonder Woman, but it still couldn’t fully escape the terrible grasps of these franchises by having a completely shit and eye sore ending.

So I didn’t go out of my way to see Justice League. One of those fool me four times, shame on me sort of things. It didn’t help that it had behind the scenes director changes, a lot of issues with reshoots, and extreme studio interference. Clearly another great film to fit the theme week of ones I should have watched last year.

Team
Is this the whole team? Eh, close enough.

Batman (Ben Affleck) really wants to bring all these super people together, to fight off giant threats that they cannot do on their own. Remember Superman (Henry Cavill)??? He totally died, but didn’t die as they made clear at the end of the last movie, so they gotta work together to beat future gods.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is generally on board. They just have to find more people. These people beings who will eventually go by their names of The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa).

Unfortunately, the next biggest threat is just some god dude from the Wonder Woman mythos. His name is Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), who is maybe where the band got their name from. He was here a long time ago, got defeated by the races of men, Amazons, and the Merfolk. There were some power cubes that they all split up to defend, and now he is back, wanting all three cubes, to have so much power.

So their goal is to prevent him from getting all the cubes, and once he still gets them, then hopefully defeat them and split up the cubes. Pretty basic plot.

Also starring Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Joe Morton, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Connie Nielsen, and Diane Lane.

Steppenwolf
It was hard to find a good picture of the villain. Clearly I still failed.

When it comes to Justice League, there are so many places you can point to in order to determine what went wrong. And you’d be right! All of those reasons are why this movie was so poor!

First of all, Steppenwolf. What a goddamn terrible villain for us care about. Some CGI’d dude who is just super strong, and oh no, he might destroy the world. He has no great backstory, and he doesn’t even feel threatening on any scale. Sure, they show he is strong, but also, he doesn’t feel like a real threat. Not one bigger than Ares in Wonder Woman at least.

The CGI is a travesty. And so much of the film is just drenched in it. From the terrible Amazon horse fight scene, to the climatic battles, this one just reeks of cheap graphics.

Our characters come together and never feel like a team. It is clunky. Aquaman is shown as badass and strong, but never really embraces the powers unique of Aquaman. I have no idea if I care about Cyborg still, which is less a human with powers and more a…robot. But then again, Batman is on this team, so whatever.

And fucking Superman is in this movie. Once he finally shows up, he basically does most of the work on his own. They point out that he is indeed faster than The Flash, and the strongest, and can do no wrong. Steppenwolf is a villain who can kick most of the Justice League’s ass. Unfortunately, the one he cannot can also do it on his own.

Justice League is just a farce of a great movie. It is amazing how the DCEU just hates its characters so much that it continuously pumps out these mediocre or worse films.

1 out of 4.

Thor: Ragnarok

Okay, Thor: The Dark World was sort of bad. I was caught up in Marvel hype at the time, but I still stand by my original Thor rating.

I love the god of Thunder, and I want Chris Hemsworth to be in many more movies, so I just ooze out happiness towards him, hoping everything is great and falling in love. Except for Blackhat. And The Huntsman: Winter’s War. And Ghostbusters. Okay, so lately Thor is all he has going for him outside of Rush (is it the four letter word theme?!).

But that is not why I am excited about Thor: Ragnarok. I am floor to the wall excited thanks to Taika Waititi.

Who? The indie film New Zealand director who gave us What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt For The Wilderpeople (one of my top films last year). This man is so good at his craft, bringing natural humor and an adventure out of little. The fact that he was given a Marvel film to helm, to put his own spin on things, blows my minds, and honestly, I just could not fucking wait.

lightning
Basically, Thor is now full on Rayden.

Ragnarok takes place sometimes after the events of other movies. Thor (Hemsworth) is roaming the stars, leaving Midgard (Earth) behind for a bit in their squabbles, as he makes sure life around the Realms is swell. He is having nightmares about Asgard falling in flames, and he would rather not have that happen to his home.

After dealing with threats, he returns to Asgard and finds it complacent in the suffering of the realm. Heimdall (Idris Elba) is missing. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is clearly Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in disguise, not actually dead like everyone assumed. But that is only the beginning of the issues.

It turns out that Thor has an older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death, who has been imprisoned by Odin for some time. She is set to return, to return Asgard to a machine of death and destruction to conquer the cosmos. The Asgard of the past was a scary place, everyone would prefer peace time now, but it is hard for that to occur when she shows up on their doorstep, stronger than the other Asgardians and willing to kill anyone who gets in their way.

Thor and Odin are expelled from their realm, with mixed results. Odin would like to survive and run, while Thor would prefer to get out of his new reality, defeat his sister and finally claim the throne he has denied in the past. I mean, he has to, or else everyone will die or something.

We get a few new characters into the story, including the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldbloom), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and Skurge (Karl Urban).

Also featuring the Warriors Three (sort of) (Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano), the voice of Clancy Brown, Rachel House, Taika Waititi (he is in his own movie, yes), Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, and a few cameos to keep on your toes.

War
This is probably what I would wear if I got into LARPing.

Thor is such an odd character to make films about. The goal is to make sure the films have their own unique feel to them and are not a generic action superhero film. This means that Thor gets to go to other planets and realms, but not like the Guardians of the Galaxy, as his is more solo based and war based. GotG is more bad dudes all around.

Years ago this was being noted of being a sort of Road Trip Marvel film, which is not a very apt description. We get to see different areas, different people, at various amounts, while Thor deals with his friends and family tearing itself apart. Unfortunately like a lot of those films, some areas spend too much time, seemingly drag on, when the viewer might just wish it to move its ass along eventually. Namely, the trash planet with the gladiators. Sure, some cool stuff happens there. Some sweet characters. But damn it, get going, get out, let´s get this plot going!

And there is a lot of cool stuff in this film! Thor at the end of the movie is a complete badass, finally rocking out in such an epic way that it feels like a Thor makeover, and I don´t just mean his hair. Hulk is given a decent amount of screen time and gets to show off. Loki is around, which is okay. Hela likes to throw spikes or whatever, and I guess she is strong doing that. Heimdall finally has a purpose in these movies, but still not a lot of purpose. And cameos!

Then there are questions like: Where is Lady Sif? She is a major part of the Thor crew, but she is basically replaced with Valkyrie and we are supposed to be cool with it? (She could not make the filming time, and they just ignored her existence. The Warriors Three at least had parts though).

The questions brought up at the end of The Dark World with Odin/Loki were really quickly dealt with as well. TDW had a very ominous ending and I have been waiting many years for this to come about and it was a disappointment.

Again, the film has tons of fun moments. It does a lot of things right, and it is quite hilarious and badass at various points. It is just a bit too long, rushes through the better things, drags at others, and ignores characters without a good reason.

3 out of 4.

The Fate of the Furious

Okay, let’s start this with my fast and the furious order of liking the films.

1, 5, 3, 7, 6, 4, 2.

And now that I have seen The Fate of the Furious, I would either put it after 7, or after 6. The trend continues, that I would have mentioned in a few of the previous F&F reviews I have done.

The even ones are not as good as the odd ones. It is science, bitch!

Pull
I think this is also some science.

F8 begins with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in Havana, Cuba on a honeymoon. A honeymoon! Hooray! And it comes complete with a street race so absurd and contradictory, you can accept anything else the film has to offer.

While walking around, Dom runs into a stranded woman. Car problems, sucks to suck. Turns out it was a trap, this lady is named Cipher (Charlize Theron) (A name that always means villain in any movie that features it), and she has something to blackmail Dom with. She needs him to run a mission, he can’t tell anyone, and yes, it will involve betraying his friends and loved ones to do it. But part of the film is learning about the mystery, so why would I tell you now?

We have a lot of returning characters, including: Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Deckard (Jason Statham) and Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), Elena (Elsa Pataky) and Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). For some reason, no Brian, although he is mentioned a ton.

But also new characters! Mainly featuring Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), underling of Mr. Nobody who is going to be geared towards our new Brian, Rhodes (Kristofer Hivju), Cipher’s main muscle, and Helen Mirren doing something or another.

Sub
Ending with Mirren is like popping out a secretive submarine out of nowhere, right car guys?!

What is it like to enjoy this movie? I truly cannot fathom it. It seems to be plagued with issues, from ridiculous character decisions, to plot points, to plot twists. I understand that not every character should be smart, but this group of people has now turned into an international task force that deals with apparently world ending problems, so they have to have some intelligence.

But instead we get a main character who says that ¨It doesn matter what is under the hood, but who is behind the wheel¨ before a street race. So when he is called out on that quote and given a shitty car, what does he do? A whole lot of quick modifications in order to change what is under the hood. Ah, thanks Dom, so it does matter, okay.

And that was just the beginning of the film, with the rest of the movie falling straight in line with those scenes.

We have a few mentions of Brian, but terrible reasons for not involving him. We have returning bad guys, meaning you actually have to remember the inane plots from previous films, and then watch as these bad guys gain sudden redeeming qualities and everything is fine again. We get a build up of a big fight, and it never gets to occur.

And again, we get poor decision after poor decision. In one of the above pictures we have all the cars driving in reverse to keep the middle car in place. Before that, they were just breaking to keep him stopped. But at this point in the film I had to scratch my head, wondering what their plan was going to be to actually stop him, because keeping him in place with a lot of moving tires is clearly not a good idea with no end goal. Before this scene we had a great idea with cars being hacked and forced to get in the way and block up traffic, but for whatever reason, that tactic had to be thrown out of the window for these scenes.

And you know what? The ending explosion and save rivals Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That might sound harsh, but it is true.

Some amusing banter aside, if you like superhero films where there power is driving and surviving explosions, while also having lower than average intelligence, you will enjoy The Fate of the Furious.

1 out of 4.

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: The Winter Soldier before 2016 was the best Marvel movie to date. It was solid all around, had the best action, the biggest stakes, and was nearly perfect. Before that, Captain America: The First Avenger was probably the second most solid solo film of Phase 1, behind Iron Man and also behind The Avengers.

Despite the resounding success of Captain America films and the Russo Brothers at directing, I was worried about Captain America: Civil War. Like, really really worried.

First of all, it is one of the only full plot lines I have actually read the comics for, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Second, I had seen a few trailers and I was worried about a lot of things. If the trailers gave too much away. That the plot felt forced (unnatural) and the big fight between the two groups would be cheesy. That the previous films didn’t set things up enough for the resentment to be believable.

A huge list of worries. I only need to state them out clear so I am not shown to be a fanboy. Especially after Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, I was ready for disappointment.

Shield
And no matter what happened, I would be Team Cap all the way.

This movie will make more sense if you saw Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. I assume you did, because come on, Marvel.

The film actually starts out, after some flashbacks, in Lagos, Nigeria! Some current avengers (Captain America (Chris Evans), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)) are staking out important buildings, looking for Crossbones (Frank Grillo). Needless to say, not everything goes perfectly and some civilians get hurt. Namely, a group of missionaries!

Based on those events, the events in NYC, in Sokovia, and more, the world has decided to stand up in unity and demand action. Over 100 countries have signed the Sokovia Accords, which states that the Avengers will now only act if they have permission from a UN Panel, and of course, have to act if they deem it necessary. A few of the Avengers agree with these accords. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is feeling guilty and War Machine (Don Cheadle) is on his side. Hell, even Vision (Paul Bettany) feels it is necessary to avoid problems in the future.

But not Captain. He has trust issues with these sorts of groups now, and doesn’t want to be forced to step aside if he sees wrong doing, or be forced to do something he sees as wrong. So he doesn’t sign the papers. The papers are led by the King of Wakanda, T’Chaka (John Kani), who is especially pissed that their primary export was used to make Ultron. And sure enough, more bad things happen. Apparently The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is at it again!

Fuck, so much shit. Captain believes Bucky is just brainwashed and wants to protect his old friend and not let the government kill him. So yeah, there is some conflict here. Captain and a few others agree to help him out, to get to the bottom of all of this, while the other guys have to stop them for negligently doing bad things to the UN and other officers. Fuck, who is right, I don’t know?!

Also featuring the return of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp). And of course, introducing Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Tom Holland as Spider-Man, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, and Daniel Brühl as Baron Zemo. William Hurt plays the Secretary of State and Martin Freeman as the head of the UN Avengers Council thing.

Shield2
Shit Spider-Man, why do you gotta go and steal my boy’s shield like that?

Captain America: Civil War is two and a half hours long, but I found myself wanting more. I needed more. More of everything! I could spend the next 500 words just comparing it to BvS, but that wouldn’t be a review of this film, it’d just be a shitty comparison. So I will keep it short: Civil War did a lot of things right that BvS did not.

Civil War turns out to be a fanboy’s wet dream. The action is incredible throughout most of the film. For each and every spout of athleticism, you can understand the fight. There aren’t a thousand quick cuts or shaky cameras. You will not only see well choreographed fighting skill sets before your eyes, but each character fights true to their persona and powers, so no one ends up fighting the same. Of course, a lot of heroes end up fighting and battling with other heroes. We also get tons of team ups you haven’t seen before. All of this creates for some intense scenes with a whole lot of fan service.

Now now, I know what you are thinking. If basically everyone is a good guy with future films, the tension can’t be real. Well, for the most part you shouldn’t expect people to die. Because it is a comic book movie and all that reason. I am not saying people don’t die, but I am saying for sure a lot of people do get hurt, both physically and emotionally. This is not a movie that wraps up everything with a nice big bow, it changes the future landscape of the films…much like The Winter Soldier did.

On another note, Civil War doesn’t go the obvious route throughout the plot. It didn’t go the typical Marvel movie route. It didn’t just keep escalating the odds to ridiculous levels. It had emotional backing behind it, on every side and even on the villain side. Some can complain that the villain is too calculating, but when I compare his plan to someone like Lex Luther’s (fuck I did it again), his makes a lot more sense without ridiculous stretches.

Shield3
Thank’s Black Panther. You are clearly just aggressively giving the shield back here.

Now here, allow me to hype things.

Black Panther HYPE! What a great introduction to this guy. He was shown to be strong, agile, moral with conflicting issues given his royal upbringing. His inclusion in this film was well written and explained, along with why he chose to fight. He is in this film a bunch, more than most of the other Avengers. I am so excited for this eventual film and future roles.

Spider-Man HYPE! Spider-Man was in this film a lot more than I expected as well. We got to see him as Peter Parker a bit as well for an introduction. His fighting was very spider like, along with his normal combat quips. They also showed his age really well, when compared to the old ass fuckers on the team, giving a clear and distinct gap in knowledge bases and general attitude.

Future films HYPE! I can’t wait for more. Like I said originally, I wasn’t looking forward to Civil War. After BvS, I certaintly wasn’t looking forward to Suicide Squad. All of my hopes were riding with X-Men: Apocalypse, which I don’t see as being good as the last two, and Doctor Strange, which I am pretty excited for. But now I have higher hopes for the future of Marvel films. Higher than I already anticipated.

On a final note, despite the large cast and significance of the plot, Civil War was worthy of being called a Captain America film. It wasn’t just Avengers 2.5. His characters was largely the focus of the film, but at the same time he wasn’t a simple protagonist. Chris Evans is GOAT, hooray movies.

4 out of 4.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I love Ben Affleck. Wait let me rephrase that.

I love Ben Affleck. Oh, apparently that is what I meant. I am not saying Affleck is perfect. He had the bad stretch in the early 2000’s. But he is making a hell of a comeback and I have been cheering him on the whole time.

I was excited to hear he was playing Batman from the get go. Finally, a Batman from Boston. Obviously he won’t be from Boston in this film, so one dream was crushed, but I still feel he has the look and power to pull it off.

That is why I am excited to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I hope that it is better than the mediocre Man of Steel. I am also glad that the slate of DC movies is now determined for the next decade or whatever. After MoS, they initially said there would be a Man of Steel 2 like, a year later, then Justice League film to bring in everyone. I guess MoS2 turned into this, a Justice League prequel. A much smarter move.

Blue eyes
God damn, look at those dreamy blueish Batfleck eyes!

Metropolis got fucked over by Zod and Superman (Henry Cavill). You might remember it because it was a big source of frustration for many film goers at the lack of consequences. So in this film, they decided to make consequences.

Like by pissing off Batman (Ben Affleck). One of his financial buildings was destroyed in the fight, with many people who used to work for him killed and one worker (Scoot McNairy) lost his legs. His legs!

So now, two years later, Superman has been around for awhile and generally doing good. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and the rest of the newspaper seem to be on his side and write good stories. Batman has been a vigilante for a long time as well, long before Superman arrived.

But now, two years later, a large source of Krptonite has been found in the ocean, and thanks to research by LexCorp and Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg), they have found that it can damage Kryptonian skin. Ooooh. He wants to build a Superman deterrent, just in case. You know, that is something that Batman can get behind.

And then a whole lot of other things happen. Like Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)! She is here too, damn it!

Also starring Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Tao Okamoto as Luther’s assistant, Laurence Fishburne as head of the newspaper, Holly Hunter as a senator, and Callan Mulvey as a generic bad dude.

Red
Shit, does everyone have glowing eyes?

Batman v Superman, because the s in “vs” is one too many characters, is a bit over 2 and a half hours. And if you haven’t heard, there will be a directors cut with the Blu-Ray release that is about 3 hours and rated R. Yes, they made the bold decision of announcing a director’s cut before actual theatrical cut, something that is mostly unheard of. I think it was to mostly announce the R-ness, after the success of Deadpool.

With a long run time, there is of course a lot going in. Even though everyone in the world knows about Batman, they still have to give us a bit of an origin story for him. For the majority of the film, it is implied that Batman has been Batmanning for a long time, perhaps even 20 years at this point. He has a lot of history that they don’t get into, but it is something I will believe, because it implies past Joker interactions, everyone involved in Suicide Squad, and more. But if Superman has been here for almost two years, you’d think the two of them would have interacted at some point before now, given Gotham and Metropolis being across a bay from each other.

I am coming from a very pro-Batfleck back ground, but I think he knocked it out of the park as our caped crusader. And not just because of his chin. We have a lot less material to work with still, but I think he is definitely better than Nolan’s Batman (Batlan?) already. He is raw, he is angry, and he is calculating. Jeremy Irons does a wonderful Alfred, but I’d be honest, I think I liked every Alfred.

Wonder Woman was also very exciting. We really only get to see her for one fight scene, but when she appears, she commands the screen. She shows no fear, fights like a god, kicks ass, and even uses one of her trademark weapons. I wanted more Wonder Woman, hell, I wanted all of the Jusice League, but the other characters were only teased.

Cavill as Superman is more of the same from Man of Steel. Nothing too drastically different here, although his 6th sense of detecting if Lois is in trouble gets a bit ridiculous. He is a bit more of a tragic character in this film, with the Christ allegations no longer being subtle.

Lastly, in terms of characters, Eisenberg as Luther I am still mostly unsure about. A lot of the character seems to be similar to half of Eisenberg’s other characters. Smart aleck, talks fast, etc. By the end, it almost seemed like they wanted to turn him a bit into the Joker with a sort of madness behind him. Let’s call him passable.

Group
No cool glowing eyes, but hey, one group shot so I don’t show favoritism.

Back to the movie as a whole. This film is all over the place. And honestly, early on the plot feels a bit convoluted. Most of the Lois Lane plot in retrospect feels a bit pointless. Everything is supposed to connect by the end, in a shower of brilliant planning, but it feels instead like it is full of holes and unnecessarily complicated. (“Hey, that’s what convoluted means! You already said that!” – Gorgon Reviews reader complaint).

The actual Batman v Superman fight scene was really cool, but in all honesty it just seemed like it was mostly to showcase how awesome Batman was. Superman never really went “full Superhero” during it, and the ending of the fight seemed sudden and a bit tacky.

As for the actual big crazy fight scene, which I won’t spoil despite the second trailer doing just that, it was occasionally nifty, while also often being messy. I really enjoyed the fight scenes between Zod and Superman in the previous film because it did a great job of showing how intense a fight between virtual gods would be, but this one takes place in the dark, with tons of explosions and flashing lights. It is harder to follow actually what is going on, which was only a problem in the Krypton pats of the first film. Basically every fight is in the dark and at night, making it annoying. We do get to see how the different characters fight and they aren’t just all bam bam pow.

Annoyingly, Batman seems to do something in the final fight that makes no real tactical sense. In fact, it seems like it is him doing something that he was angry at Superman for doing. They try to explain it off with a line, but as it was spoken, I could only shake my head wondering how something so stupid could be included in the film.

BATFLECK
Favoritism, schmavoritism. Batfleck was clearly superior and everyone knows it.

The film doesn’t go about explaining a lot of smaller plot points. Sometimes it makes sense, as it assumes the audience is competent and knows a thing or two about these heroes. However, on Batman’s side, there are a lot of weird…dreams, moments, and references, that seem to mostly be teasing for the future and leaving me a bit perplexed at times. They tended to feel out of place and actually slow the movie down since they aren’t relevant yet.

And finally, FINALLY, the ending. Good news, it might be controversial again although not in the expected way. The whole time I was sitting there, I was confused. There were two routes it could have gone. One would have been really bold and a creative direction to take the future films, the other would be very obvious to any movie goer and thus have absolutely no impact. And yeah, it went the no impact route. The last 5-10 minutes seem to be almost cancelled out thanks to final scenes. On its own it will rustle at least dozens of jimmies.

Here is the good news. I think this film is a step in the right direction. There is a lot of good in there, just also a lot of meh to overall bring it down some. But it did still have me excited for Justice League and excited for Wonder Woman. As for Suicide Squad, the trailers still have me as mostly indifferent. This could be a fantastic film franchise and a nice foil to Marvel, it just will take a few more steps than The Avengers took to get there.

2 out of 4.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is technically the first big budget movie of the summer, because April doesn’t count as summer. Take that, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And what a packed summer it is! Or at least this month, in which we see two Marvel franchises, neither currently owned by Marvel.

Either way, the first one I thought was a good reboot. I was still shocked like everyone else when they announced that there would be at least four movies in this franchise, one released every two years. So you can look forward to The Amazing Spider-Man 4 in 2018. It also will have two spinoffs at least, Venom and Sinister Six, presumably in the off years. Although they will just feel like more of the same I assume.

Gwen
I have absolutely nothing to follow that informative, yet boring intro.

Spider-Man! It is a few years after the first film, now time for graduation. Peter (Andrew Garfield) is conflicted over his love for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). He promised to not get her involved, it could hurt her. Sure, at the end of the first movie he didn’t care, but apparently now he does.

So, a yearish after that, he is still saving the day, but now in college. I assume a community college or something, maybe online classes, because you never really see him doing work for it. Some would say he is wasting his potential, but those people don’t know he is Spider-Man.

Either way, his old friend from middle school or so, Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan) has returned home. His father, Norman (Chris Cooper) is dying of a genetic disease, so Harry is going to get it too probably. That isn’t Harry’s only problem. He is also now head of Oscorp, the board hates that and wants to get him ousted as soon as possible.

Lot of shit going down. Not to mention a poor nobody Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx) is killed while working at Oscorp, his body being electrified in a horrible accident. Oh what’s that? Electro. And he has a beef with Spider-Man and the city too. Oh hamburgers.

Also starring again Sally Field as Aunt May, Campbell Scott as Peter’s dad, and Paul Giamatti as a Russian criminal turned Rhino.

Action Though
I think I actually got shocked during this fight scene. 3D Effects are amazing.

Just like the previous film, this franchise just seems to “Get it”. They get what it means to be Spider-Man, how cool it is, and the entire strength of his character. This is mostly portrayed in two points of the film.

Point one: His wit. Spider-Man talks with the public and the bad guys as he swings around, offering the quick joke or two and not taking life too seriously until it gets dire.

Point two: The fights. Holy crap the fights. The action in this movie is just so fucking incredibly Spider-Man. So good, so good. We get to see Spider-Man use his agility and webs to maximize his chances of victory, against stronger and slower foes, and against quick foes too. He has to use his brain to develop strategies for beating enemies. He uses Science! We get to see his Spider Senses help determine his plan in a combat. It is just so gleeful. Maybe worth the price of admission.

But this movie has a lot of faults too. The plot is a lot thinner than I would have hoped. Too much of the movie is Peter moping around, not being awesome. We just had the origin story, the sequel is supposed to allow for a lot more action and awesome. Since it is over two hours, having two big villains shouldn’t be an issue, as it is closer to the comics that way anyways. But still the ending villain fights feel a bit rushed.

I knew how the ending would go I guess, and man, it still rocked me. I thought it was a well done interpretation. That is all I will say on that note. The movie feels a lot like a comic too, and I don’t know how to describe that better. But the plot also moves sometimes at strange paces. Somehow Peter finds out a secret laboratory that his father had made. But the clues that lead to it seemed completely random, and they didn’t really have a good way of explaining how he made those leaps of logic.

Oh well. The action? Really really fucking good. The plot? Ehhh. I do like how they started the Electro character. That way feels pretty new. The Goblin could have used a bit more work and time I think.

2 out of 4.

Man Of Steel

If you have talked to me about superheroes before, you will have found out I prefer Marvel to DC. Marvel sets its characters in real cities in the real world, generally makes their characters relatable, and almost always gives them character flaws, like Tony Stark and his alcoholism.

If you had to ask for my least favorite (popular) superhero, it would definitely be Superman. The idea of his character is boring. He is hardly relatable, being an alien from another planet who has ungodly powers compared to the rest of us. He is generally unstoppable, unless somehow an even stronger force appears, or a very rare substance from his home world magically shows up. Not even Five For Fighting could convince me otherwise.

Regardless, I was still excited about Man Of Steel (Trailer). It looks like their main goal was to make him a bit more relatable to us normal folks, which is one of the harder tasks out there. So if we can get some good drama, and for goodness sake, some good action in this movie, I might just like Superman again. Basically, make it the opposite of Superman Returns. Although it only barely fits, this is also part of my Apocalypse Week, because technically it could involve the end of the world?

ChoicesI like to picture the helicopters as his Angel/Devil counterparts, telling him what to do.
Of course, they are helicopters, so they are both telling him to fuck some shit up.

The movie begins on the planet of Krypton! You see, the elders there have expended all of the planets natural resources, so the planet is kind of doomed, threatening the entire race. General Zod (Michael Shannon) is attempting a military coup to fix the mess the elders have caused, while Jor-El (Russell Crowe) has an alternative answer. He believes his newly born son has the answer to their future, and sends him off to Earth to live and grow, while the rest of his kind perish.

So, Kal-El (Henry Cavill, eventually) finds himself in Smallville, Kansas. He is raised by the Kents (Kevin CostnerDiane Lane), taught to be a good person and to hide his powers from others, who might be afraid of him or use it against him. It isn’t until much later in his life, when he is on odd job #35, that he is able to find an ancient alien space craft. There he finds the answers to his past, his race, and his purpose.

This unfortunately also sets off a beacon into space, allowing General Zod and his crew to find his location. They’ve been amassing a giant army and are looking for a new home. Thanks Kal-El, you doomed the Earth.

They show up, demand Kal-El turn himself over, or else the planet is kaput. Surely he is a man true to his word and will actually leave Earth alone, right? We also have Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Richard Schiff as random scientist FBI guy, Laurence Fishburne as The Daily Planet editor, and Christopher Meloni as bad ass army man.

Zod Zod
Not to ruin the movie for you, but the entire time I thought Zod looked a bit like Geoffrey Arend.

I’ve already wrote a lot about the movie, but hold on to your butts, I have a lot more coming.

Zack Snyder is the man who brought us 300 and Watchmen, both of which I love on their own right, and is a man fully ingrained into the superhero world now. He has the ability to make a movie visually pleasing, but sometimes relies on too many film filters to take me out of it.

I hated the filtering for Man Of Steel, but the fight scenes are quite worthy of praise. They mostly involve aliens who move much faster and hit a lot harder than we can even fathom, yet Snyder was able to create fight scenes that could both A) Be followed and understood by an audience and B) show off really cool visual effects. Often times in fight scenes, you will be stuck with blurriness in the action, just not in this movie.

It was great watching Superman doing actual super things, whereas in Superman Returns, the whole movie was him lifting progressively heavier objects.

In addition to Snyder, the film also features Christopher Nolan as a writer and producer, so he can hopefully add some deeper elements to the story that Snyder usually lacks. Unfortunately, I thought the plot and characterizations were probably the weakest part of the film.

General Zod is an interesting villain, mostly because he isn’t Lex Luther. However I think they spent far too much time on Krypton early in the film, which seemed to exist just to give Crowe even more screen time and show off lots of CGI explosions. Unfortunately right after that, we had a series of awkward childhood flashbacks while Superman is an adult hiding from the world, making the early movie feel disjointed and odd. I have to admit, I think a lot could have been cut from the 143 minute storyline to make a bit more exciting movie.

Yes, I am claiming large parts of the Man Of Steel were boring, a sad conclusion. Great action scenes, okay acting, boring overall plot and set up. I really disliked Costner’s character. That guy was an idiot and I felt nothing during his biggest emotional scene of the movie. Heck, you’d think people living in Kansas would also know that when a Tornado is coming an overpass is NOT the best place to run and hide. I know that, and I’ve lived in the Midwest less than year. That isn’t why the film got the rating, but it really grinded my gears nonetheless.

Overall, Man Of Steel is a decent showing for a DC character I hate, but it still isn’t enough to fully love.

2 out of 4.