Archive for the Superhero Films Category

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

It’s back to the 1960s as Batman and Robin spring into action when Gotham City is threatened by a quartet of Batman’s most fiendish foes–Penguin, The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman. This time, the four Super-Villains have combined their wicked talents to hatch a plot so nefarious that the Dynamic Duo will need to go to outer space (and back) to foil their arch enemies and restore order in Gotham City. It’s a truly fantastic adventure that will pit good against evil, good against good, evil against evil… and feature two words that exponentially raise the stakes for both sides: Replicator Ray. Holy Multiplication Tables!

What people are saying:

“It’s both a subtle jab at more dour versions of Batman in the mythology and acts as a stamp that marks West’s version as a cunning and capable character.” 4 stars

“What’s this? A DC Original Animated Movie that is smartly written, fun, and captures the spirit of what it’s adapting? Not simply a extended episode serving as a homage to the original 60’s series, but actually a true Batman ’66 feature-length adventure. Sure, the returning cast members may sound their age- but they sure sound like they’re having the same kind of fun they had back in the day. And they thought Batman couldn’t be thing way again.” 4 stars

“Once you get past the voices, which are of course noticeably older or replacements for those that have passed on, you can settle into a film that perfectly captures the spirit of the 60’s show while adding in some clever commentary on Batman interactions that have appeared since. The animated medium allows for the proceedings to be on a much bigger scale, and while that counts against it towards the end when the runtime starts to go on a little too long (it’s about four episodes worth of the TV show and might have been better sticking to its standard two-part, 40 minute story format), it does use the extra time to wrap up a character arc from the show. It’s this tendency to go beyond its remit, as well as its razor-sharp script and contagious sense of fun, that makes it easy to recommend to Batman fans old and new alike.” 3 1/2 stars

“Let’s take just a second: Adam West has been Batman off and on for 50 years. That may be type-casting, but when fans think of Batman, The Caped Crusader, the name that comes to mind after Bruce Wayne is Adam West. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders reminds us all why Adam West is the best Batman. It brings back everything we liked about the series. This is pretty much a sequel to the Batman ’66 film. The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman have teamed up again to take over Gotham and ultimately – the world! There are jokes about three Catwomen. Commissioner Gordon sports his trademark mustache. There are cool things here in animation that would burst a live-action budget as far as special effects. There is one questionable joke that for me fell flat. Your mileage may vary. Make no mistake: this is The Bright Knight, a far different Batman than what we have seen since 1989. There is a sequel coming, with William (Captain Kirk) Shatner as Two-Face. Hopefully this will develop into a franchise – maybe a true return for the Caped Crusaders!” 5 stars

“There’s a joy impossible to deny. It’s crafted by a team that can hardly contain its adoration for the material. That love is so apparent it might win over a new generation.” 4 1/2 stars

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Justice League

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes–Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash–it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

What people are saying:

Justice League… has been conceived, in each and every frame, to correct the sins of Batman v Superman. It’s not just a sequel—it’s an act of franchise penance. The movie… is never messy or bombastic. It’s light and clean and simple (at times almost too simple), with razory repartee and combat duels that make a point of not going on for too long” 4 stars

“A turgid film that thinks it’s more important than it really is bringing together characters that haven’t been given much in the way of individual support so far, making them feel tacked-on.” 3 1/2 stars

“Another tremendously lazy and incoherent mess of a film. If the idea of 2 hours of green screen doesnt turn you off immediately, the total lack of pacing, acting ability, and visual appeal certainly should.” 1 star

“Entertaining, yes, but one can’t shake the feeling DC is still trying to play catch up with Marvel. Also of note is that while there is a noticeably lighter tone to this film, they actors/characters still do not seem to be having fun. Don’t get me started on Henry Cavil’s upper lip!” 2 1/2 stars

“This movie is a lot better than it has gotten credit for, and personally I think it’s the best of the 5 films in the DC Extended Universe so far, but it’s still hard to not view it as a knock-off of “The Avengers”. The plot of both films is the exact same – a group of superheroes form a team to stop an extraterrestrial villain and his army of creatures from conquering the world, but is not executed as well here. Having said that, I guess if you’re going to rip a film off, you may as well rip off a good one, as this ends up being mostly entertaining. The cast of the DCEU continues to be fantastic, specifically newcomers Ezra Miller (Flash) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman). I thought Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and Ben Affleck (Batman) weren’t quite as charming as in prior films, but Henry Cavill continues to shine as Superman. He is the only Superman actor in the same league as Christopher Reeve. There are a few really good moments, including a scene which showcases how much of a beast Superman is, and a humorous scene where Aquaman falls victim to Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth. The villain is unfortunately weak, partly due to being completely CGI. I’m guessing we won’t get a sequel, as this was the lowest grossing DCEU movie, despite it supposed to be a culmination movie of sorts and the “biggest” one in the series. Ultimately, it is a good movie, though doesn’t really meet expectations after all of the build-up.” 4 stars

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1987, Janet van Dyne / Wasp shrinks between the molecules of a Soviet nuclear missile, disabling it but becoming trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm. Hank Pym / Ant-Man raises their daughter Hope believing that Janet is dead. Years later, former criminal Scott Lang takes up the mantle of Ant-Man and discovers a way to both enter and return from the quantum realm. Pym and Hope begin work on repeating this feat, believing they may find Janet alive. Lang and Hope also start a romantic relationship and begin training to fight together as Ant-Man and the Wasp, until Lang secretly helps Captain America during a skirmish between the Avengers in violation of the Sokovia Accords. Lang is placed under house arrest, while Pym and Hope go into hiding and cut ties with Lang.

Two years later, Pym and Hope briefly manage to open a tunnel to the quantum realm. Lang receives an apparent message from Janet with whom he is quantumly entangled. Despite having only days left of house arrest, Lang decides to call Pym. Hope kidnaps Lang, leaving a decoy so as not to arouse suspicion from FBI agent Jimmy Woo. Seeing the message as confirmation that Janet is alive, Pym and Hope work to create a stable tunnel so they can take a vehicle to the quantum realm and retrieve Janet. Hope arranges to buy a part needed for the tunnel from black market dealer Sonny Burch, but Burch has realized the potential profit that can be earned from Pym and Hope’s research and double-crosses them. Hope fights Burch and his men off, until she is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman. Lang tries to help fight off this “ghost”, but she escapes with Pym’s portable lab.

Pym reluctantly visits his estranged former partner Bill Foster who helps them locate the lab. The ghost restrains Lang, Hope, and Pym when they arrive, and reveals herself to be Ava Starr. Her father Elihas, another former partner of Pym’s, accidentally killed himself and his wife during a quantum experiment that caused Ava’s unstable state. Foster reveals that he has been helping Ava, who they plan to cure using Janet’s quantum energy. Believing that this will kill Janet, Pym refuses to help them and the trio manage to escape.

Opening a stable version of the tunnel this time, Pym and Hope are able to contact Janet, who gives them a precise location to find her, but warns that they only have two hours before the unstable nature of the realm separates them for a century. Burch learns their location from Lang’s business partners Luis, Dave, and Kurt, and informs a contact at the FBI. Luis warns Lang, who rushes home before Woo can see him breaking his house arrest. This leaves Pym and Hope to be arrested, and for their lab to be taken by Ava.

Lang is soon able to help Pym and Hope escape custody, and they find the lab. Lang and Hope distract Ava while Pym enters the quantum realm to retrieve Janet, but the pair end up fighting Burch and his men which allows Ava to begin taking Janet’s energy. Luis, Dave, and Kurt help apprehend Burch, so Lang and Hope can stop Ava. Pym and Janet arrive safely from the quantum realm, and Janet voluntarily gifts some of her energy to Ava to temporarily stabilize her.

Lang returns home once again, in time for a now suspicious Woo to release him at the end of his house arrest. Ava and Foster go into hiding. In a mid-credits scene, Pym, Lang, Hope, and Janet plan to harvest quantum energy to continue helping Ava. While Lang is doing this in the quantum realm, Pym, Hope, and Janet all disintegrate

REVIEW:

Following the events of Avengers: Infinity War and with the way Luke Cage seems to be headed, it is way past time for something a little lighter to cleanse our palette of all this darkness in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Enter Ant-Man and the Wasp. Much like its predecessor, this is perhaps the most comedic of the MCU films, but what worked once doesn’t always work a second time. How will things pan out this go ’round?

What is this about?

In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

What did I like?

Wasp. At the end of Ant-Man, it was teased that Evangeline Lily’s character would suit up and become the Wasp. Already shown to be a capable fighter, the thought of her kicking butt and taking names had everyone, especially those fans of Lost, Iron Man 2. salivating. Well, i can officially say that does not disappoint. I was telling someone earlier that she kicks ass on the level of Black Widow when we first meet her in If you don’t believe me, just check out her scene in the hotel or during the car chase as she is saving the lab. Oh, and for those that care about that sort of thing, she looks great in her suit, but not once is it brought up, save for a “i like your suit” comment.

Daddy/daughter day. For all the laughs, hi-tech gizmos, action, peril, and what have you, the thing that works the most about this film is the relationship between Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, and his daughter. The warmth and caring he shows to her through out the film warms your heart and the love she shows for her father, despite the fact that he is an ex-con and a superhero is amazing. On the topic of fathers and daughters, there is a similar level of love and respect shown by Hope van Dyne, played by Evangeline Lily, towards her father throughout this whole ordeal and going back even to the last film.

Ghost in the machine. I’ll be honest with you. I had to look up the character of Ghost, because i had never heard of her before. As it turns out, she is actually a him in the comics, and though this character has her own set of issues and a mean streak, she’s nothing compared to the psychopath in the comics. What i like about what they did with this character in the film is how tragic they made her backstory. Something Marvel has been doing with their villains, of late. The audience can really relate to the pain she is going through and understand why she hates Hank Pym.

What didn’t I like?

What’s that, Sonny? Ghost is fine antagonist for this film. She has a tragic backstory, complete with ties to our main character, her plan is nefarious enough that it just might work, and she has a bloodthirsty streak that is sure to bring her back to our attention at some point in the MCU. So, with a great villain like her, why do we need this guy, Sonny? My friends over at doubletoasted.com figured it out in their review of this film. He and his gang are there for the car chase scenes. As i was watching this film, that is about all they were good for, save for the one scene with the truth serum.

Post credit. These MCU movies have become known for their mid and post credit scenes. In the theater where i watched this, no one moved after the credits started rolling, except this one bitter couple who kept saying something about it needs more Black Panther. So, what is my deal with the post-credit scene? I have no issue with it at all, other than it was given away in the trailers! For Pete’s sake, these scenes are meant to be special. How can that happen when the studio is giving them out like shots at a frat house party?

No storytime. Michael Pena’s character, Luis, was a big reason the first film was such a hit. His stories were golden! So, what do the filmmaker’s decide to do with him this time? Take away his stories! WTF?!? It takes a non truth serum truth serum, you have to watch the scene in question to understand, to get him to tell us a story. One he started going, all felt right. So tell me, why is it that we weren’t able to get this in the first place?

Final verdict on Ant-Man and the Wasp? This is a film that appeals to everyone, action junkies, sci-fi nerds, feminazis, families wanting to watch a movie together, even ants cane get something out of this. That said, i didn’t quite get same feeling i got from the first film. This isn’t necessarily a rehash, but it doesn’t have the feel of a movie event as the first film seemed to have. That really is my biggest complaint about this flick, though. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! So, check it out when you get the chance!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars

Incredibles 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Family, Movie Reviews, Pixar, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Three months following Syndrome’s defeat, the Parr family – Bob, Helen, Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack – continue operating under their superhero identity, the Incredibles. After unsuccessfully preventing the villain Underminer from robbing Metroville Bank, the authorities become concerned over the level of damage caused by the incident. As a result, Rick Dicker informs the Parr family that his department’s “Super Relocation” program is being shut down, forcing supers across the world to permanently adhere to their secret identities. Soon thereafter, Bob and Helen, along with family friend Lucius Best – the superhero Frozone – are contacted by Winston Deavor, a superhero fan, telecommunications tycoon, and owner of DEVTECH, who proposes a publicity stunt to regain the general public’s support of supers.

Helen Parr, considered the least-destructive of the supers, is selected to undertake the stunt by openly fighting crime in New Urbrem, under her old identity of Elastigirl. As part of the plan, Winston provides the family with a new home, to which Bob offers to take care of the kids while Helen is away. During her absence, Bob discovers that Jack-Jack has various super powers, but struggles with controlling the family’s infant. Seeking help, Bob takes Jack-Jack to Edna Mode, a family friend and superhero-costume designer, who agrees to help upon seeing the baby’s superpowers in action. Helen meanwhile confronts the Screenslaver – a mysterious villain who hijacks screens in order to project hypnotic images that can brainwash civilians.

After rescuing an ambassador from the Screenslaver’s clutches, she manages to defeat him, only to find that he is no more than a pizza delivery man, who has no recollection of what he did. While attending a celebration of the Screenslaver’s defeat at the Deavor’s, Helen realizes that the pizza delivery man was being controlled by hypno-screens within his goggles. Before she can alert anyone to this, Winston’s sister Evelyn Deavor overpowers her and brainwashes her with Screenslaver’s goggles glasses. Evelyn reveals herself to be the mastermind behind the Screenslaver – seeing supers as a threat to humanity’s independence, she sought to undermine her brother’s mission, and plans to brainwash the world’s leaders so that they cannot re-legalize superheroes. Evelyn then manages to lure Bob and Lucius into a trap, and place them under her control with brainwashing glasses.

Avoiding the same fate as their parents, Dash, Violet, and Jack-Jack, whom Edna had outfitted with a super-suit, sneak aboard the Deavor’s ship to rescue their parents, as the world leaders meet for a hearing on supers. After freeing their parents and Lucius, the group reveal Evelyn’s plan to the assembled leaders. A battle on the boat ensues, threatening to crash the ship into New Urbrem. However, the group manage to stop it, while Helen apprehends Evelyn when she tries to make an escape. Following the incident, the Supers Relocation Program is reinstated in response to the group’s heroism, making supers legal once again.

REVIEW:

There have been some long-awaited films to be released in the past 12 months including, but not limited to Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Star Wars : The Last Jedi, etc. None of these come anywhere near the anticipation for Incredibles 2. 14 years we have been waiting for this sequel…14 years!!! Will this be worth the wait or a major letdown? Let’s find out!

What is this about?

Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2”–but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transition for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again–which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

What did I like?

Right where we left off. Every now and then we are privy to a sequel for a film that was released some 5, 10, 15 yrs prior. While it is great to see these characters, and in some cases actors, again, the feeling just isn’t the same…even if they move the story forward and age with the actors. The brilliant thing about animation is that these characters don’t age (I read they did think about aging them in an early meeting, though). The only difference in this cast over the past 14 years is the voice of Dash is a different actor, for voice change reasons and the guy that was agent Dicker retired and passed away. Once those holes were filled, it was easy to come in and pick up right where The Incredibles left off. Literally, they pick up in the same scene that ends the first film!

Jack-Jack of all trades. There has been a real emphasis placed on marketing the baby, Jack-Jack. Can you blame them, though? The kid is cute, has a seemingly unending array of powers, and there is a fight with a raccoon that steals the show! If this moves forward with another film, I am interested to see where they go with him and his powers. One theory is that he’ll stop being cute, rebel against the family, and become a supervillain. Meh, I’m not much a fan of that theory, but this kid does need to be reigned in a bit. Strangely enough, he seems to have a rapport with Edna…maybe that will lead to something?

Comedy. Let’s face it, outside of the Guardians of the Galaxy films and Ant-Man, superhero films are serious business (Marvel does throw in jokes here and there, unlike the brooding, depressing DC Universe). I don’t know why, but I was afraid this film was going to go in that direction as well. Instead, there are plenty of jokes to go around. Pixar may be known for tugging on the heartstrings primarily *COUGH* Up *COUGH*, but leave us not forget they know how to make an audience of all ages laugh, too, something they succeed with in spades with the film. Situations with Jack-Jack, Bob learning new math, the character Voyd’s nervousness around Elastigirl, etc. All the jokes land and make for a thoroughly entertaining film.

What didn’t I like?

Feminism. Over the course of this blog’s history, I have made it no secret that I am no fan of feminism. Everyone should have equal rights, sure, but don’t shove your agenda down my throat, or say I am a bad person because I prefer seeing a damsel in distress once in a while. The level of feminism in this film isn’t bra burning, stop shaving your armpits, listen to 90s era lesbian grunge, for lack of a better term…blame the ladies I went to college with…but it does reek of trying to put the focus on Elastigirl and shove her down our throat. I’m ok with that, except for the fact that we for a good chunk of her in the last film. If you wanted to give us some girl power, why not put the focus on Violet, which some of the film was, or make a new super, which they did and i’ll get to her next. Hell, even give some more with Edna, even though she doesn’t have powers, one gets the feeling she could do some damage. All in all, though, in this day and age where is seems to be a crime to be male, let alone a straight male, this film took the easy road and pushed all the guys to the back of the bus.

Voyd the other supers. We saw in the last film that all the supers were killed, either by horrific accidents, which Edna Mode blamed on capes, or by Syndrome’s robots. As one generations falls, another one must rise. Enter a new group of supers. Most are forgettable, tbh, except for Voyd. I have two issues with the new guys. First, all of these powers are what we’ve seen a billion times, electricity (Black Lightning), telekinesis (Jean Gray), super strength (Mr. Incredible), flight (Angel), and the one that did stand out was an old man whose acid reflux allows him to spit lava! *SIGH* Second, Voyd is a great character. Her fangirling over Elastigirl almost made me want her to turn on her, but that would be a rehash of the first film in some respects. I do think they could have dialed her back a bit or given her compatriot supers some more time to develop personalities. I don’t think the electric dude said anything outside of introducing his powers when we first meet him!

Seen it all before. There is a misconception that this is the exact same film, just with the genders reversed. That isn’t the case. For instance, the villain isn’t anywhere near as strong a characters as Syndrome. There is a twist that comes before the last act, which you can probably see coming a mile away, but it doesn’t affect a character like you would think. Elastigirl isn’t hiding her superhero assignment. Blah, blah, blah All that said, there are more things in common with the first film that I would like for there to be, such as the main plot of one going out to be super, while the other stays home and takes care of the kids. If that was done for familiarities sake, then ok, but if it took Brad Bird 14 years to come up with that perfect story, I am highly disappointed.

The Incredibles is my all time favorite Pixar film. I have waited as we have had a sequel, and a prequel, to just about every Pixar film that was released before (and after) 2004. Not all of them have been good, some have been an obvious cash grab, and others were just horrible, but Incredibles 2 delivers. Is it as good as its predecessor? No, but let’s look at the superhero landscape and people’s general attitudes since the original was released. There has been a definite shift. That being said, I highly enjoyed this film and look forward to watching it again, and again, and again. My only real issues are that the Underminer got away and there are now 2 blueprints for how to do a solid Fantastic Four film for whichever studio ends up getting the rights. Do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! Stop reading and watch it multiple times with the whole family!

5 out of 5 stars

Avengers: Infinity War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Having acquired the Power Stone from the planet Xandar, Thanos and his lieutenants—Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive—intercept the spaceship carrying the survivors of Asgard’s destruction. As they extract the Space Stone from the Tesseract, Thanos subdues Thor, overpowers Hulk, and kills Loki. Heimdall sends Hulk to Earth using the Bifröst before being killed. Thanos departs with his lieutenants and obliterates the spaceship.

Hulk crash-lands at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, reverting to Bruce Banner. He warns Stephen Strange and Wong about Thanos’ plan to kill half of all life in the universe; in response, Strange recruits Tony Stark. Maw and Obsidian arrive to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange, drawing the attention of Peter Parker. Maw captures Strange, but fails to take the Time Stone due to an enchantment. Stark and Parker pursue Maw’s spaceship, Banner contacts Steve Rogers, and Wong stays behind to guard the Sanctum.

In Scotland, Midnight and Glaive ambush Wanda Maximoff and Vision in order to retrieve the Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead. Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Sam Wilson rescue them and take shelter with James Rhodes and Banner at the Avengers Compound. Vision offers to sacrifice himself by having Maximoff destroy the Mind Stone to keep Thanos from retrieving it. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the stone without destroying Vision.

The Guardians of the Galaxy respond to a distress call from the Asgardian ship and rescue Thor, who surmises Thanos seeks the Reality Stone, which is in the possession of the Collector on Knowhere. Rocket and Groot accompany Thor to Nidavellir, where they and Eitri create an enchanted battle-axe capable of killing Thanos. On Knowhere, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Mantis find Thanos with the Reality Stone already in his possession. Thanos kidnaps Gamora, his adoptive daughter, who reveals the location of the Soul Stone to save her captive adoptive sister Nebula from torture. Thanos and Gamora travel to Vormir, where Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs him the stone can only be retrieved by sacrificing someone he loves. Thanos reluctantly kills Gamora, earning the Stone.

Nebula escapes captivity and asks the remaining Guardians to meet her on Thanos’ destroyed homeworld, Titan. Stark and Parker kill Maw and rescue Strange. Landing on Titan, they meet Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The group forms a plan to remove Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet after Strange uses the Time Stone to view millions of possible futures, seeing only one in which Thanos loses. Thanos arrives, justifying his plans as necessary to ensure the survival of a universe threatened by overpopulation. The group subdues him until Nebula deduces that Thanos has killed Gamora. Enraged, Quill retaliates, allowing Thanos to break the group’s hold and overpower them. After Stark is seriously wounded by Thanos, Strange surrenders the Time Stone in exchange for Thanos sparing Stark. Thanos departs for Earth.

In Wakanda, Rogers reunites with Bucky Barnes before Thanos’ army invades. The Avengers, alongside T’Challa and the Wakandan forces, mount a defense while Shuri works to extract the Mind Stone from Vision. Banner, unable to transform into the Hulk, fights in Stark’s Hulkbuster armor. Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive to reinforce the Avengers; Midnight, Obsidian, and Glaive are killed and their army is routed. Thanos arrives and despite Maximoff’s attempt to destroy the Mind Stone, removes it from Vision, killing him.

Thor severely wounds Thanos, but Thanos activates the completed Infinity Gauntlet and teleports away. Half of all life across the universe disintegrates, including Barnes, T’Challa, Groot, Maximoff, Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Quill, Strange, and Parker. Stark and Nebula remain on Titan while Banner, M’Baku, Okoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Meanwhile, Thanos recovers on another planet.

In a post-credits scene, Nick Fury transmits a signal as he, Maria Hill, and others disintegrate. The transmitter displays a star insignia on a red-and-blue background

REVIEW:

The moment has come! The big payoff! The reason we have sat through seemingly endless Marvel Cinematic Universe films, though they have all been enjoyable to varying degrees. 10 years in the making, complete with developing an entire universe, setting up some high stakes, and teasing us with the big bad, Avengers: Infinity War has arrived! Will it be the payoff all of us comic nerds, as well as the general public have been expecting?

What is this about?

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

What did I like?

Spread the wealth. From the moment this film was announced, it was clear that the cast was going to be huge. What we didn’t know was how the balance of screentime would play out. Would we get a heavy dose of Iron Man and Captain America, while Hulk and Dr. Strange are relegated to what amounts to glorified cameos? I can assure you that is not the case. Every character that we have been introduced to in the MCU to this point, with the exception of Hawkeye, Ant-Man (who has his own sequel coming later this summer, which takes place before this film, apparently), and a couple of others who i can’t think of at the moment, is included in this film. While not all time on screen is equal, each character is allowed to show their strengths and why we have grown to care about them over this time.

Mad Titan. Yesterday, I saw Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2 and, while he was good as that character, he feels more at home as Thanos. That’s not to say Brolin can’t play a cyborg mutant from the future, or that he should always seek out roles where he is a delusional psychopath with delusions of grandeur who has a strange misconception of what kind of balance the universe needs. Rather, he just seemed to have more fun as Thanos. I think he even said so himself. I can’t blame him. One the one hand, he could be a really strong time traveling cyborg who has to listen to Deadpool all day or be a universal titan that is nigh unstoppable. The latter seems to be the better option. As far as his plot is concerned, i think this is one of Marvel’s stronger villains. I won’t spoil it for you, but he does lay out and execute his plans with precision, rather than dawdle and monologue the way some earlier MCU villains have done (some in his employ).

Impact. The impact of the MCU has been felt ever since the first Avengers was released and other studios started taking notice of universe building. Now, if you notice there are many duplicators and imitators. DC has come the closest to recreating the formula, but something just isn’t right with them. When all is said and done with this film, though, the way it ends is sure to make a lasting impact on fans and probably moreso on those that aren’t fans. I can’t go into much detail about it without dabbling into spoiler territory, but i can say that something happens that will send shock waves through the audience, as it is something no one saw coming.

What didn’t I like?

Short end of the stick. Earlier, i mentioned the enormous cast and how not everyone was given equal screentime. For some reason *COUGH* ego*COUGH*, Iron Man gets the majority of the screentime. Meanwhile characters such as Bucky (Winter Soldier), Black Widow, Nebula, etc. have maybe 5 min on screen. In Nebula’s defense, she was a prisoner being tortured by Thanos for most of her time. This brings me to Black Panther. He, and the nation of Wakanda, play an important role later in the film, but that is all we get. Some have speculated that since this was filmed before the release of Black Panther, the studio had no idea of the impact that film would have and thus didn’t give T’Challa much to do in this film. There is an argument to made there, but my point is many characters, both major and minor didn’t receive as much time as they could have because of the amount of characters in this film. I’m not saying there were too many, just that, and I’m going to sound like Thanos here, ironically, more balance needs to be brought.

Offspring. Unless you are a fan of the comics, then you probably have no idea who Thanos’ “children” were. Myself, not being up to date on Thanos’ history, didn’t know who they were, either. Apparently, they are, much like Nebula and Gamora, the last children from worlds Thanos has conquered and destroyed who now serve him. That little bit of history doesn’t mean much, other than explain why they are fighting so hard for this big purple guy. They view him as their father and will do anything  for him. The way they seem to be portrayed in the film is equivalent to Stormtroopers, mindless clones who only serve one purpose.

Ground support. Granted, there isn’t much they could do and i just went on about too many characters, but i can’t help but think that the Defenders (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones), the Punisher, Ghost Rider, and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , along with anyone else that could help out with this (Inhumans, Deathlok, etc.) The world is in danger! I find it hard to believe that these heroes/anti-heroes would just sit idly by, especially Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. (note…i have not been watching this season). Real talk…the only reason none of these guys are making an appearance is because Marvel is desperately wanting to keep the MCU away from the Netflix universe. Don’t ask me why. It makes no sense!

Spoiler alert. This isn’t a complaint against the film, but rather internet culture. As you know, i am nearly a month late getting to see this. Life/work kept me away from the theater. In this day and age, spoilers are very hard to avoid, especially when you are in a Facebook group for comic book and movie nerds. However, i believe it was the Sunday after the film’s release that i was checking out the Venom trailer and had the film spoiled for me. How was it spoiled? Well, right as the trailer is about to end, some @#%$!^ inserted a 10 second clip of himself telling the world what happened. I ask you…who does that?!?

Final thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War? Man, what a ride! The emotional roller coaster this film takes you on from the opening beat down of the Asgardians, to the triumphant return of Steve Rogers (that entrance was…wow!), all the way to the events that happen in the second half of the film are sure to keep one on the edge of their seat. There are some things that could be cut as well as some scenes that probably should not have been cut. All in all, though, i had a great time watching this and can’t wait for the next one. Do i recommend it? Yes, very highly!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Deadpool 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After successfully working as the mercenary Deadpool for two years, Wade Wilson fails to kill one of his targets on his anniversary with girlfriend Vanessa. That night, after the pair decide to start a family together, the target tracks Wilson down and kills Vanessa. Wilson kills the man in revenge, but blames himself for her death, and attempts to commit suicide six weeks later by blowing himself up. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife, but the pieces of his body remain alive and are put back together by Colossus.

Recovering at the X-Mansion, Wilson agrees to join the X-Men as a form of healing. He, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead respond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Russell Collins / Firefist at an orphanage, labeled a “Mutant Reeducation Center”. Wilson realizes that Collins has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of the staff members. Colossus stops him from killing anyone else, and both Wilson and Collins are arrested. Restrained with collars that negate their powers, they are taken to the “Icebox”, an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, the cybernetic soldier Cable finds his family murdered by Collins in the future, and travels back in time to kill the boy before he ever becomes a murderer.

Cable breaks into the Icebox and attacks Collins. Wilson attempts to defend Collins, but is defeated by Cable who takes the Skee-Ball token that was a final gift from Vanessa. Wilson is able to force himself and Cable out of the prison, but not before Collins overhears Wilson deny that he cares for the young mutant. Near to death again, Wilson has another vision of Vanessa in which she convinces him to help Collins. Wilson organizes a team of mutants to break Collins out of a prison transfer convoy and defend him from Cable, whom he calls X-Force. The team launches their assault on the convoy by parachuting from a plane, but all of the team’s members except for Wilson and the lucky Domino die in the landing. While the pair fight Cable, Collins frees fellow inmate Juggernaut who repays Collins by agreeing to help him kill the abusive headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the truck they are in and they escape.

Cable offers to work with Wilson and Domino to stop Collins’s first kill, and agrees to give Wilson a chance to talk Collins down before attempting to kill the boy again. They arrive at the orphanage to be overpowered by Juggernaut while Collins attacks the headmaster. Colossus, who had at first refused to help Wilson due to his murderous ways, arrives and distracts Juggernaut long enough for Wilson and Cable to confront Collins. After Wilson appears to fail in talking down Collins, Cable shoots at the young mutant. Wilson leaps in front of the bullet and dies, reuniting with Vanessa in the afterlife. Seeing this sacrifice, Collins’s future is changed and Cable’s family now survives. Cable uses the last charge on his time-travelling device, which he needed for returning to his family in the future, to strap Vanessa’s token in front of Wilson’s heart before they arrive at the orphanage. This time, when Wilson leaps in front of the bullet it is stopped by the token and he survives. Collins still has his change of heart.

The headmaster is run over by Wilson’s taxi driver friend Dopinder, and Wilson accepts that he and his friends have formed their own strange family. In a mid credits sequence, Wilson has Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio secretly repair Cable’s time-traveling device to allow him to: save the lives of Vanessa and X-Force member Peter; visit the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and kill that film’s version of Deadpool; and kill actor Ryan Reynolds while he is considering acting in the film Green Lantern

REVIEW:

Well, here we are getting ready to go guns blazing into the summer movie season. Avengers: Infinity War got us kicked off, Solo: A Star Wars Story is waiting in the wings, but the one that people are really wondering about is Deadpool 2. After the surprise success of the original, some are wondering if there will be a sophomore slump or, perhaps this will be an even better flick. That is something each individual must decide for themselves, but these are my thoughts on the matter.

What is this about?

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.

What did I like?

Action. Some films, like Logan, can get away with having very few action scenes. Those that it does have really count, though. The Deadpool franchise, however, needs these scenes if for no other reason than to keep us from having too much of his mouth. Funny enough, the best action scene in the film doesn’t even involve our titular character, but rather a couple of big guys, one of which would be a spoiler if I said his name. Aside from that, though, there really isn’t much to say other than Deadpool kicks ass and takes names.

Domino. When it comes to the character of Domino and how she was portrayed on the screen, I’m torn. On the one hand, this is the first time she’d appeared on the big screen, so kudos to that. Her powers aren’t exactly easy to show to John Q. Public. Unlike having optic blasts, blue fur, metal bone claws, etc., being lucky isn’t a run of the mill power. I feel the film did a good job of showing her pull off the, pardon the phrase, “Domino effect”. On the other hand, and this is nothing against Zazie Beetz, I feel the race switching was pointless. Making it even worse is that she comes off as the opposite of her comic counterpart. Instead of being white, she’s African-American. The black spot on her eye? It’s a white spot on her other eye. As a matter of fact, everytime I look at it, I can’t help but think of Barf from Spaceballs! Still, having a badass chick that can handle Deadpool, and even throw some quips back at him is awesome!

No one is safe! Deadpool went after everyone, starting with Ryan Reynolds and just kept going from there. This film does the same, but ups the ante a bit. I hear there was a joke about the Disney/Fox merger, but they were advised to cut it. Instead we get jokes about the DC Universe being dark, Josh Brolin being Thanos and, of course Ryan Reynolds failed “Deadpool” in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his bad decision to make Green Lantern (both films I am a fan of, btw). The jokes all land and I felt as if Reynolds himself had a hand in writing, or possibly ad-libbing, some of these.

What didn’t I like?

Pick on the little guy. You’d think with this topic, I’d be referring to the kid, Firefist, and how seemed to be picked on through the whole movie, resulting in the climax, but that isn’t where im going with this. I want to mention how T.J. Miller was just laying into Dopinder in the scenes where they were working together. Dopinder has become on of those characters, I think he actually does exist in the comics, that has taken on a life of his own after the first film and was a welcome bit of comic relief (in a comedy). Miller’s picking on him came out of nowhere, though. Perhaps there is some deleted scene that can explain why he was doing this?

It worked once. Many of the jokes in the film are rehashes from the first film, if I’m being honest. Some are the exact same joke! Others are just an extended version of the same joke, just done a different way. For instance, in the first film, Deadpool cuts his arm off and a baby hand replaces it (while it is growing back). This go around, he gets ripped in half, and there is a rather long sequence where he is sitting on the couch  with baby legs (and no pants/diaper). This goes on even when Cable enters the scene and attempts to bring some sanity to the proceedings. Should there be a third film, let’s hope we don’t get more of the same jokes again.

Low budget CG. It is no secret that these Deadpool movies aren’t as flush with cash as say, The Avengers franchise, but one would expect that there would be at least enough cash flowing to get some decent CG. There are two times that this really came off as bad to me. First was anytime Colossus was talking. Maybe I didn’t notice it in the first film, but there was something off about how his face moved when he was speaking. While I’m on this note and before I go on…why doesn’t he go back to his human form in these movies?!? The second was in the aforementioned big guy fight. I was taken back to the really bad Gateway 2000 CG in The Matrix Reloaded watching what should have been an awesome fight. Maybe they’ll fix this before it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray.

Final thoughts on Deadpool 2? There really isn’t much to say, honestly. If you liked the first one, then you’re going to like this one. Nothing about this flick is going to suddenly make you a Deadpool fan, though I’m sure google searches on Cable, Black Tom Cassidy, and Firefist went up this weekend (I looked up Firefist, myself, so don’t feel bad). Josh Brolin as Cable works, but I think they should have gone with Stephen Lang, a guy that literally looks the part. The X-Force scene(s)…well, you’ll be entertained, I’ll put it that way. Morena Baccarin is still gorgeous! Long story short, this is a solid film worth watching in the theater. More than likely, if you’re reading this than you’re a fan and have already seen it, so I don’t need to tell you to rush out and check it out, now do I?

4 out of 5 stars

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Posted in Animation, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Based on the worldwide sensation and bestselling book series, and boasting an A-list cast of comedy superstars headed by Kevin Hart and Ed Helms, DreamWorks Animation brings audiences the long-awaited global movie event, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. This raucously subversive comedy for the entire family tells the story of two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.

What people are saying:

“With a tidy plot, clean animation, and humor that fits its source material snugly, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is entertainment that won’t drive a wedge between family members” 4 stars

“Captain Underpants is an homage to the funny high jinks of The Kids Next Door series that aired on Cartoon Network. Unfortunately it doesn’t capture the fun and wonderment of childhood like The KND. Instead, the movie proves beyond a doubt to NEVER believe any of the professional critics reviews on Rotten Tomatoes! This is the most disappointing movie to come out of Dreamworks who is known for their excellence in family entertainment.”

“As superhero films shift more in the direction of mature themes (even the PG-13 offerings are starting to push the envelope), a specifically child-friendly hopeful franchise starter such as Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is an appreciated gift” 3 stars

“One of the best surprises of 2017. Captain Underpants has no shame in all the right ways. As a fan of the books when I was a kid, this movie was an absolute love letter to me. It’s faithful, over the top and very self-aware. But from humor that is pulled off with care, the genuine connection between the two main characters and animation that is bright and whimsical, even non-book fans can find a certain joy in this movie.” 4 1/2 stars

“My family really enjoyed this movie and it passed the “six laugh test”. Now, if you do not like puerile humor and pee and poop and fart jokes, then this movie may not be for you. However, there is plenty in this movie that does make it quite funny. George and Harold have been terrorized by their principal for years and have tried to fight back with various pranks to buck up their fellow students. Principal Krupp has never been able to prove their culpability in the pranks. When he finally gets evidence on them, the duo are forced to try hypnotizing Krupp with a cheap toy from a cereal box. Of course, they are amazed when it works and he becomes their comic book creation Captain Underpants. This movie is quite conscious of its puerile nature and uses that to its self-deprecatory advantage. When it comes down to it, this movie is about kids and friendships and just how deep those friendships forged in early years can be. The movie stays pretty true to the tone of the book and is completely insane.” 5 stars