Avengers: Endgame (2019)

avengers endgameIn the history of cinema, there are movies that have broke the mold. Movies that change the landscape of the business. Examples include The Great Train Robbery (1903), Modern Times (1936), Jaws (1975), Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), and Iron Man (2008). Don’t get me wrong, there are many others, but the point I’d like to get across is that these films are milestones in history. They are markers to the amazing feats that were once thought impossible in film. This past weekend, audiences witnessed one such film. Avengers: Endgame is a milestone in the history of cinema.

Avengers: Endgame marks the end of the first three phases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The fourth film to feature a massive cast of superheroes is the culmination of 22 films that span 11 years. It also signifies the end of the story arc of the original cast of Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye.
In Avengers: Infinity War (2018), audiences were shocked when evil doer Thanos fulfilled his destiny to collect the six infinity stones and eradicate half of all the living creatures in the universe. Fan favorites Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and many others were reduced to a pile of dust.

avengers endgame2Now, the remaining Avengers must deal with not only the fallout from half of existence turning to dust, but also the heavy burden of trying to fix what Thanos had done.
Avengers: Endgame is a rather long film. The run time is 182 minutes (3 hours, two minutes). However, the film never feels that long. There wasn’t a moment where I was squirming in my seat, bored, or pulled out of the narrative. For me, the three hours seemed to fly.

Just like Captain America, this film packs quite the punch in the emotional department. Having seen it on opening weekend, the audience clapped and cheered, sniffled and cried at various moments in the film. The film doesn’t just deliver on an emotional level, it delivers in the action department as well. If you thought the fight scenes in Avengers: Infinity War was amazing. Just wait until you watch Endgame.

Another fascinating thing about the film was the story. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything here. Having spent an entire year crafting theories and listening to others, I was surprised by what actually transpired over those three magnificent hours.
Having said all of this, there were a few things about the story that I felt could’ve been better or handled a little differently. However, I can’t discuss those things without spoiling the plot. Those few miniscule details don’t change my overall feelings about the film.

Avengers endgame3Having grown up reading Marvel Comics, Avengers: Endgame was the closest to actually recreating one of those epic, universe altering comic book series. The amount of fan service, call backs to past films, and nods to the comic books just shows how much care the directors, screenwriters, and producers took in handling the last 22 films.
If you’re a fan of comic book movies, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Avengers: Endgame. Even if you’re not a comic book/superhero fan, you’ll find something to enjoy while watching this epic.

The film is Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language. If you’re wondering whether or not this film would be appropriate to take your children to, then I would suggest that if you’re comfortable letting them watch the other Marvel films then you should be fine.

Advertisements

2018 Movie Recap: The Best

Well, here we are at the end of 2018 and with it we are at the final category for my 2018 Movie Recap. The Best of the best that 2018 had to offer. At least, the best of the thirty or so movies that I watched this year. Sure, there have been others that have slipped my theatrical net, but I’m sure none of those were really worth watching. Examples included that Steve Carell action figure movie and that other one about the Arthurian knight that could talk to the chickens of the sea. 

Did I remember those two right? If not, oh well… Onto the list!

110. Solo: A Star Wars Story

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 70%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 64%

IMDB Score: 7/10

Okay, I know what you all will say when you read this: “Seriously Jim. Solo! Are you even qualified to be writing this?” My response to your questions would be, of course, yes. Yes I am. Furthermore, I would quarrel with you over a cup of coffee anytime you want about this film. This film was fun, action packed, had decent twists and turns, had a stellar cast, and didn’t mess up the lore that was Han Solo. Plus, they even managed to tie in the Clone Wars television show with that awesome cameo at the end. Also, it was way better than The Last Jedi. What more can you all want in a Star Wars anthology film? Oh. You wanted Vader, Obi-Wan, Boba Fett, and Yoda to have their own origin stories? Well, sorry to burst your bubble but the butterfingers over at Disney dropped that ball when they allowed Rian Johnson to destroy everything that made Star Wars great when he was handed the reins to Episode 8. #notmystarwars #makestarwarsgreatagain

29. Christopher Robin

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 71%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 85%

IMDB Score: 7.5/10

This one hurt me right in the feels. Pure and simple. I grew up watching Winnie the Pooh and when they announced that they would be making a live action version I was horrified. I think I’m the only person on the earth that thinks that these live action films are silly. Why in tarnation does Disney take their old animated films and recreate them in live action? Didn’t anyone learn when George Lucas remastered Star Wars for the umpteenth time that sometimes remaking things with better technology just doesn’t work? Well… needless to say that when I sat down in the seat at the theater I was pretty optimistic. Of course, when Pooh realizes that he and the other residents of the Hundred Acre Woods had been “let go” because of “a fish in the sea” I was trying not to sob like a little kid. It doesn’t really let up either. Make sure to take some tissues if you watch this. I encourage you all to watch it.

38. Ant-Man and The Wasp

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 88%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 78%

IMDB Score: 7.5/10

To me, Marvel keeps getting better and better and that includes films like this one. It’s got the right blend of comedy and action that makes watching, and then rewatching, this film so great. If you liked the first one then you’ll love this one too. The film literally gets bigger and better with the addition of a compelling nemesis (sort of a bad girl but not really because lately Marvel does this great job of making you care about the villain), more comedy from the side characters, and an awesome sidekick in the form of the Wasp. Plus, it ties into the Infinity War Snap so that’s cool too.

47. Black Panther

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 97%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 79%

IMDB Score: 7.4/10

If you liked Hamlet and the Lion King then you’ll love this tale of a son having to gain the throne to an African kingdom from an outcast family member. The son will be thought dead after being thrown from a great distance, recover in a land not too far from home, and then come back and fight that family member to the death. Sure, it sounds like a rinse-and-repeat but Black Panther is a really great film. The CGI is pretty good (don’t look too hard at the rhinos), the acting and action are great, and the soundtrack is killer. To me, it wasn’t the best film because I knew going in that he was going to be alive. He was in Infinity War which came out a few months after Black Panther. Really, there wasn’t much threat to the character. However, Marvel was able to make a really great antagonist which seems to be the trend with their films nowadays. 

56. Deadpool 2

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 83%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 7.8/10

Don’t watch this film with your kids, even if your kids are adults. The film isn’t as lewd in terms of sexual jokes, but it’s not to be considered a “family film.” The story is great though and the comedy, while crude, is pretty funny and doesn’t hold back when making fun of Fox or any of the other superheroes in the genre. Ryan Reynolds gives another awesome performance of the “merc with a mouth” as he tries to save a kid from a terminator-like plot. Josh Brolin plays the antagonist, the time traveling Cable who is trying to kill a mutant child who will grow up and kill Cable’s family in the future. You know, that old chestnut.

65. Halloween

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 79%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 73%

IMDB Score: 7/10

Late to the reboot-train comes this newest incarnation in the Halloween Series. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis as the paranoid hermit Laurie who put her life on hold for 30+ because she believed that the psycho granddaddy of the slasher genre might escape the insane asylum he’s been kept in since the first Halloween (yes, they redacted all of the other films thankfully). However, Laurie tried to have a normal life and had a kid played by Judy Greer who, in turn, had a daughter named Allyson. Allyson is our protagonist and the target of Michael Myers. Yes, Laurie was right and Michael did escape and he is as vicious as ever. If you appreciate scenes that aren’t cut at all that manage some amazing stunts then you’ll appreciate when Michael goes “trick-or-treating.” As an old horror fanatic, I simply loved this film. It does suffer from some elements. If you’re a fan that appreciates when a series as convoluted and bloated as this one gets back to basics, then you’ll like this one.

74. Ready Player One

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 72%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 77%

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

First, let me admit one thing about this film: It’s not the best film on this list. However, I’ve seen this film more times than any other film on this entire trilogy of lists. It’s visually amazing. It’s slams you in the face with nostalgia, but does it in a way that’s acceptable. It’s not like the book, but almost as great. Some of the flaws include the main characters. Artemis is supposed to be so self conscious regarding her facial birthmark that she doesn’t want to be seen in public. Parzival is supposed to be overweight and out of shape. Again, this isn’t the book, but even still. Have you ever watched a movie and thought: those actors are waaaaaay too good looking to play that role? 

83. A Quiet Place

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 95%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 83%

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

Can I be honest with you all? I can? Thanks. I went into this film solely because of John Krasinski. I didn’t really know too much about the plot except that they all had to be quiet because aliens were tracking them by sound. The rest of the cast blew me away. You might think that the lack of vocal dialogue would be a deterrent, but it only amplified the film’s other senses. By the end of the film I was both loving it and hating it. But I won’t spoil anything for you all if you haven’t seen it.

I’ll be quiet.

92. Avengers: Infinity War

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 84%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 91%

IMDB Score: 8.5/10

This was tough to admit, but Avengers: Infinity War was not my favorite film of 2018. The culmination of 10 years of storytelling across a crazy amount of films and it comes to this film. Marvel did one heck of a great job making me appreciate and empathize with Thanos, the Mad Titan. At the end of the film, I was laughing and clapping for him while everyone else was weeping and yelling in anguish over the loss of their favorite superheroes. I must have seen this in theaters about four times and I loved every second of it. On that first night, the audience was so amazing. I’ve never experienced such a reaction from an audience. One guy even cried. Like, full man-tears. Even if you don’t like super hero movies, you have to appreciate how the Russo brothers were able to juggle that many characters and still integrate them in such a way that they all seemed important to the core storyline. 

So, we’ve come to the final spot. The cream of the crop, the best of the best, the one true film to rule them all. EXCEPT THERE IS A TIE!!!!

Yes, I watched a film last week that made me rethink my entire list. So here are the two films that tied for the number one spot:

101. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 97%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 94%

IMDB Score: 8.7/10

I watched this and I was truly amazed at the quality and overall story of this animated film. I have to admit, I didn’t like the Miles Morales character when he first appeared in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. Not because of his skin color, but because they killed off Peter Parker in order to usher Morales into the role of Spider-Man. Why can’t there be two Spider-Men? Over time though, that hurt over the loss of Parker waned and I embraced Morales. Seeing that same plot play out in this film, I wasn’t as hurt by it. The thing that propelled this movie over Infinity War was the unexpectedness of it. Going into Infinity War, I knew the general plot points and where the ending would lead. Having been a comic book reader and knowing there was a part two, it wasn’t hard to predict what was going to happen. In fact, it was a…. snap. With this film, I didn’t have that knowledge. The plot kept twisting and turning and I was thrilled to see that Marvel’s propensity for creating compelling villains transferred over to Sony’s animated universe. You’ll sympathize with Kingpin and why he’s doing what he’s doing. Even the death of the Morales’ Peter Parker is heartfelt. Of course, seeing one of Stan Lee’s final cameos was also gut wrenching. Simply put, go see this film.

111. Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 99%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 95%

IMDB Score: 8.5/10

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. You know, it’s a sad thing to think that most children nowadays are going to grow up without Fred Rogers in their lives. Unlike most children’s programs, Fred Rogers wasn’t trying to advertise a product. He wasn’t concerned about toy sales or his sponsors. The only thing he cared about was the children. This documentary portrays the love and caring nature that was Mr. Rogers. The show dealt with tough subjects, but Fred Rogers explained them to children in such a caring and tender way that made it easier to listen to and handle. If you’re looking for trip down memory lane, then take the trolley into the documentary that goes behind the scenes of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Just make sure you take a few tissues with you. If you were a fan of the show, you’ll cry somewhere along the journey.

Thank you all for bearing with me as I criticized and ranked the films I saw during 2018. If you disagree with me (I’m sure there are some that do), then let me know in the comments below. If you want, I can make a list of the films I want to see in 2019.

Most Anticipated Movies for 2018 (part 1)

With 2017 behind us and all of 2018 in front, I’m going to be giving a top 12 movies I am excited for this half of the new year. I will not be listing this from most excited to least excited. I’m picking two movies from each month (winner and runner-up) and explaining the reason why I’m excited for them. All film release dates are subject to change.

January

Winner: Day of the Dead: Bloodline
dotd bloodlinesThe zombie genre is a dying genre, pun intended. With The Walking Dead starting to wane and the death of George A. Romero, created of the modern day zombie, in 2017 it looks like this would be an appropriate stopping point for the genre. Of course, zombies being what they are, maybe this will actually be where they crawl back from the point of death and start it’s comeback?
From the trailer, it looks like a really bad remake of the original Day of the Dead (1985). It has to be better than the second attempt to remake this film, Day of the Dead (2008). And wouldn’t it be really great to have an actual good zombie flick to start off the new year? (Yes, this is a dig at Resident Evil: The Final Chapter serving as a crappy start to 2017.) DotD: Bloodline comes out Jan. 5.

Runner-Up: Insidious: The Last Key
Honest time, I haven’y seen the sequel films past Insidious 2. The reason why I listed this film is because I absolutely love this franchise and I also liked the character Dr. Elise Rainier, parapsychologist and her two bumbling and quirky minions. I might have to catch up with the other films before watching this one. The Last Key also comes out Jan. 5.

February 

Winner: Annihilation

annilation

Natalie Portman in Annihilation.

There are multiple reasons why I’ll probably be in a line at my local theater on Feb. 23 when Annihilation comes out. Those reasons include Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and that mysterious plot. For those of you that don’t know, Annihilation follows Portman’s character as she enters an environmental disaster zone in order to find her missing husband, Isaac.

Runner-Up: Black Panther
I’m not really psyched for Black Panther and I’m not sure why. The trailer looked so awesome, the action looks great, there’s some really impressive actors in the film. For all intents and purposes, this should be a film that I would be dying to see. In the end though, it’s just another Marvel superhero film and I think I’ve become a bit jaded by the genre at long last. As I say that, I will always go see Marvel films in theaters because I absolutely love the genre. Unless they change the formula though, they won’t make me eager to see them anymore.
Black Panther comes out Feb. 16.

March

Winner: Ready Player One
ready player oneOh my gosh guys. I’ve just started reading the book written by Ernest Cline, the book that the movie is based from. It has so many pop culture references and the movie follows suit. Once this film comes out there will be a plethora of YouTube videos dedicated to pointing out all the Easter eggs. Ironically, that’s the whole point of the storyline in the film. The film follows the users of a virtual reality world called OASIS as they try and find the ultimate Easter egg. This comes out March 30.

Runner-Up: Tomb Raider
Most of the people my age shouldn’t have to ask what the premise of this film is. We’ve grown up playing the video game franchise and watching the films with Angelina Jolie. If you’ve never heard of Tomb Raider before, just think a rich female version of Indiana Jones.
The reason that this film, which comes out March 16, excites me centers around two actors: Alicia Vikander and Walton Goggins. Goggins is great at playing the villain. Vikander looks the part as Lara Croft and has played in multiple roles including The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Jason Bourne.

April

Winner: Rampage
rampageThis may seem like just another monster trashing a city movie, but for those that used to spend hours playing the video game, Rampage, this is a nostalgic must see film. Some might say they will want to see this film because of the star studded cast featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello, and Malin Akerman I’ll be going to see all the destruction that the humongous gorilla, crocidile, and wolf will cause. Destruction starts July 15.

Runner-Up: The New Mutants
With Disney purchasing 20th Century Fox, it will be interesting to see whether this film will be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This new entry into the X-Men mythos centers on five young mutants as they discover their newfound abilities while held in a secret facility against their will. They must fight to escape their past sins and save themselves. The New Mutants show themselves April 13.

May

Winner: Avengers: Infinity War
avengers infinity warOk, I know what I said about the superhero genre when I talked about Black Panther. This is different though. The lives of all Phase 1 MCU characters are at stake. Many will survive, but a few key staples of the cinematic universe could be killed including Iron Man and Captain America. Plus this film pulls together decades of build up as Thanos comes to collect the pieces of the Infinity Gauntlet. It also has the biggest cast in all of MCU history. This could be the biggest and most impressive film in the MCU and that’s why I’m excited for this one. I’ll be in line May 4 to watch this film.

Runner-Up: Solo: A Star Wars Story
So, I’m not really excited for this film. I think that this film is one that doesn’t necessarily need to be told. Rogue One was an interesting tale that told us about how the Death Star plans were given to the Rebel Alliance. What will this new anthology film explain? My guess is whether the Millennium Falcon actually completed the Kessel Run in 14 or 12 parsecs. I guess we’ll find out for sure on May 25.

June

Winner: Deadpool 2 (No official title yet)
deadpool2The first one was vulgar, hands down. It was also one of those films where parents took their kids to see because they all thought that it was a comic book film and comic book films were never that vulgar. When I went to see it in theaters there were some parents like that. So know this, if you want to see the film, this will be almost as vulgar, or more vulgar than, the first. The thing that I liked about the first Deadpool film was the humor and the fourth wall breaking. It was absolutely 100% true to the comic books and I respected it for that fact. It will also be interesting to see if Disney (now that they have purchased 20th Century Fox) has any say about toning down the vulgarity. This will supposidly come out June 1.

Runner-Up: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
The month of sequels it seems. June 22 shows the release of this new film into the Jurassic Park franchise. The trailer shows Chris Pratt’s character getting convinced to go back to Isla Nublar to rescue his pet Blue, the Velociraptor and all the rest of the dinosaurs on the island from the volcano that’s apparently erupting, triggering another (be it) smaller extinction. First off, I wouldn’t care about Blue anymore because it’s a VELOCIRAPTOR AND WILL EAT MY FACE FROM MY BODY!

Whew, that was a lot of linking, media adding, and trying to figure out my battle plan as far as movie watching for the first half of the year. I can’t really list too many of the films that come out July to the rest of the year because there may be some films that are announced to release after this post. In June, I’ll list the rest of the movies for the year. Agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below about what your must see 2018 films will be.