The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Reviews

Review and Aftermath: Avengers Endgame

I will spare the “Oh it’s the best movie ever” line, because I feel this film is in a category all of its own.  There are few words that can describe what I saw in Avengers Endgame.  It’s a movie that will have you processing what happened for days.  It’s also a flick that you’ll want to know as little as possible about going into it.  Let me just say that I give Endgame 6 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Yes, that’s right.  I have it above 100% mainly because of how well it closes out the past 21 movies and sets up the next era.  I am curious as to how someone who hasn’t invested the time I have into the Marvel Cinematic Universe would feel watching it.  Certainly it wouldn’t have the same impact, but there is so much there for everyone that it really is something unique.  Hands down it’s the best comic book movie to date, and I don’t think that’s a title that will be taken by another any time soon.

As I mentioned there is a lot to process, so let me break down what this sets up for the future.  I don’t want to focus on what’s in the film because its something unique for everyone.  Instead, I’ll talk about how things will shape up from here on out.  This contains some speculation and SPOILERS, so be warned.  If you have seen it I’d like to know what you think…  Ready?  Final SPOILER WARNING….

avengers-endgame-poster.jpgLOKI: Disney+ has announced a live action Loki miniseries.  We now know that this will center around the much more malevolent trickster than we’ve seen recently.  This isn’t the semi-hero Loki, but the one who tried to destroy New York in Avengers 1.  It’ll make for very interesting storytelling to see what the god of mischief will be up to.

Sin: This one is just my mind as a writer, but it answers the question of what happens to Red Skull.  He is now just a wraith with no purpose or stone to guard.  Could he inhabit the dead body of Black Widow and return to Earth as a villain for current times?  They don’t need Scarlet Johansen to play the role as her corpse would decay giving her a skull like appearance.  Sin in the comics was Red Skull’s daughter and villain.  This would be a good passing of the torch and make for an interesting story and proper closure for Red Skull.

Falcon and Winter Soldier: With Sin as a possible villain at some point just speculation, we know for certain that Bucky and Sam have lots more to come in the Disney+ show.  Sam being the new Cap could go many places.  My only issue with Endgame was how Bucky really didn’t go to visit his friend on the bench.  It just seemed to convenient and not as believable, but it’s a minor gripe.  Either way I look forward to this show.

X-Men: While there is no real connection to mutants, there is a line explaining that since Thanos used the stones there has been a spike in meta-human abilities around the globe.  Could that have caused mutants to begin exhibiting abilities?  Who knows, but I can’t imaging this line was used as a throwaway.

Spiderman Far From Home: This is said to actually be the final Phase 3 film, serving as an epilogue of sorts.  Spiderman clearly needs a vacation at the end of Endgame, so it’ll be good to see some final tie in references here.

Captain America 4: Well I didn’t think this would happen, but we could see a Captain America 4 with Chris Evans.  Now that he stayed in the past with Peggy there certainly is room for him to fill this role well into his older years.  We could also see Steve be a mentor to Sam in the years to come and present day.  Another thing that could be done is he and Peggy have a daughter who becomes Captain America for a time.  In the comics there was an alternate Earth where this happened, so it’d work as a nice prequel of sorts in the alternate timeline created by him staying in the past.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3: The search for Gamora?  Certainly seems like the case.  Keep in mind we have chubby Thor with Stormbreaker.  Could this be how they introduce Beta Ray Bill?  It is after all about time to do so and Thor is clearly at the end of his part of the saga.

Young Avengers: Cassie Lang is older now and able to soon take up the mantle of Stature alongside Wasp and Antman.  Hawkeye has a show coming out on Disney+ where Clint Barton will be training a replacement female Hawkeye.  They could easily change his daughter’s name to Kate Bishop in a witness protection sort of way and have her take up her father’s mantle.  Iron Lad could be introduced with Harley Keener (the young boy from Ironman 3).  He came in as an unexpected cameo at Tony Stark’s funeral.  Also there’s Morgan Stark.  In the comics Morgan was Tony’s cousin and a male who became Ironman 3000.  In the films, Morgan is his young daughter.  I can’t imagine her not becoming IronHeart once she is old enough and using her mother’s rescue armor as a beginning to her tenure.  Throw Spiderman in a lead role here and you could have a well rounded set of heroes.

A-Force: It goes without saying that one of the coolest scenes was seeing all of the female heroes assemble in the final battle.  They could easily make a spinoff revolving around them, though they’d have to take caution in doing so.  It wouldn’t make sense for only the females to be involved as it would seem forced, but there are ways to pull this off in a very cool and exciting way.

Maestro and She-Hulk: This is more speculation on my part, but She-Hulk needs to be introduced.  We could also see the lesser liked Red Hulk if Banner goes rogue.  Why would he?  Well Professor Hulk being scarred by the stones could also be internally.  If they tainted his mental state, we could see him become the villain in a future hulk movie as Maestro.  This is something I’d actually love to see more than most of the others with She-Hulk teaming up with Red Hulk and the former of the two ending up as the new Hulk character.

Valkyrie:  Valkyrie is now in charge of New Asgard on Earth.  Maybe Thor will find a suitable planet for them to inhabit along his journeys with the Guardians.  They could do it so that Thor transfers some of his power into her sword.  It wouldn’t be Mjolnir, but could set her up as the new female Thor.  It’s a stray from the comics, but it’d be just as interesting as bringing in Beta Ray Bill as I mentioned earlier.

Doctor Strange 2: Wong has been Sorcerer Supreme for 5 years and Strange no longer has the Time Stone.  The power struggle between the 2 and it’s been said that they’d like to introduce Nightmare as a villain could be very fun and dare I say… Strange?

Black Panther 2: M’Baku has been in charge of Wakanda for 5 years.  Surely he made some changes and they haven’t always seen eye to eye.  Black Panther’s return makes for a lot of exciting political conflict.

WandaVision: Another Disney+ confirmed series.  The question is will this be when Scarlet Witch and Vision lived together before the events of Infinity War?  Or will she somehow use her powers to bring back a less colorful (like in the comics) version of Vision, where the story revolves around her trying to reconnect with a very cold emotionless version of her former android lover?

Black Widow: Well, this movie will obviously take place before the first Avengers movie.  I’m assuming with the references to Budapest between her and Hawkeye that this will occur there, or we’ll have more clarification on what those events were.

What If: Although this is animated and a confirmed Disney+ series with the original actors voicing the roles, it’s hard to imagine that some of the timelines spinning off from the actions in the past won’t be addressed here.

Cameos: Stan Lee’s final cameo was in this film, and what a way to make him eternally young with his appearance.  Sadly he has passed, but now that the Fox/Disney merger is completed I could see Ryan Reynolds suiting up as Deadpool and breaking the 4th wall in every movie after this.  I think Stan would approve.

What are your thoughts?  Did I miss anything?  Am I overthinking this? Did you like Endgame and where do you think it will go?  Comment below.

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Review: The Punisher season 2

punisher-season-2-posterWell Frank Castle is back and better than ever in the Marvel Netflix team up that’s better than its first season.  Season 2 does have some minor things that bother me, but for the most part, this is what I would expect for this character.

If you go into this season thinking that there is going to be a straight forward simple story, then you’ll find yourself mistaken.  There are two arcs that run throughout the entirety, and they both wrap up nicely.

Without focusing too much on the plot, so that I avoid spoilers, I do want to point out my one slight issue.  Jigsaw.  Billy Russo was not quite taken from source material, but with a new take on him.  Instead of his face really being the scarred part, it was his psyche that was shattered from the events at the end of season 1.  On that note as well, the amount of trauma that the Punisher himself experiences physically should have had him just as scarred as Billy, but at the end Frank is unmarred when he fully dons the vigilante persona.  Okay, so there is suspension of disbelief with that, and the way that everything flowed during this season was better than ANY of the other Marvel/Netflix shows.

Amy, Madoni, Curtis, John Pilgrim, and the rest of the cast were just as exemplary in their roles as Frank and Billy.  It was a job well done by all.

It didn’t drag on in parts and wrapped up everything nicely.  I hope we see more of the character soon.  Personally, I’d like a Nick Fury/Winter Soldier/Punisher team up, but that’s just me.

What were your thoughts?  I give season 2 of the Punisher 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.


Review: First Man

firstmanMy son has had a fascination with space this year, so when an eight year old comes out of a true story movie loving every second, that says something.  First Man was a bit slow in parts.  There were some scenes where if you have vertigo, you may want to close your eyes.  Despite thinking you know what’s going to happen because you may know a lot about the Apollo program, well think again.

Ryan Gosling was not the only stellar cast member.  Everyone in the film did such a fantastic job that I’m shocked it hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar.  Oh wait, no I’m not.  The Oscars only put what and who they want up there even if no one has seen the films.  Okay, ranting aside, First Man definitely deserved a nomination on so many levels.

Yes, it’s based on the true story of Neil Armstrong, but it delves into his family life, and the stresses he went through.  It wasn’t an easy trek for him to achieve the status he did and become the first man on the moon.

I had no complaints about this film, other than the fact that the conspiracy loving part of me wishes they would have touched on some of those doctored NASA photos of the moon and flight recordings of him and Buzz Aldrin talking about seeing objects outside of the shuttle.  That would have detracted from what they were going for, so I understand why they didn’t… but still..  we all want and need answers.

I may have shed a tear of joy when he stepped on the moon after seeing all that built up to it.  Kudos to the director and cast for a job well done.  I give the movie 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of First Man?  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Bird Box

bird-box-poster-405x600Bird Box was something I decided to check out when I had a rare few hours to burn when I wasn’t writing.  I had heard about the stupid challenge people have been getting hurt doing, and figured I’d check out the source material.

As far as a movie with suspense, this has plenty of it.  There’s a good dynamic of flashback and present telling that make it flow well.  I was hooked in the first five minutes.  Sandra Bullock and cast really made the film, and I felt for the child actors involved.  It was an emotionally charged plot.

The story itself was decent enough, but I feel it fell flat in a few places.  There really was no explanation as to what the “creatures” were other than the aspiring author character’s thoughts on it.  That wasn’t presented as fact, so you are just left assuming he knew all about it.  Why were some people committing suicide, while others were trying to convince people to open their minds to the “demons?”  Again… there was no explanation for this.

Despite that, there was enough to keep me interested all the way until the credits rolled.  The ending itself was a little underwhelming.  Without explanations and too many questions left up in the air, I desired to see one of these things.  Obviously the directors chose not to show because for the characters, they all saw something different.  It just had too abrupt an ending with loose ends obviously designed to rope in enough interest for a sequel.

If you’re bored and want something interesting, then this is a must see, but if you’re looking for closure and something substantial, then I’d skip it.  I give Bird Box a 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, which would have lost another point if the acting wasn’t so superb.

What were your thoughts?  Comment below.


Review: Mission Impossible: Fallout

mi6I grew up watching reruns of the original series, and the remake series that came out briefly in the late 80s.  The films have also been a guilty pleasure of mine.  In some cases I thought they fell a little flat, but for the most part this film series has been a lot of fun.  So how do I think the sixth installment turned out?

Fallout was definitely a strong entry in the series.  I don’t think it was the best of the batch, but it ranks high on the list.  Tom Cruise again does an amazing job as Ethan Hunt.  The returning cast members also excel in their roles, and I’m glad to finally see Ving Rhames’ character Luther get some more screen time.  Lacking however was Jeremy Renner’s role.  Like other MI movies, he was the character that somehow wasn’t present (probably saving the world as an Avenger or something).  The additions made up for it though.  Angela Basset and Henry Cavill were great additions, and for the first time we have the return of a previous film’s villain.

I don’t want to give away too much about that, so I’ll move on.  Stunt wise the movie was on par with being a little over the top unbelievable, but that is what makes these films so fun to watch.  They also wrapped up a previous story line that dates back to a few movies ago with Ethan’s love life.  I’m glad to see closure there.  There were a couple surprises especially with the fate of a certain character.

Overall, I enjoyed it and it will fit nicely on my dvd shelf next to the other 5 films.  Audiences must have loved it too because they are filming the 7th and 8th movie back to back from what I hear.  I don’t know how many more Cruise has in him, but with the way they bring in new characters I could see this lasting a long time, and it’s a franchise I hope sticks around the way that 007 does.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of Mission Impossible: Fallout?  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Aquaman

aquaman_movie_poster_1_by_jpgThere’s no secret that the DC movies have all been met with some pretty harsh criticism.  I have also voiced my distaste in the past.  However, after seeing Aquaman, my expectations were exceeded.

I went into it with both my kids thinking that it would be bad effects, dialogue and just lacking in story with major plot holes.  Boy was I wrong.

The special effects were fantastic, and while there were a few parts that looked off, the majority of the film was seamless.  The story did a great job of telling the heroes and villains’ pasts and set up not just a great origin tale, but addition to the existing dc universe.  Acting was on par with the entire cast and dialogue (although a bit cheesy in parts) was acceptable.

The addition of humor made this feel like a Marvel movie in many aspects, because it worked.  There were a couple places that felt too over the top as though they tried too hard to get the humor in there.  Then there is one scene where Pittbull’s version of Toto’s Africa song began playing and I became confused as to why they chose this.  It didn’t fit the scene and his cover of the song was horrendous…

Overall I (and my kids) enjoyed the movie, and look forward to more in this universe.  I actually will go so far as saying that it was better than Wonder Woman (which until this point was my favorite DC film), it was better than Antman and the Wasp, and I will dare to say I think it is even better than Black Panther (which is very high on my rewatchability list).

I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?  Did you love or hate the movie or find it just alright?  Be sure to comment below.


Review: Creed II

MV5BMTcxMjUwNjQ5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjk4MzI4NjM@__V1_As a lifelong fan of the Rocky franchise, it was inevitable that I’d see Creed 2.  Throw in the bonus that my wife was in the movie, made it that much more enjoyable for me to watch.

While the first Creed movie did a good job of showing the origin of Michael B Jordan’s character, the second film goes beyond that and firmly sets him into the lead role.  No longer is he overshadowed by Sly Stallone’s Rocky Balboa.  Adonis Creed now stands on his own.  He’s set firmly in place, and in a way that I hope will continue to carry this franchise for years to come.

Creed 2 is almost a direct sequel to Rocky 4 in many ways, and while Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago didn’t have much substance in that prior movie, he’s given much more to work with here.  In fact they humanize him and his son in a way where I could see fans wanting to see more of the pair in a spinoff or return further down the line.

The drama in this film plays nicely with the brutal action, humor, and touching moments.  My only complaint is that I wish there would have been a physical confrontation of some sorts between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa, but in a way I’m glad they didn’t.  It would have just taken away from establishing Adonis Creed’s legacy.

I give Creed 2 a score of 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Here’s to hoping for Creed III soon, and maybe even a prequel about Mickey in the early 1900s.


Review: Luke Cage season 2

luke-cage-season-2-poster-1107525Luke Cage continues to be one of my favorite Netflix marvel shows.  This season took what made the first season good, and made it better.  It doesn’t drag as much, and the story continued to draw me in.  Could it have been a few episodes shorter?  Sure, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t chock full of good writing.

The use of the characters was executed well to where the viewer can feel a connection with them all.  Bushmaster, Nightshade, Shades, Misty Knight, and Maria Stokes (Dillard) all served an equal part of the plot.  Some were set up for more future usage, but the most interesting part is how Luke was left at the end of the season.  Will he become a villain?  It’s doubtful, but it sure as heck looks like he’ll be going down a darker path.

I refuse to say much more than this because it really summarizes how I feel about the season.  One thing I can add though is the episode with Danny Rand showing up really has me excited for Iron Fist Season 2.  In the meantime, I’ll be happy with Luke Cage and give season 2 of his show 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What were your thoughts?  Comment below, so we can discuss.


Review: Ant-man and The Wasp

Ant-Man_and_the_Wasp_posterI didn’t expect much more than a fun popcorn flick going into Ant-man and The Wasp, and that’s exactly what I got.  As far as Marvel movies go, it doesn’t rank that high on the scale, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad movie.  In fact, it is a lot of fun from start to finish.

Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) shine as both Ant-Mans, but Evangeline Lilly is really the one who makes the movie that much more enjoyable.  As the Wasp, a hero long overdue in the eyes of Marvel fanatics, she is the balance to the chaotic men of the story.  While Hank Pym is an overeager scientist who holds one too many grudges, Scott Lang is a goofy dad who comes off as a bit of a dolt.  Hope (Lilly’s character) seems to be the only one who can bring either of these men to focus on the task ahead.

Herein lies my problem with the film… In the first movie, Lang had a bit of knowledge of how engineering and science work, but in the sequel they seemed to have scrapped all of that.  Also in the first film, Pym mentioned that he couldn’t shrink any more because of the many years of doing it taking a toll on his body.  It could be fatal to him.  But then we see him step into the quantum realm in a new Ant-Man suit.  Now maybe this suit cancels those negative effects, but without mentioning it is a slight issue for those who have seen both.  If you haven’t seen the first and only see this one, then these aren’t real problems.

Other notable points of interest in the movie were Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne/Wasp and Laurence Fishburn’s Bill Foster/Goliath.  I love how both were introduced with a past, even if they were a bit underutilized in the film.

As far as villains go, well Sonny Burch was not much of a challenge but worked well to counter Luis and the X-Con security guys.  Ghost is less a villain than she is an obstacle, and it’ll be interesting to see where they take her from here on out.

With all Marvel movies, Stan Lee’s cameo was funny as usual, and the mid credits scene brought a heavy weight with it.  Slight spoiler, it has to do with Infinity War’s Thanos snap, and is almost as if everything Ant-Man worked for in this movie is gone (at least for the time being).  The post credit scene was less than amusing.  As a matter of fact it is one that actually irritated me because it was just a throwaway gag that made little sense.

Overall I give Ant-Man and the Wasp a 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It was fun, non-stop action, and a different feel to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

What did you think?  Did you see anything in the quantum realm?  Supposedly there are hidden things there (I think I spotted one, but am not really sure what it was).  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb_Raider_(2018_film)The Tomb Raider movies prior to this year’s film of the same name with Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft, weren’t much to remember.  They were just fun popcorn flicks.  It’s because of those that I went into this movie with low expectations, but as a huge fan of the video games I had to give it a shot.  I’m glad that I did.

With a surprisingly long run time for this film (just under 2 hours), it felt refreshing and human.  Vikander’s Croft is much more relatable, giving the audience a character they care about.  You can see her humanity.  She’s not a super hero, and while she does perform some impossible things, she doesn’t come out of it unscathed.

This really shows the origin of a great character, and how she became wrapped up in the archaeological world.  Tomb Raider 2018 may not be as good as the Indiana Jones movies, but it separates itself as a solid stand alone piece that is highly enjoyable.

I personally look forward to a sequel, and who knows… with all these crossovers, and an inevitable Indiana Jones reboot some day, maybe we will see Indy and Lara team up.  In the mean time this will keep audiences pleased.  I rate it with 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It’s not the best movie out there, but it certainly ranks high on the fun film scale.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts.