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….
LOKI: 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.
Review: Ant-man and The Wasp
I 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: Black Panther
When it comes to Marvel movies, it’s no secret I’ve been entertained every time. Going into this one I had high hopes as usual, and I wasn’t let down. Minor Spoilers ahead.
This is a totally fresh movie that is far different than the other comic book superhero films out there. It’s political without pushing any agendas. It’s got a great mix of action, humor, and sincerity that make it an all around great standalone movie. You don’t need to see any of the other films in the MCU to see this one (although you might get confused by the final end credit scene if you are not watching all of the films). The main characters of T’Challa and Killmonger are perfect with the latter even donning his comic accurate costume in the beginning, only to get a much better upgrade. Finally, the usage of characters like Klaw, Man-Ape, Shuri, Nakia, Everett Ross, and Okoye are done well as a supporting cast. Oh, and how could I forget another outstanding cameo by Stan Lee.
I am a little upset with Klaw’s fate, but realize why they did what they did. Some of the things like Black Panther jumping from a plane without a parachute don’t sit well with me, but the explanation of how Vibranium absorbs kinetic energy makes me suspend disbelief just enough to let the ridiculousness pass.
Black Panther was just fun from opening until end. It had weight in the series, and was relatable to the real world on some levels. I put it up there with the Captain America Trilogy as my favorite so far giving it a 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings. So what did you think?
On a side note here’s some speculation and clarity btw:
Antman and The Wasp will be here soon, and it looks like that will be another stand alone movie to give us more back story and introduction of characters. Bucky is looking like he will get a cybernetic vibranium arm and is a hero again. Maybe we will see him as Captain America. And though people are saying “Where is the 6th Infinity Stone?” let me explain to you where they all are. The Tesseract is the SPACE Stone, and is floating in space with the SOUL stone, which was the Eternal flame from Thor Ragnarok. Thanos shows up at the end of that, so I’m assuming he has both now. The REALITY stone Aether is in the Collector’s possession after Malekith was defeated. The MIND stone is in Vision’s head. Doctor Strange has the TIME stone in his Eye of Agamotto amulet. This leaves the POWER stone with the Nova Corps after they got it back from Ronan. All the stones are there. I don’t get why people are saying the Soul stone hasn’t been represented yet. They did the same thing with the mind stone when it was still in Loki’s staff. Think about what the Souls stone might do… It restores or takes life presumably. That is exactly what the flame did in Ragnarok.
Review: Spider-man Homecoming
Spider-Man is back at Marvel, but how did he fare swinging into action on home turf? I’ll say this. It was not the movie I wanted it to be. I expected it to be the best of the existing Spidey films so far, but it fell just shy of Spider-man 2, which I feel remains at the top of the list. So what was good and bad about it?
The Shocker felt like a rip off. Which one? It doesn’t matter. Were either of these guys Herman Schultz? Again, it doesn’t matter. It was explained that the technology could shatter their arms, so that’s why the quilted yellow jacket was used. Is it so hard then to put a mask on the men? I’m just tired of half assed villain appearances. Hopefully they bring him back soon.
Zendaya’s character was a waste. Why was she even there? She’s clearly not the MJ that we know as in Mary Jane Watson (At least she better not be). And the whole team going to Washington DC? How did anyone else not figure out that Parker and Spider-Man happen to be in both places? Flash Thompson didn’t seem like Flash Thompson at all.
The Spider-Man A.I. suit is just stupid. Get rid of the computer and give him spider-sense already. This isn’t the hero comic book fans want. And Aunt May is hot of course, but her presence was lacking. No mention of Uncle Ben either, but Peter did say his Aunt had been through a lot, so that can slide.
I know I said the AI suit is a bad thing, but I do like the different web settings. This actually can explain a lot. The spider-tracers were also awesome to see, as well as the search light. I liked the mentor being Tony Stark too. It worked really well.
Adrian Toomes/Vulture, and The Tinkerer were perfect. The way they were handled was done quite well, though I feel the final battle was a bit anti-climactic. Ned was also a good friend for Peter to have and share his secret with.
The scene with Adrian Toomes in the car with Peter was very cool. The little speech Keaton gave was chilling. I’m not sure Liz as his daughter felt right, but it didn’t matter because she too was a welcome addition.
From Damage Control, to Spider-man/Peter Parker himself were great. And shall I say that I think Tom Holland is our best Spidey/Parker yet! I look forward to seeing him many more times in the role.
Homecoming is not the best Spidey movie because so much more could have been done to correct the minor plot holes. That being said, it is certainly not the worst, and comes in right up there with Spider-man 2 as a close favorite. I give it 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.
Where can it go from here? I can easily see Spidey battling the Sinister Six with an ally or two. I realize he’s got a role in Infinity War and more, but why not see what he can do against the likes of: Vulture, Scorpion, Tinkerer, Shocker, and two others. I suggest a proper Rhino and Prowler. It’s clear that Miles Morales exists in this universe, so make him Spidey’s ally and give the fans something to remember. What did you think of Spider-man Homecoming?
Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 2
This is one of those movies where the trailer doesn’t do it justice. I went into this thinking there was going to be a corny forced humor that wouldn’t sit well with an overall semi-serious Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was proven wrong. Is that to say there weren’t some moments like that? No, of course there were, but those moments were done tactfully and worked for the moment.
There will be spoilers from here on out, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.
A flashback to 1980 has us seeing a young Kurt Russell and how his character of Ego met StarLord’s mom. I can’t help but notice something here, and let me know if you think the same. In the 80s there was a movie called “Starman.” It was about an alien man who fell in love with a woman and drove cross country with her. At the end of that movie the Starman left and she was assumingly pregnant because of the sexual scenes in it. The movie to me was a good movie, but left too many open ends never to be addressed. The character in Starman was played by Jeff Bridges. Kurt Russell’s younger CGI self looked almost identical to Bridges in that film. I know they are two different universes, but could James Gunn have used this as inspiration to give answers to a film that never gave them? Who knows, but it made it that much more enjoyable for me.
Rocket, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax were pretty much spot on with how they were at the end of the last movie. Star-Lord realizing he is part Celestial was worrisome, but what was a risky maneuver of changing his comic book history, really played out well. Toddler Groot was a waste to me. I know it was done for the cute factor, and it made sense as he’s more grown than the end of the last movie. I don’t think any other way would have been good for him to be presented, but at the same time he just felt like he was there. There really wasn’t much for him to do. My main example is the battle in the beginning with the alien squid like creature. All Groot did was dance, like Star Lord did in the opening sequence of the first one, which to me was the worst part of the first movie.
Skipping back to Ego, who was my second biggest concern going into this, we get an actual comic book representation of the character plus more. Ego always fascinated me, and to see that they actually showed his full on form and gave him a good origin, made the film. He was easily my favorite part of the whole movie. Everything about Ego made sense and didn’t feel stale.
The true father figure in Yondu was heartwarming, and I think it was wise to have Yondu sent off that way. Michael Rooker is always enjoyable to watch, but his character’s death brings together what was a falling apart team, and then some. Oh, and he had his longer head fin, which was my gripe about his appearance not having it before.
The Gamora vs Nebula story felt strange in a way. I’m still not sure I believe that Nebula would have spared her sister, but the explanation worked. I just think that she’d have been better beside Thanos during Infinity War than against him.
Taserface was exactly what Rocket pointed him out to be. He was nothing more than that, but served his purpose for humor and the slight bump in the road that he provided.
Finally we get the other characters. A Cameo from Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster was only in the scrolling credits, which makes me wonder if he originally had a role in this and in Thor Ragnarok. It was strange placement. Cosmo the Space Dog also only shows up in the scrolling credits. Howard the Duck is present again in another great few seconds of appearance. I love that they do things like this for the fans. The quick spots by David Hasselhoff and Pac-man were silly, but for my generation were great additions.
The post credits scenes were quite a mix. 1) Yondu’s dart impaling Drax by accident was funny, but not really necessary. 2) The reveal of Adam Warlock’s cocoon is huge. Although it was in the last movie as a post credit thing, this time we actually get a good look and confirmation of who is inside. I’m assuming he will start off as a villain for Volume 3. 3) Teenage Groot, while unnecessary, showed purpose. While only a funny throw away, it pretty much confirms that from here on out we will see adult Groot. Teenage Groot was great, but I really think this was done to transition the character. 4) The Ravagers original team headed by Sylvester Stallone was awesome. This sets up a potential union between them and the Guardians for either Infinity War or Guardians 3. If you didn’t know who they were, then the characters (played by well known actors) were: Starhawk, Martinex, Charlie 27, Aleta, Kruggar, and Mainframe.
5) Stan Lee being revealed as one of the Watchers makes a lot of sense, but I feel ripped off. He should have been in Watcher form here like the others. So it begs to question… was he just an informant to the Watchers, or is he an actual Watcher. It’s something that will probably never be addressed again, but time will tell. At least they are tying this in. This also makes for an interesting thought. Watchers can see many realities. This basically says that anything Stan Lee has cameoed in could in some way be tied into the Marvel universe. This includes other studios, versions of characters, etc.
So what did you think? The soundtrack to me wasn’t as good as the first, but is bound to be open to many more things from here on out. Overall it was a very funny, action packed, and visually stunning film that is worthy of being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.
Review: Doctor Strange
Another Marvel movie that proves relatively unknown mainstream characters can hold their own has arrived. Is this the best Marvel movie yet? No. In fact I wouldn’t say it is in the top 5, but that isn’t saying much. Marvel has gotten to the point where each film holds its own, and just because it hasn’t made a top 5 doesn’t mean it was not worth seeing. In fact, for this movie I think you almost need to see it in the theater.
I must warn you though… if you have vertigo or any type of motion sickness it is possible you’ll feel a bit woozy. Visually its stunning, but a lot to process. Okay down to the review. There will be spoilers, so if you don’t wish to know anything going in, then you might want to scroll down to the last paragraph to see my overall rating. As usual I’ll focus on the characters and how they made or didn’t make the movie… Here goes:
Dr. Stephen Strange – Benedict Cumberpatch is one of those few actors who really excels in all he does. While the movie itself dragged a little bit in narrative, the character of Dr. Strange made it interesting. This is a whole new type of persona in the Marvel Cinematic universe. Yes, Tony Stark has an ego, but Strange’s comes from a different background. It will be interesting to see the two meet for the first time. My only complaint is not knowing the timeline here. It seems that with all he learned while on his healing journey, he had to have been away for years. Despite time travel being involved we really don’t get an idea of how much the length of time is during this film.
Karl Mordo – Chiwetel Ejiofor was great in the role of Mordo. I was disappointed to see him as an ally, but it was set up for him to return as the big bad in a follow up. Because of this I can be forgiving. This film serves as an origin of sorts for him becoming the man who will be against everything Strange does. I look forward to seeing him again. His race here is a change from the comics, but I feel like we’re getting an updated version, so it’ll be interesting to see how he comes into play later.
Christine Palmer – Rachel McAdams had a supporting role, but one of much importance. She is officially the second Night Nurse in the Marvel film world. The first would be Rosario Dawson’s character in the Netflix shows. Both Christine and Claire had similar roles in the comics, and it’d be nice to see McAdams return again to serve that role for what’s to come.
Wong – I find it amusing that Benedict “Wong” is the actor playing this role. Surely that must have been on purpose. He was an almost direct interpretation of what I remember from the comics. His role was one crucial to the story, and obviously he will serve as a great ally to Strange from here on out. I liked how the Time Infinity Stone was incorporated into the Eye of Agomotto. It is a slight change, but one worth having. I only wonder how long Wong had been guarding it. His predecessor was killed, so having a slight back story to what Wong’s origin is would be a great idea for the sequel if we ever get one.
Kaecilius – Mads Mikkelsen is one of those actors that is the perfect bad guy. He’s so badass in this role, but I feel Marvel is following a pattern with their origin stories. It always seems the villains have a less than interesting reason for their actions. Maybe it’s just become redundant as to how the story progresses, but regardless Kaecilius was a decent henchman for the big bad here.
The Ancient One – Unfortunately going into this I already knew Tilda Swinton was playing the role. This isn’t a bad thing as I think she was easily a great highlight of the movie, but knowing the comics I was expecting an old Chinese guy. When Strange first appeared in Tibet Marvel should have done better at hiding the trailer giveaways. It would have been a good approach to have her as a shocker to the audience, just as Strange was shocked that the elderly oriental guy wasn’t the real Ancient One.
Dormammu – was a character that this movie needed, but I don’t like how he was portrayed. The CGI seemed a little off to me, but maybe that is because my focus was on everything else. Don’t get me wrong, the visuals were absolutely stunning, but I guess I didn’t see him being portrayed in quite the manner he was. Benedict Cumberpatch also voiced Dormammu, but questions are left open. If Strange used the Infinity Stone to loop time, then how long was he actually facing off against the dark creature? I read that it was implied Dormammu had killed Strange over 1,000 times, but we never get an accurate portrayal of that. On a positive note, this was one of the best final fight scenes in a Marvel Movie for the mere fact that it was so different from the rest, and really focused on the use of the Infinity Stone by a hero.
Stan Lee – Okay, so he was just a bus passenger in this movie, but we can’t ignore his cameo. He is after all “the Man”.
Thor – the first credit scene shows Thor consulting with Doctor Strange. This was probably one of the most significant credit scenes to date. Why? Well, we got a half answer to the aftermath of Thor the Dark World. We now know that Odin was missing from Asgard and that is how Loki got the throne. Details are still slim, but it gets rid of certain speculation and preps us for Thor Ragnarok’s events. Plus we seem to get confirmation that not only are Thor and Hulk teaming up for the movie, but Doctor Strange will be there in some way as well.
Speculation from here: as usual, I like to throw my thoughts out on where this will go and what can be done. Keep in mind, it is just speculation, but as an avid fan of these stories I have to let my inner geek out. Baron Mordo will probably be the villain saved for Doctor Strange 2. Perhaps it will have the subtitle of “The Sorcerer Supreme” because now that the Ancient One is no longer around, Strange can earn that title. Mordo bargaining with Dormammu would be easy to do because he could tell Dormammu that he doesn’t approve of how Strange is using his powers, so their “deal” can be broken (if even for a little extra boost of power.) The Time Stone will be taken at some point for Infinity War, but let’s look beyond that. After the showdown with Thanos there will have to be some sort of protection of the stone usage. Could Avengers 4 be subtitled “Illuminati?” Think about it. Vision would regain the Mind Stone. The Time Stone would remain with Doctor Strange. And the others could be scattered to different characters (one of which probably Adam Warlock). Add to all of this the fact that a “multi-verse” was mentioned and this is the way that you can bring in a Marvel/Fox studios crossover event. It’s well overdue, and could explain the difference between the universes interpretations. Finally, Stan Lee. His presence in everything should be addressed. I’d love to see him revealed as some sort of character. Is he the Beyonder? Is he Impossible Man? A Watcher perhaps? Who knows, but it would make his role that much more important to it all.
My rating: Doctor Strange was not the best Marvel movie, but it was a unique one that was done well. We now have a surgeon in the group who is well versed in magic. The ride was a visual rollercoaster of excitement, and while there were slow narrative moments, they were placed well with a build up towards the magic shown. To some it may be confusing, but for others its a highly well thought out story that introduces a whole new fun batch of elements to an already booming film continuity. Doctor Strange gets 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt coffins from me. What were your thoughts? Any speculation? Feel free to chime in with your comments.
I’m a bit late on this one as I’d seen it weeks ago, but got tied up with multiple projects. I’ll post some spoilers in here, so if you just want the basic review, scroll down to the final paragraph.
At first I’ll admit (much like I did with Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy) that I wondered how they were going to make a movie from a background character and make it work. I have always loved the character of Ant-Man, but to stand alone in a feature film was another whole story. I had faith in Marvel, and was pleasantly surprised with one major problem in story writing. Here’s my breakdown:
Scott Lang / Ant-Man II: Paul Rudd did an amazing job. He was a criminal with a purpose. He stole in order to pay child support so he could see his daughter. Sure this seems like something a derelict would do, and does, but in this case you could actually see Lang cares immensely for his little girl. She’s his world. Once he is unexpectedly in this micro sized world of Ant-Man it takes a lot for him to become a hero. I like his struggles and lightheartedness despite the serious situation. It was also set up for him to become Giant-man later down the line because of the fact that he was able to make it to the feared micro-verse and come back. Supposedly there was an easter egg hidden in the microscopic world, but there was so much to take in I missed it. The visuals were absolutely stunning.
Hope Van Dyne / Wasp II: Evangeline Lilly played the part well, and I echo her words in the mid credits scene “It’s about time.” This is in reference to her becoming the Wasp, much like her mother before her but in an updated suit. I have no problem that this skips over the whole original Wasp for the most part. It makes sense in this movie universe.
Paxton, Luis, Kurt & Dave: The Paxton character made sense and was a welcome part, but Luis and Dave seemed a bit too goofy for me. Sure I know it was supposed to be (and IS) humorous, but I couldn’t take them seriously… especially Luis. Kurt also bothered me because his accent seemed off. They were fun supporting characters, but short of Paxton I could have done without the others. They DO work in the lightheartedness of it all however, so its less a complaint than it is an observation.
Sam Wilson / Falcon: Anthony Mackie’s surprise appearance in the film tied it in perfectly to the rest of what has happened so far. The fight between Falcon and Ant-Man was epic and a great tease to letting the fans want to see more hero vs hero… He not only setup Civil War in that way, but with Bucky and Captain America at the end it all fell in nicely. Mackie’s character was the perfect choice to take the role here.
Hank Pym / Ant-Man I: Michael Douglas said a while back that he wanted to be in a Marvel movie. I’ll admit at first that I was skeptical of him being Hank Pym. Not because of his acting, but because that meant the Ant-Man I grew up with was going to be much older. They appeased me however by doing some flashbacks. We saw Peggy Carter and Howard Stark in the beginning of the film, and even Pym working along side a costumed Wasp I / Janet Van Dyne. The passing of the torch was played well, and the reason for Janet’s absence was well written.
Darren Cross / Yellowjacket: I thought originally Yellowjacket would be the villain way back when this movie was still in development, but I figured it’d have been Scott Lang in the role with Hank Pym defeating him and making him realize the err in his ways. While I enjoyed the way the character looked in suit and the epic final battle between him and Lang, I was really disappointed. Here we got another repeat villain. A bald mad scientist who is trying to take over a corporation by his own means, and becomes the villain. We saw this in Ironman 1 & 2 practically. We see it in countless other superhero films as well, so why did they go this route? To me it felt lazy. Were the effects and both Ant-Man incarnations not in it, this would have ruined the movie for me. Darren Cross was too predictable and unoriginal for me.
Stan Lee: Probably the briefest cameo he’s ever had, but still fun to see his face. This was for me one of his worst cameos though. This is not a complaint at all. I’m just stating that it wasn’t the best use of such an icon.
All in all Ant-Man was a fun ride. Aside from the villain it felt like a fresh and original movie that still fit in with the rest of the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait to see him link up again as an Avenger in Captain America 3. Scott Lang is the new Tony Stark as far as wit and personality, and it’ll be good to see the onscreen interaction among them all. Marvel does it again! 7 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins for a fun and visually stimulating time.
Review: Avengers Age Of Ultron
Review season is just about upon us for TV shows, so I figured I’d kick it off with a review of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. If you haven’t seen it, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating… unless you want to be spoiled. Yes, there will be spoilers mentioned. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Let’s start with Robert Downey Jr as (Ironman) Tony Stark and Chris Evans as (Captain America) Steve Rogers. If you can’t see Civil War coming out of this, then you missed a lot. Tony and Steve don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but Stark’s actions in this movie put them on separate paths toward a common goal. RDJ was once again perfect as Stark. In the comics it was Antman who had created Ultron, but they changed it for the movie. Having Stark create Ultron made a lot of sense here. It was done well overall and it brought out the character flaws this team had. Tony had already created the Iron Legion robo police force and his reasons for wanting to go further were justified. Steve is still trying to adjust to modern times, so being left in the dark about such a bold move was not something he felt was wise. The dynamic here was less about Ultron and the threat than it was about setting up Cap 3.
Chris Hemsworth shined as Thor. More focus was put on the true power that he wields, specifically Mjolnir. Thor’s confidence is almost a cockiness in his abilities and if Captain America almost lifting the hammer wasn’t bothersome enough to THor’s ego, then certainly Vision’s actions were. Heimdall‘s brief cameo fit well and I like how they set up what looks to be Thor 3: Ragnarok. Thor’s role here was to inform about the power of the infinity stones and the role they play in the universe.
Hulk (Bruce Banner) took more of a back seat for me in this movie. Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal was spot on, and though the Hulk shined we got to see more of the struggle Banner has coping with his alter ego. He accepts it less and fears it more than in the last movie. So much so that he is solely responsible for helping Ironman develop the Hulkbuster (veronica) armor. The presence of both Banner and Hulk were equally important this time, but I feel as though he was bullied a bit by Tony. I was a little caught off guard by the sexual tension between him and Natasha, but I’m glad that they strayed from that. Who knows where he ended up in the end. Fury mentioned the craft MIGHT have crashed into the ocean, but you can’t help but wonder if it was all a setup for another Hulk movie (Planet Hulk). I hope not as I don’t particularly like that story.
Scarlett Johansson has proven my initial thoughts on her in the role to be completely false. I love her as Black Widow (Natasha Romanov), though I do have one issue. Whedon could have corrected the lack of RUssian accent in the flashback to her ballet days, but he chose to ignore it. I was pleased that we got a little more of her background though and everything that was hinted at in her prior appearances. Her crush on Banner was strange to me, but then again I was blown away that her relationship with Clint was less intimate than I’d rightfully assumed.
Jeremy Renner really took the lead in this movie. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) was finally called his codename and it was fun how it was done and the reasoning. I was blown away by the reveal of his family but it was a welcome change. There needed to be someone with some kind of personal life and he being the choice made sense. While Cap was the leader and Tony the funding of the team, Hawkeye was the glue that held them together.
War Machine (James Rhodes) and Falcon (Sam Wilson), played by Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie cameoed in important minor roles that by the ending you realize will become much more in the next installment.
Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) were perfect. Aaron Taylor Johnson was a much better Quicksilver than the already likeable one that was in X-Men DOFP. My only regrets are that he had to die because of the dual studios usage of the character. In a battle like this however there are bound to be casualties, so I’m fine with the choice. Elizabeth Olsen was both sexy and creepy in her role, and I’m happy with the portrayal of her powers. The slight modification worked well and the hint at the twins’ past can be touched upon more if Marvel ever ended up with rights to X-men. The twins beginning as antagonists and becoming heroes was everything I wanted to see with them.
Vision is both the evolution of JARVIS and the creation of Ultron. His origin was similar to the comics and his presence and sleek look were a very welcome addition. He was to this movie as Hulk was to the last, and earned his place quickly. Although his solar gem atop his head was changed to the mind gem, the origin and use of that which was once in Loki’s scepter placed well. It was a primary reason why he became so powerful and heroic. As part machine with organic matter in him, he is able to wield it without being corrupted by temptation or control. They even gave a nod to the romance that will be eventual between him and Scarlet Witch.
Samuel L Jackson is always great to see as Nick Fury, and with him and Maria Hill back on the scene with SHIELD it will be interesting to see where this takes the agents of shield series.
Finally, on to the villains…
Baron Von Strucker while having a minor role was a good starting point for the film. Why not have a minor subplot with HYDRA before kicking into another threat? I’ve welcomed this with the Spiderman movies and any characters that have a huge rogues gallery.
Ulyses S. Klau played by Andy Serkis had a story element that will directly lead in to Black Panther. They mentioned Wakanda, he had his arm torn off, and he’d stolen vibranium. It is an excellent lead in that didn’t feel forced.
Ultron was easily the highlight of this film. James Spader gave off the vibe that this robot was like a child with a god complex. Designed to eliminate threats, the cliched “robot thinks it knows better by eliminating the human race” felt fresh here because of Ultron’s personality. There were hints of logic, and Tony’s personality that made him unique in many ways. So much so that it almost felt like Tony Stark was the villain at times.
Thanos had only a brief scene. While it was not anywhere near one of the better credits scenes, it was something that laid ground for the next installment.
What else is there to say? From the plot to the set ups of the next few movies and where the characters go personally, there is a lot packed in to 2 hours and 20 minutes. Stan Lee‘s cameo was my favorite of them all, and that says something right there. People have complained that Age of Ultron is not as good as the first Avengers movie, but it’s an unfair assessment. These movies are entirely different from one another. I feel that this tied up a lot of loose ends and opened the movie universe up to so much more potential. In my opinion it exceeded Avengers 1 in many ways while not surpassing it in others. It isn’t a perfect comic book movie, but it is damn close. I give it 9.5 sCrypt Coffins out of 10.
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