Film Review of Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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Promotional poster for “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

Warning: Spoiler Alert

I was unprepared for how Avengers: Endgame (2019) hit me emotionally. I knew all the spoilers (or most of them) ahead of time, both from talking with my son Michael who had already seen the film, and from subsequently reading them online. I knew Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) would die, I knew everything.

Yet, near the end of the movie, when we were at Tony’s memorial service, I didn’t just tear up, I actually cried. I don’t think my son and grandson noticed, but it was an intensely emotional sequence in the film. I’d recovered by the time Clint/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) were talking about the loved ones they’d never get back, and when Steve/Captain America (Chris Evans), aged over 100 after he went back to 1945 and stayed in the past, gave his shield to Sam/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) with Bucky’s (Sebastian Stan) approval so he could become the new Cap.

I lost it again during the credits when the core Avengers actors literally signed off, which is something I haven’t seen since the end of the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) nearly thirty years ago. I realized I was saying one last goodbye to my friends and my heroes, not just their film incarnations, but the Avengers I had grown up reading about in the comic books back in the 1960s. My childhood ended all over again.

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Haven’t Seen “Endgame” Yet and Other Updates

endgame

Promotional poster for “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

No, I haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame yet, and unless I go with my sons and grandson, I probably won’t see it in the theater. Yes, I’ve heard it is THE film to see, blowing away all of the other Marvel superhero movies, so I’m certainly stoked. I know my ten-year-old grandson is stoked. Hopefully, if I see it while it’s in the theaters, I’ll find a way to sit through a three plus hour film without a potty break.

I’m not particularly interested in spoilers, but given various complaints about how last year’s Avengers: Infinity War ended, I did write a commentary with a few predictions, though of course, I wasn’t (very) seriously suggesting that my crystal ball was any better than all the others.

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Why What Brie Larson Says Matters to “Captain Marvel”

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Promotional image for “Captain Marvel” (2019).

I’ve been watching the Captain Marvel (2019) controversy for a little while and I think I’ve figured out what’s going on, though I’m not sure most people have stumbled onto this idea.

As you probably know, news outlets such as The Mary Sue believe that all of the negative pre-release and now release reviews of the movie are all by men who can’t stand the thought of a powerful female superhero (hello Wonder Woman). Others, such as Bounding Into Comics say this is a total lie and it’s just that the movie isn’t very good and shoves a feminist, social justice agenda down the audience’s throat.

Fortunately, neutral reviewers such as the Associated Press give a much more accurate picture of the film, calling it rather “average”. In fact, on her twitter feed, AP reviewer Lindsey Bahr stated:

Captain Marvel can be the victim of an insane trolling and also an underwhelming movie.

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Screenshot from twitter

Bahr is right in that since the movie was released to theaters, there’s been a tremendous amount of trolling of “Captain Marvel” on Rotten Tomatoes. Now I can’t trust any of the reviews that either pan the film or praise it.

But the problem isn’t the movie. The problem is Brie Larson. Okay, let me explain.

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Why is Reviewing the “Captain Marvel” Movie So Hard?

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Promotional image for the movie “Captain Marvel” (2019).

I didn’t want to do this. I still don’t have to, but then again, there’s more hype about this movie than even last year’s Black Panther. When I was anticipating watching and reviewing that film, I was “irrationally” afraid that if I didn’t like something about it, I’d be forever labeled a “racist.” Fortunately I thought it was one of the better Marvel films, and that although it told a story of significant meaning to African-Americans, it also transcended race as the epic tale of a Prince confronting the realities of becoming a King.

However, Captain Marvel (2019) which will have its general release to theaters this coming Friday (March 8th), seems to be getting a lot more press than Black Panther, at least to the best of my recollection.

First of all, according to The Mary Sue (which leans pretty far to the left), the movie is getting tons of bad reviews pre-release, but it’s only being reviewed by misogynistic white males who hate the idea not only of powerful women, but of Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) being the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe, even more so than Thor or the Hulk (okay, I’m exaggerating slightly).

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How Heroes of Color Could Win in “Avengers: Endgame”

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Promotional poster for “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

I know that Captain Marvel (2019) is supposed to be THE next Marvel film to watch for a lot of reasons, but there’s no escaping the sequel to last year’s Avengers: Infinity War which I had meant to review, but apparently neglected. Avengers: Endgame is due to be out in late April and is expected to answer a lot of questions, not the least of which is who stays dead and who comes back to life.

However, there’s been a lot of concern about how specifically, King T’Challa, the Black Panther, and a large number of notable heroes of color and female heroes were exterminated, suspiciously leaving only the core, white male Avengers alive.

African-American screenwriter and author Steven Barnes has discussed at length, the history of black film characters dying for the sake of making white characters more heroic, and the impact of this, not only on his own childhood, but on his teenage son Jason.

Author G. Scott Huggins also weighed in on this last January, specifically about how, while we expect T’Challa, the Wakandans, and other African-American heroes to be revived, the fact that they died in the first place diminishes them as heroes. He said:

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A Hero in Harare

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Sterkinekor Lusaka Arcades Centre in Lusaka, Zambia – found at afrotourism.com

“I want to meet this Miles Morales,” twelve-year-old Miriro murmured spontaneously as he and his eleven-year-old sister Anesu did their maths homework at the kitchen table, warm afternoon sunlight streaming in the western window.

“What are you talking about,” she replied in irritation. “He doesn’t even exist. He’s a cartoon.”

“Uncle Tongai took me and my mates to see Spider-Verse over the weekend. The movie said anyone could wear the mask and be Spider-Man.” He was grinning, his mind completely diverted from his textbook.

“You’re daft. This isn’t Brooklyn, America. It’s Harare, Zimbabwe. Just because black Americans look like us doesn’t mean we’re all the same. Our lives are different.”

“Anybody can be a hero, Anesu.”

“Be a hero and finish your studies before Mama comes back from the market and we both get in trouble.”

But it was too late. Miriro was already thinking about his new costume.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use a Google Maps location/image as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Harare, Zimbabwe.

Yesterday, I saw the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) with my son and my nine-year-old grandson. I subsequently published my review online and obviously still have the movie on my mind.

One of the things I’ve been considering, both with this movie, and especially with the Marvel Studios film Black Panther (2018) is that in the African nations, culturally, black people have widely varying cultures compared to African-American audiences, so the differing populations may not have as much in common with each other as people in the U.S. might imagine.

Having said that, the central message of “Spider-Verse” is that anybody can wear the mask. It was meant as a commentary about how historically, superheroes have been white, but it doesn’t automatically have to be that way. Any kid, no matter who they are, can be a hero.

I decided to put a spin on the message and say that any kid anywhere in the world also can aspire to be more than who they are, mask or no mask, even a twelve-year-old boy living in Harare.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

DVD Film Review: Black Panther

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Promotional poster for the 2018 film “Black Panther”

Okay, so last night, I watched Black Panther (2018) and loved it. Actually, for me, picking up the main themes wasn’t difficult at all, and yes it is more than just another superhero story. It’s both the epic tale of a new King who is struggling to determine the direction of his nation, and a spiritual journey for personal truth, especially between father and son.

I’m not being frivolous or unkind when I say that the latter reminded me of the 1994 Disney film The Lion King. After all, Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick) has to come to terms with his guilt over his father Mufasa’s (voiced by James Earl Jones) death and his worthiness to become a King. He is also challenged by his rival Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons) and must risk death fighting for the right to ascend the throne.

Oh, by the way, spoiler alert. I’ll be dropping plenty of them, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, stop reading here.

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Movie Review of “Thor: Ragnarok”

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Promotional image for “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)

I watched Thor: Ragnarok (2017) last week and loved it. It wasn’t the perfect film, but of the three “Thor” movies, it was clearly the best.

Things I Liked

I really liked the dynamic, both between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and between Thor and Banner (although, in a way, it’s the same thing). I’m glad that Thor not only was able to hold his own against the Hulk, but actually beat him, that is until the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) cheated by triggering Thor’s pain-inducing device.

They ended up being “odd couple” buddies, which brings up another point.

The two previous Thor films and just about any solo movie version of the Hulk have all been pretty blah. These are characters who have successfully carried their own comic book titles for decades. Why don’t they translate well to film?

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Pre-Review Jitters

overt and covert racism

Found on social media

I’ll have to keep this relatively short since I promised my wife I’d help her in the yard this afternoon.

I tend to “catch up” on movies after they’ve left the theater by renting the DVDs from the public library. Even if the film is a stinker, I’m not out a dime, though I’ll never get those two hours back.

Last night, I watched the 2017 film Thor: Ragnarok and completely enjoyed it. I’ll write a more comprehensive review later. Relative to this blog, I’ve also watched and should review Wonder Woman (another winner), Spider-Man: Homecoming (ditto), and Lucy (uh…).

Tonight’s feature is Avengers: Infinity War.

I’ve put a library hold on the Black Panther, and thereby hangs a tale, or at least trepidation.

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Brothers

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Found at “The Flagon” twitter account

“One for sorrow, two for mirth.” Tom raised his flagon of ale at the bar, smiling at his brother.

“Aye, brother. Here’s to mirth.” Chris raised his as well and clumsily pressed the two together. Then they both drained their drinks by half and slammed them down on the counter before them.

Tom leaned over and hugged his elder sibling. I’ve missed you, Chris. You don’t know how boring things are when you’re not around.”

Chris broke from the clinch and patted Tom on both shoulders. “I must admit the same. Life just isn’t as much fun when you’re not with me. Whoa.” The large blond had to grab the edge of the bar to keep from teetering off his stool.

“Had one ale too many, eh, brother?” Tom took another drink, but just a sip.

“Not at all, Tom. The stool must be faulty. Here. Another toast. To family.” He again lifted his flagon.

“Yes, dear brother. Family.” Tapping their containers together, they both took another long swallow. Then setting his drink down, Tom said, “Of course, there isn’t much family left. Our father…”

“Yes, the dear departed. I miss him a great deal.”

“In spite of the lies he told?”

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