Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Endgame

Plot: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe

After 10 incredible years of the MCU, it seems that every single moment has led up to this film. Fan or not, you have probably heard of the staggering success of this film the last weekend – 1.2 billion dollars within one weekend. It is absolutely insane, yet no one seems overly surprised. I am not. I got my ticket for the first release in South-Africa. I get grumpy with spoilers but I don’t have meltdowns, yet I suspected I would have one if someone spoiled this form me. I will keep this review as spoiler free as possible, because if you have eagerly awaited each of these films as I have, you deserve to have it unspoiled for you.

Overwhelmed, emotional, shaken, surprised. That is pretty much how I felt. It became inevitable with the lead up to this film not to ask if a major superhero would die, but which one would. I will tell you that whatever happens feels completely right for that character, like they were always written for it. It is sad, but it feels like the perfect ending.

There are two character developments which feels… weird, even for Marvel. The one I will literally never be able to unsee but the actor involved handled it with charm and comedic ability. But still. It felt like a personal attack on the most beautiful character. The other one was quite hilarious but showed good character development. I am sorry, I am not really making any sense, am I?

It is a mammoth film, with a running time of three hours and 1 minute. It is a feat that I in particular didn’t feel that the film was drawn out, it is written well enough and is entertaining enough that the film runs without ever feeling that unnecessary time was wasted.

What worked well in this film is that the focus was very much on the original 5 superheroes. The Avengers crew has become way too large over the last couple of years and Avengers: Infinity War’s ensemble cast was large enough to host a high-school reunion of a really robust year. I don’t think it is too much of a spoiler to mention that when the rest of the avengers return, it is worth it and at the exact right moment. It is also really beautiful with the focus on one character’s reaction specifically, and you will have to have been dead inside for a thousand years not to be touched by it.

I will probably return with another review once the spoilers are out everywhere. Further than that, it was good and powerful and I enjoyed it. It has been a wild ride, and a beautiful one.

Love you 3000 😉

Rating: 7.5/10

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Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – Spoiler free –

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Plot: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Well. I knew I had to get to cinema to watch Infinity War immediately after its release or else risk this film being spoiled by the internet for me. We’ve been waiting ages since the slightly lacklustre Age of Ultron for another instalment of the all powerful Marvel ensemble cast to once again fight some massive celestial being. Finally reunited, the Avengers and all their new superhero friends are forced to take on Thanos, the biggest and baddest of them all, who is also in running for the worst dad of all time to Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin), is collecting the Infinity Stones, very powerful stones (obviously), and you don’t need a comic book background to know that it will be really bad when this genocidal maniac gets hold of all six stones. It’s no spoiler that some of the stones are in the possession of a few Avengers, and they do an ultimately dismal job in protecting them. You will have to watch it if you want to know what happens at the end, but it was neither comfortable nor a quietly satisfying end.

Infinity War takes an age to get their superheroes together, which is not surprising, since they decided to include a massive amount of their star power in the film. Since Age of Ultron the original Avengers have scattered and hidden, and they aren’t all super happy with each other. Tony (Robert Downey Jnr.) is still happy by being managed by Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is still dealing with the devastating destruction that happened in Thor: Ragnarok. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson, this time blonde), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, with deliciously longer hair) and Sam Wilson (Anthonie Mackie) are still (I think) in hiding. They all fall in at different stages of the film, and my sold out cinema was cheering as each original Avengers cast member was reintroduced.

It’s impossible to write a short and concise review of the movie and to discuss the stars, because (nearly) the entire Marvel universe is in the film. However, here are a few thoughts on some of the characters:

Vision (Paul Bettany) comes across as awfully wimpy and I don’t know how he was intended as a superhero in this film. He seems to just be there, and his moments of action aren’t all that action packed.

If I could have had more of Danai Gurira as Okoye I would have, because she just has the best attitude and lines. Also good seeing T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), but after the enormous success of Black Panther I would have loved to see more of the man.

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It is the first film where the Three Chris-es are combined – Pratt, Evans and Hemsworth have so much charm between them it is a wonder that they aren’t combined an Infinity stone themselves. There is delightful moments full of humour when Starlord meets Thor and needs to deal with all that muscle. I’ll just say that there is a moment when Thor arrives that made me very, very thankful.

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Thanos has character depth, and that is something that hasn’t always been present with Marvel villains. He has layers and there are times when he actually almost makes sense, his reasoning behind his warlord status. There were a few moments where I legitimately felt sorry for him, and then had to remember what he had done.

I have some issues with the ending (really, who doesn’t at this stage?). I don’t want to say too much, but I really hope that they are planning to address some… events… in the next Infinity War instalment (there better be one), because they can not just do what they did. I am REALLY excited for the post credits scene, and I am optimistic that that will mean something overall for the drama levels in the last ten minutes of the film.

I liked Infinity War, except that ending. Thee CGI is insane and everywhere again, and that as well comes as no surprise – I mean, Josh Brolin doesn’t really look like that, does he now? It is really long, again though, expected, and full of emotional upheaval. If you haven’t watched it yet and you really dislike spoilers, I suggest getting to a cinema soon. It’s a bit off the normal route for Marvel, and they’ve taken big risks, but if you look at the crowd response rate you can rest assured that Marvel has another hit on their hands.

Rating: 7/10

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Movie Review: Black Panther (2018)

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Plot: T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

I remember sitting down to watch Wonder Woman last year – the nerves and anticipation and hope that a film about my kind finally being a superhero would be great. How fantastic was the notion that someone like me could change the world? How empowering it was! As I watched Diana Prince ignore male orders and march onto a battlefield because her heart dictated her to,  and I finally felt vindicated for having my own share of protectiveness towards those I hold dear.

And finally, in 2018, we have come to a place where black people can finally celebrate the same feat. Black Panther is fantastic. I am not black, but I am South-African, and sitting in the cinema with black people and feeling their joy with this film was uplifting and very emotional. T’Challa isn’t a sidekick, he isn’t the bad guy, he is a man of royal blood. He doesn’t have to find his riches, he is rich. Wakanda is, as some have rightly said, both a view of how Africa might have been without colonialism and a celebration of retaining your culture will thriving in a modern technological world. Black Panther does not skirt around issues, it faces it head on. Slavery and the destruction of a continent is frequently referenced, as well as the deeply moral question of why Wakanda did not intervene to help their neighbors when they had unlimited power to do so. Well, to me Wakanda had the correct intuition, and I can only wish the entire continent could have seen the danger and protected itself against pillaging.

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Chadwick Boseman is an exceptional Black Panther. T’Challa is a good mix of culture, regal blood, love, humor, wisdom, kindness and some fantastic fighting skills. He was born to be King, and his nature dictates him to be a kind and just one for his people. Other tribe leaders, especially W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya’s, in wonderful South-African traditional clothes), Mbaku (Winston Duke) have issues with some of his choices, and this especially creates discord between W’Kabi and T’Challa when T’Challa fails to bring Klaue (truly excellent Andy Serkis) to Wakanda to account for his crimes against the Wakandan people.

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Michael B. Jordan impressed me immensely. I haven’t seen too much from him, and I really did not know how excellent an actor he is. As Erik Stevens the warmonger and the thorn in T’Challa’s side, he is both heart breaking and terrifying. He would have been like T’Challa if a great crime hadn’t been committed against him, and his crimes are heinous enough to have you wince but his memories are painful enough to make you weep for him. He was a strong villain, perhaps one of the stronger ones in Marvel, and I really enjoyed him.

There is a lot of humor too, especially delivered by Shuri (Letitia Wight). The movie has genuinely funny moments and the audience was in stitches as it found its crowd. Even Mbaku has some funny moments, and his humor mixes surprisingly well with his warrior attitude.

It would be very unfair to not mention the outstanding female cast as well. Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira are fierce female warriors, sworn to protect Wakanda. They have great moments together, and their chase through South Korea is especially fine to watch. Shuri is a smart and sassy young woman, and she is a technological spearhead for Wakanda, highlighting the importance of girls in technology in style. Angela Basset as the Queen Mother is regal and beautiful, and her care for her children and nation are evident to see.

South Africa had a phenomenal week last week. The fall of the Gupta empire and Jacob Zuma, the rise of Cyril Ramaphosa and the first SONA in years that didn’t result in a screaming match made South-Africans happier than I’ve seen them in a decade. The optimism in the streets could only be even more enhanced by seeing South-African faces in this film, South-African traditional wear and Xhosa being used as the Wakandan language.

I was worried that Black Panther wouldn’t be good – I really wanted it to be, if only to prove to the butthead racists on the internet that inclusion is necessary and can yield as good results as the standard white washed, male domineered films we generally get. Black Panther is GREAT, and is an excellent start to the superhero year. The cast and director and Marvel should all be congratulated for their excellent work in this film – it is something to be proud of!

Rating: 8.5/10

Movie Review: 28 Thoughts while watching Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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Plot: With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Anti-Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a heroes actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges

DON’T READ IF YOU ARE AVOIDING SPOILERS!

Rating: 7.5/10

  1. Why isn’t this titled Iron Man: Civil War? Was that the first fight between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark? (The lame comments gets worse, promise)
  2. Let’s just focus for a few seconds on the fact that this entire fight starts with Tony signing something, The Captain refusing and because they are both pigheaded, a big brawl starts. MEN.
  3. When did Rhodie become an Avenger?
  4. That scene with Tony Stark and the lady at the elevator at MIT is really very sad.
  5. Vision is like the strict dad. No fun allowed.
  6. Can I please learn to Sparta kick like Captain America?
  7. I will also pay a lot of money for fighting skills like the Black Widow.Civil war natahsa
  8. And also – her hair in time of upset – it remains perfect and I want her secret.Civil War BP
  9. Black Panther!!! How great does he look? I love it.I didn’t expect him to be Prince what-what, that was a surprise. Also, the country/area’s name is Wakanda? American source material, I tell you.
  10. On a serious note – I love that the cast is looking more diverse these days.
  11. But on another note – how are only TWO of the Avengers women? That is not very diverse – are the Avengers Donald Trump supporters?Civil war audi2Civil war Audi
  12. Let’s play a drinking game – every time you spot an Audi onscreen you take a shot of Jagermaster.
  13. Is there a slightly love vibe between Vision and the Scarlett Witch? For interest sakes, does he have… all… the equipment of a man or how does that work? And isn’t he something like Tony’s best brain parts? Does that mean that Tony also fancies Scarlett Witch? So many questions!
  14. How does Steve feel to have dated a girl and her grandmother’s sister? Steve is a fox!
  15. Captain America in sunglasses and a cap. (hehehe for my pun) – it works really well.
  16. The fight scenes were incredible, well choreographed and not over the top. Although, the buses flying everywhere at the helipad? That was the height of preposterous. Does Stark Industries cover the bill for all the damage the Avengers wreck?Civil WAr barnes
  17. Bucky Barnes. Such a great character and Sebastian Stan brought everything to the table as usual. Sebastian broke my heart with all his sad and soulful looks, though I loved the camaraderie between Steve and Bucky.
  18. How sad is Penny’s funeral? Seriously, how much must our guy handle? Penny’s inclusion broke my heart because she’s the only thing that Steve had left from the world he existed in and new well.
  19. PLOT TWIST! As mentioned above, how does he feel that he does a cross generational dating vibe going on?
  20. Steve can pull me closer like he did that helicopter. MY GUY.
  21. I want to bitch and moan that husband Chris Hemsworth is not in this, but really, there are about ten million characters already in here. Same goes for the green guy – I ADORE Mark Ruffalo and think he’s great as Dr. Bruce Banner. But I don’t think the posters would have been big enough for the cast if they were included.
  22. I really liked the Black Panther. He looks great. The character is also really solid – there is a goodness in him that was definitely missing from the havoc the Scarlett Witch wrecked in Age of Ultron.
  23. Daniel Bruhl! Great appearance by a solid actor.Civil war cia
  24. Some Martin Freeman too. I hope he has some more time in future movies – Marvel can do with some of his experience and class acting.
  25. I need to watch Ant Man really soon – I wish I could have seen the film before I saw Civil War – because my cutie pie Paul Rudd is his cute self.
  26. The new Spiderman… why is his aunt Marisa Tomei and why is he so young? I just can’t.
  27. Spiderman’s talking is only second to Tony Stark’s incessant talking, and if I have to be honest there is only enough space for one talker in the franchise.
  28. I enjoyed the end and appreciated that it didn’t end with a truce because everyone’s mother is named Martha. Not that I’m pinpointing to anything else.

Ultimately, Captain America: Civil War is Marvel at its’ finest. What did DC think in sending in the substandard BvS when it was so obviously made to go up against this? There is no competition. Marvel has established its’ characters and they follow a successful if generic formula, and it works every time. I thought the story was a bit rushed and Daniel Bruhl did not get nearly enough show time or even a few flashbacks. Only when he’s achieved what he wanted to achieve you get insight into why he is doing what he’s doing.

Civil War is also sporadically like a Game of Thrones episode – there are too many characters to follow and you end up looking at things like how nice the costumes are and the action sequences. Captain America has always been the best Marvel films in terms of material, and this one slipped just a bit in that aspect.

However it does not change the fact that Civil War is a fine piece of work – the action sequences are thrilling and authentic looking (except Audis flying here there and everywhere). Of the new appearances I enjoyed Black Panther the most, and Spidey way last because really, why a reboot when the last cutie pie Andrew Garfield movie was released only last year or something?

Anyway, good job, Marvel. You entertained me really well.

Also, these arms:

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