"I'll just get my gear."

Avengers: Endgame

THIS IS AN ALL SPOILER REVIEW. Duh.

It’s hard to review a movie like AVENGERS: ENDGAME. I don’t think there’s much point in reading about it before you’ve seen it, or in seeing it if you haven’t seen most of the IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA and AVENGERS movies, at the very least. This is a giant event movie but it’s not working on the traditional level of a movie. It’s more of a movie/comic book crossover/TV series hybrid. Some mad king becomes a show runner and spends all his nation’s capital trying to make the biggest season finale in history.

So I’m assuming you’ve seen it, and we’ll discuss some stuff about it. And the review will be as long and all-over-the-place as the movie.

I got something in my blood that thrives on the excitement of a big summer event movie. And I always think of another apocalyptic time travel action movie, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, as one of the heights to aspire to. It seemed like gigantic spectacle at the time, and it introduced special effects technology that seemed like magic, but it has characters and storytelling and action sequences that still resonate now that the movie seems kind of humble and quaint. It complicated and one-upped the story of its predecessor, but it stands on its own – you could never see any other TERMINATOR movie in your life and still understand and love T2. Even most of the STAR WARS movies, clearly labelled as chronological episodes, could almost work as stand alone stories. The Marvel Cinematical Unification or whatever has somehow brought the infamously homework-intensive collector mentality of comic book mega-crossover events to the medium of blockbuster movies.

ENDGAME has prerequisites. Don’t take it the wrong way, but the movie it most reminded me of was THE TWILIGHT SAGA BREAKING DAWN PART 2, because it’s a convoluted series-capper bringing most of the characters of the saga together into a clearing and having like a half hour of green screen and animation to make them zip around and smack against each other like a pile of action figures being shaken up in a plastic bag. It even has kind of similar photo end credits with applause breaks. But that was movie #5, this is #22. Jesus christ, that’s never been done in a movie before! So much of the story requires knowledge of various other stories, so many big moments are characters who don’t really do much of anything in this movie but give us shivers just by appearing. Case in point: when the Wakandans strut through Dr. Strange’s portal in silhouette. Made me involuntarily fist pump. Would mean nothing without the other movie. And that’s not a little bonus fan service or easter eggs, that’s what much of the movie is constructed of!

So it’s different from what we used to think of as an event movie, and I suspect it might be too complicated for me to rewatch it and grow with it over the years like a T2, a JURASSIC PARK, a DARK KNIGHT, a THE MATRIX, even a REVENGE OF THE SITH that’s right I said it or whatever. But that’s okay. It’s something different, and for what it is, it’s very satisfying.

My favorite part of INFINITY WAR is the very end, when Thanos is at his cabin just kickin it, and just sits there and smiles. I’m equally in love with his reintroduction here, out picking fruit, coming back to his cabin to cook a meal. Wearing a t-shirt! You notice that he’s not walking too well, and then that his face is burnt. He’s an impossibly gigantic dude, but he’s just a dude. Like a retired MMA fighter. His body is spent and he’s just enjoying a life of calm and simplicity.

I love that they kept it under wraps enough that I went in having no idea of even the general shape of the story. We’ve been speculating how they could beat Thanos, and I sure didn’t expect they would just fly to his house right at the beginning, find him defenseless and chop his head off. Almost a Snoke moment there, but with different emotions. This guy decimated literally half of humanity (and the same on other planets), but now that he’s vulnerable it feels gross for Thor to murder him. Like when a dictator gets strung up or a serial killer gets executed. If we’re gonna kill people, those are the people to kill. But I don’t think we should be killing people.

I know it’s played for laughs, but Thor’s whole life crisis spins out of his feelings about what he did there. It fucks him up. When he travels through time he turns it into a mission to talk to his mom about it. That’s an interesting, unexpected texture to put into a movie like this.

And I felt the same when they unmade Thanos’ past self and his forces at the end. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo (YOU, ME AND DUPREE) mirror the satisfied smile closeup from INFINITY WAR, but this time we’re watching his dawning horror as he realizes he and all his people are being turned to ash. We’ve just watched all of his army blow away just like we once did half of our heroes. These just seem like raging monsters, but what if they had the potential to change, like both of Thanos’ daughters did? The day is saved, but let’s not throw a parade. In my sold out screening one guy clapped, almost no one joined in. It felt a little bit ZERO DARK THIRTY to me. Maybe that was necessary, maybe it wouldn’t work to give them all their own cabins in a tiny bubble in the quantum realm, but let’s not gloat about it. I like that it goes there.

 

But let’s go back to the beginning. The sudden 5 year time leap was another unexpected turn of events that got gasps in my screening. And Scott Antman’s “Time Heist” plan is a great gimmick. I was so excited when I realized what they were doing – time traveling into events from previous movies! Which also turns out to be an excuse to get everybody into their 2012 AVENGERS outfits for old time’s sake. My one complaint is that they didn’t have Bruce Hulk travel back to scenes from THE INCREDIBLE HULK so he could interact with his past self, Edward Norton.

Oh, by the way, I was hoping they would mention TIMECOP, and they did. If you check Box Office Mojo I believe you can see that this now holds the record for highest grossing movie to mention TIMECOP. (Previous record holder: TIMECOP?)

It’s so complicated, all these different teams of Avengers, and it’s intercutting between different planets and years and tones, and bringing in various characters when they were younger, or still alive. It’s not an elegant story at all – more like a bunch of loose threads woven through some cool gimmicks and tied around the ankles of our established affection for the characters as they dance around and riff. That means many big laughs and two characters, Thor and Hulk (where does he buy those giant sweaters!?) at comical new stages in their lives. It’s a movie that seems to say goodbye to at least three beloved lead characters, with scenes they expected to be so impactful that they passed out branded Avengers Kleenex at preview screenings, but it also has time for a joke about Ant-Man losing a taco because of a space ship landing. That’s kind of the Marvel magic though, isn’t it?

As unwieldy as this whole thing is it really does feel like an ending in many ways, and I like how much they look back at where each of the characters started and try to put a cap on it.

For Tony Iron Man, it’s revisiting his relationship with his father, who he even gets to hang out with and hug. Also, his relationship with Pepper, who he now has a child with and does battle alongside. (The suit was new, right?) And the theme of his selfishness. He almost turns down the call to protect what he has. But he can’t. He gets to use his smarts, his suits, and his heart. And he gets an organic chance to say “I am Iron Man” again in a different context.

I really like the scene where he’s returned from space, he looks eerily frail, and he flips out on everybody. When he yells about nobody liking his plan to build armor around the world he conveniently leaves out that he tried to do it and created a powerful robot that almost destroyed the world by taking the idea too seriously. But it’s a believable tantrum.

I would’ve liked to see more of him with Rhodey Warmachine, but obviously I’d also like to see Terence Howard mysteriously show up, and I can’t have everything I want. I also wish Mickey Rourke’s character Whiplash from part 2 was there for some reason when everybody comes back from the ashes. Or at least his cockatoo Irina.

Steve America gets the most satisfying closure. I think he has some of the best movies of the Marvel Universe, and part of what was such a delight about THE FIRST AVENGER was that he had an unusually strong and charismatic love interest in Peggy Carter. And it was ballsy that it ended on that sad note of him realizing that he’d lost the chance to really get to know her, a feeling we shared as an audience being trained to want to see the characters we like return in sequels.

(Luckily Peggy got to star in two seasons of a pretty fun TV show, and if you watched that as I did then ENDGAME has a high five for you in the form of a cameo by Howard Stark’s butler Jarvis, so far the only Marvel TV show character to move to the big screen.)

It’s just so perfect and right that Captain America’s ending is not the obvious heroic war sacrifice you’d expect of a soldier, but a miraculous chance to get back the happy ending he was previously robbed of by, uh… ice.

But similar to Tony and Rhodey, it’s too bad they couldn’t fit in more about his friendship with Bucky Winter. Bucky got ashed in INFINITY WAR, so he’s not around until the end of the movie, but it didn’t have to be written that way. And it’s weird that Bucky gives Sam Falcon the go ahead to have the emotional talk with Old Man America moments after they’ve unexpectedly lost their best friend to time travel. Bucky’s known Steve since the ’40s and he’s like “Nah, Sam, you go ahead.”

I wonder if he considered the other normal human option of both of them going together to talk to their friend. And if so would Steve have felt awkward giving the shield to Sam right in front of Bucky? He’d have to be like, “Look, you know I love you Bucky, but between the two of you, he’s the one that didn’t get mind-controlled for decades and kill Tony’s parents and all that shit.”

Of course, for all we know he would’ve passed on the mantle to the first person to walk up to the bench. Could’ve been Ant-Man, even. If it had been Bucky, I wonder if he’d turn down the chance to be Captain America on the account of being Wakandan now.

And by the way, aren’t those kids from the diner gonna feel like idiots if they ever figure out that was Captain America sitting with The Hulk and they didn’t get him in the picture? Man, they blew it.

Hawkeye never got quite as much to do as the others, and I gotta say “switches to swords and travels around to different countries murdering gangsters on account of he’s grieving” seems more like a bad half a season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. than a subplot worthy of this movie. I like the haircut, though. And I do like that they return to the subject of his long friendship with Natasha Widow and their hope for redemption after having been hired killers. A favorite moment for me is when they’re in the cockpit of a spaceship together and he turns and says something invoking the old days – “Long way from Budapest,” or something – and they laugh together. Because they can’t believe they’re in a fucking space ship.

And it’s nice to see these long time pals spend their last minutes together in another duel, this time for the right to sacrifice their life to save half of humanity. In this case though I was taken out of the movie by our modern awareness of entertainment news, because I was thinking “Neither of them can die – she’s gonna have a solo movie and he’s gonna have a Disney+ series.” Guess I was part wrong there. I guess it has now been reported that the BLACK WIDOW movie will be a prequel, not sure how official that is. It surprises me, because you’d think they’d insist on her character growing and coming to a new understanding of heroism and shit like that, but I hope this frees her up to just have a badass spy adventure and not have to save the universe.

Also it makes me less nitpicky about her not getting as much shine in this movie as the male departing characters. Just like Captain Marvel being more of a weapon than a character seems okay since she just had her own movie. That’s one strength of its franchiseness.

Most upsetting death: Thor’s RAGNAROK haircut.

Thor, who started with one of the more serious Marvel movies, has some pretty heavy emotion buried in a silly comedy routine about turning into a beer guzzling slob. I wonder which was harder – gaining all that muscle the first time, or wearing the fat suit? Since Thor has already dealt so much with his dad and brother it was cool that his stuff tied in his part 2 to deal with his mother and his ex-girlfriend. Not only does he get to talk to his dead mom again, but what she says to him inspires the direction he decides to take his life (and franchise?) at the end. And he doesn’t get to talk to Jane but it honestly seemed miraculous that we got to see her for like 5-6 seconds.

Hey, Natalie Portman’s management – this is Marvel. Having trouble getting ahold of Natalie. Hasn’t responded to us since the Patty Jenkins thing. Trying to tie up some Thor things in Endgame. Any ideas???

Natalie will allow 1 (one) photographic representation and 1 (one) shot of her getting out of bed provided you do a pandering but cool scene later where all the super powered females stand together looking all bad ass for basically no reason.

It’s a deal thanks guys!!!

(Seriously, do you think Okoye went up to Pepper and said “Hey, some of us ladies have been talking about getting us all together to back up Captain Marvel. Meet at that hole over there in five minutes”?)

Throughout these 22 movies they’ve had some incredible casts that seemed, at one time, like big gets for a comic book movie. And still there’s something that feels kind of magical when they unexpectedly bring back somebody that hasn’t been in them for a while or wasn’t allowed to become a fixture – Renee Russo, Robert Redford, John Slattery, whoever. I know they got this digital de-aging stuff figured out pretty good, and that fictional characters can come back from the dead, but still. Did not expect to be so impressed to see The Ancient One again. And yeah, I didn’t expect Portman to ever come back, even this briefly. Surprised she didn’t make them use an outtake from ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

Oh man, how about that shot of everybody at Tony Stark’s funeral, lining up just about everybody that was important to him? There’s a weird moment when they zeroed in on a lanky young man standing by himself. I had no idea who he was and I even heard people whispering “Who is that?” in the theater. And I was worried it was some mystery to be revealed in a future movie, but in fact it’s the kid from IRON MAN THREE. And I love that. Good for you, kid. Good for you, Shane Black.

Also good for Nebula, the non-Avenger who plays the biggest part in this one. Especially since in the first GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY she was the coolest looking character but was really more an intriguing idea than a fully developed character. Here she gets to be funny, heroic, and also scary. I like the idea of the current redeemed Nebula being ratted out and slowed down by her past, pre-enlightenment self. Does she get to be an Avenger now? Maybe she can teach Scarlet Witch that you can still be a fun character even if you were tormented and used to be a bad guy.

Props also to Ant-Man, who continues to be a really effective comic relief character but unequivocally saved the day with his time travel idea. I hope the others still make fun of him though.

Now for some mild criticisms. I’ve been over it before, but I can’t not mention it: these movies deserve much better action. That’s especially the case of something simple like the fight between Captain Americas that’s edited into bullshit, but I also think the epic FX battles could be so much more. Don’t get me wrong – the finale of ENDGAME is spectacular, more ambitious than we’ve ever seen in terms of involving dozens of characters we know and their various established abilities. It’s a thrill because of the ideas behind it – hey, Drax is repeatedly stabbing a monster, hey, Ant-Man turned giant and punched the giant caterpillar thing from the first AVENGERS. And you can tell most of what’s going on. I loved watching it. But these scenes are so much chaos and light beams, so little grace and rhythm and momentum and build to impact.

I know it’s the Russos’ style. Joss Whedon’s AVENGERS action had clarity from long, designed camera moves. But ENDGAME’s second unit director/stunt coordinator, former Captain America stunt double Sam Hargrave, designed the action for ATOMIC BLONDE and WOLF WARRIOR II. I’d just love to see scenes with that kind of skillful craftsmanship combined with this epic comic book style.

This is a mild tsk-tsk. I allow them a pass on this stuff because the stories still make the action fun. But if they don’t up their game for SHANG-CHI I won’t stand for it. He’s the master of kung fu, you guys.

A couple more things. This is inevitable with time travel movies, but afterwards I’m left with many goofy questions about how this shit works. Like, it seems Steve went back in time and married Peggy Carter – did they keep that a secret? Or did the world know there were two Captain Americas of different ages? Was Peggy still off on her own being an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., or did she just “live life” with him? If her destiny was different when she married Steve, doesn’t that devalue all her heroic achievements in the previous timeline, because somebody else would’ve taken care of it?

(Yes, I saw the theory that Future Steve was always her husband. I’m not ruling it out but that doesn’t mean I buy it.)

And what about that scene where Peter goes to school and his buddy is happy to see him. I gotta admit this is one of the more emotional parts for me. But wait a minute… if he hasn’t seen Peter in five years, like he’s acting, why is he still in high school? And aren’t we seeing a new Spider-man movie in July where all the same characters go on a school trip? Does this mean that all of the returning high school characters were turned to ash and missed five years and are now continuing their education where they left off? (Obviously this one will be answered soon, unless they just ignore it.)

None of that is important. ENDGAME gave me what I wanted. I’m not sure if it’s a type of movie that ever could or should be replicated, but it’s something special. Here I am once again marveling (get it, marveling) at the fact that I was skeptical they could successfully combine IRON MAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, CAPTAIN AMERICA and THOR into THE AVENGERS, but now that first crossover feels quaint compared to the gigantic shit we now expect of them. And once again I can only assume that they’ll have to make things smaller and simpler for a while and if they build toward a giant event again it can’t be much bigger than this. But, you know, I’ve been wrong before. Every time I questioned them.

For example, at the end of my INFINITY WAR review I complained that I never got to see Tony Stark insult a talking raccoon. This was their last chance, and they came through. Thank you for your service Iron Man.

THE AVENGERS WILL NOT RETURN

Although I watched all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as they were released, I didn’t review all of them. For example, I felt like everybody had heard IRON MAN was great fun and I didn’t have anything to add. Wasn’t planning for cinematic history, I guess. But here’s a list of the movies with links to my reviews when applicable.

IRON MAN (2008)

THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)

IRON MAN 2 (2010)

THOR (2011)

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)

POPEYE (1980)

THE AVENGERS (2012)

IRON MAN THREE (2013)

THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013)

CAPTAIN AMERICA presents THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)

ANT-MAN (2015)

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016)

DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017)

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017)

THOR: RAGNAROK (2017)

BLACK PANTHER (2018)

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018)

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018)

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019)

This entry was posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019 at 12:28 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

188 Responses to “Avengers: Endgame”

  1. If Future Steve Rogers was always Peggy’s husband then didn’t he make out (briefly) with his niece in Civil War?

    Or was he her second husband?

  2. If it wasn’t for the valiant efforts of that heroic rat, none of the dusted would have come back. Well done rat!

  3. I”ve learned that if you just don’t think about time travel ramification in movies then you’ll enjoy time travel movies because they all unravel the minute you start thinking about the logistics.

  4. “I know it’s played for laughs, but Thor’s whole life crisis spins out of his feelings about what he did there. It fucks him up. ”

    Are you sure? I think that what fucked him up was not killing Thanos in the previous movie (“should have aimed for the head”). He’d been feeling guilty all those 5 years after.

  5. “And it’s weird that Bucky gives Sam Falcon the go ahead to have the emotional talk with Old Man America moments after they’ve unexpectedly lost their best friend to time travel.”

    I feel the nod was also to tell us, the audience, that Cap discussed his plan with Bucky before going back in time. He knew what’s up.

    In my headcanon, Cap even offered Bucky to join him in the past (where he too belongs), and he declined.

    A bunch of unspoken stuff in this movie due lo lack of time. I wish it was longer. Like they didn’t address the Hulk/Natasha relationship. Nothing happened between them in 5 years? Come on.

  6. Popeye is my favorite Avenger and not having him or even an Olive Oil cameo is probably my biggest disappointment with the film.

  7. First off, Merso, “Headcannon” would be a great name for the next iteration of War Machine. Kudos.

    One of my favorite things about this was how Captain America let his good humor slip. Living with the events of Infinity War for 5 years and running all those therapy groups would do that to you. But I liked him cursing under his breath when he ran into his gung-ho younger self during the Time Heist.

    The group therapy sessions reminded me of the last few issues of my beloved Astro City, an amazing long-running comic series about life on the margins of a superhero-populated world. Like what it’s like to be a cabdriver who has to ferry tourists around to where they’re likely to see superheroic action, or a petty criminal who sees a hero changing his mask and tries to figure out how to monetize his info without getting himself killed. The last few issues focused on a therapy group for people who have lost loved ones during alien invasions and such. I went into Endgame musing that this MCU business could be ripe for a movie or TV show focused on non-super civilians just trying to live. Call me, Feige! Or better yet, call the Astro City guys and give them millions of dollars, they’d make better use of it.

    As a comic book superhero fanboy (see preceding paragraph) from infancy, I am truly amazed. They made a real movie about Iron Man. They made a real, really good movie about The Avengers that had Thor fighting Iron Man and Captain America, and Hulk fighting aliens, and Loki with his crazy swooping horn helmet, and the camera swooping around like a cinema version of one of those big comic splash pages!! And it made Hawkeye look kinda cool! And it had a shot of mf’in THANOS in the credits for crying out loud!

    I’ve felt a little iffy about some of these lately, just because it feels so obligatory to take the whole family and go to them all, even when they don’t all 100% work as movies in themselves. I’m not sure this one did really. Have any of these MCU joints had moments of purely thrilling cinema to match the No Man’s Land scene from Wonder Woman? Or the tank battle from the Ang Lee Hulk? Or anything that Jackie Chan or Jet Li have done onscreen in anything, ever? Ehhh…

    But sure enough we were there for Endgame as part of the packed house opening weekend, and we all loved it, and we all loved trying to hush each other as we walked out past everyone lined up for the next show.

    It feels weird to say this about a multizillion dollar corporate extravaganza of merchandising and intellectual property, but it does feel to me like these MCU movies have heart. The people making them, and Kevin Feige and the people producing them, obviously have a deep, sincere love for the comic books and the characters and stories in them. That’s what keeps me going back.

  8. Michaelangelo McCullar

    April 29th, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Peter Parker and Ned were both snaptured. So were a lot of the kids they went to school with. The other kids in the school who weren’t snaptured are 5 years older and graduated.

  9. I really liked this cinematical experience.

    Captain America’s “Avengers… Assemble” moment made me tear up a little bit. It’s the full-blown cinematic realisation of the crazy event comics I read when I was a kid, with all the good and bad that implies. I never thought I’d see it. Captain America wielding Mjolnir, Captain Marvel demolishing the mother ship, so many great moments. The relaying of the Infinity Gauntlet across the battlefield was my favourite part. Much like the part in INFINITY WAR when they were trying to remove the gauntlet from Thanos, it has a bunch of superheroes working together to achieve a clear, simple goal. Not just a ploughing through a bunch of CG monsters (although it had that too).

    I was confused by the appearance of old Steve Rogers at the end, as it seemed to go against the time travel rules laid out by Bruce Banner (i.e. you can’t affect the past). The only way I can reconcile it in my head is by assuming they’ve always been married as per the linked article. Hence the timeline we’ve been following all along is the one where Steve Rogers went back in time and married Peggy. That means that there were secretly two Steves Rogers and Sharon Carter made out with a guy that looks exactly like her uncle. But whatevs, time travel is complicated. Speaking of which, I like that they found a neat way to bring back Gamorra, but couldn’t they have done the same thing for Black Widow? Or Iron Man for that matter? I have no idea how they are going to deal with the fact that time travel exists going forward.

    I figured that the happy reunion between Ned and Peter was because the last time Ned saw Peter he was jumping out of a school bus to go fight an alien spaceship. I imagine SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is going to ignore the events of ENDGAME and we’re just to assume that everyone with a speaking role in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING was snapped. I really liked the ballsiness of the five year time jump, but it introduces all kinds of issues. Imagine half the population dissappears. After a few years agriculture and infrastructure would be completely fucked. Then the population of the planet instantly doubles. Complete chaos.

    Another moment I liked was when Black Widow and Hawkeye were fighting eachother over who got to sacrifice themselves. A crazy series of reversals, to the point where I had no idea who was going to end up at the bottom of the cliff. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it. I wished they’d done a little more to acknowledge her sacrifice though. They should’ve mentioned her at Tony’s funeral, but I guess getting all those actors in one place at one time probably cost twenty million dollars per second.

    Thicc Thor gives fat dudes a MCU character they can cosplay. Expect to see an abundance of Thor Lebowskis this Halloween.

    A lot of other people have mentioned it, but I want to see how it played out when Captain America returned the Soul Stone to the Red Skull. That must have been awkward.

  10. Merso:

    You almost have me persuaded with your Bucky theory. If you watch his face for the first few seconds after Cap doesn’t come back, it’s a knowing smile instead of a look of concern.

    A few seconds later when he spots old man Cap, he’s obviously surprised, though. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t know what Cap was going to do. He might have known (or suspected) that Cap was going to stay in the past, but still be surprised that Cap would live quite that long and then show up on-site as and old timer.

  11. Does anyone think there’s a fascinating untold story here of Cap returning the stones and Mjolnir to the past?

    This would require him to: (1) sneak around Asgard (where he’d never been); (2) go back to 2012 by himself to slip the Mind stone back where it was — maybe he watched his two younger selves fighting each other; (3) have an interesting conversation with The Ancient One when returning the Time Stone — maybe she said something soulful and insightful that put the bug in his head of staying in the past to find happiness; (4) travel back to the New Jersey fort to replace the Space Stone — he could encounter Tony there, mid-mission; and (5) have a final encounter with Red Skull when he returns the Soul stone.

    I suppose he also has to return the Power stone to planet Morag but I can’t think of anything even possibly interesting for that.

  12. Good points Dirk (about the rat), Merso (about the guilt and about Bucky), David (about Popeye), and others.

  13. I think that Steve was Peggy’s husband all along. One thing that makes me think this, for no substantial reason, really, but I’m sticking to it, is that she kept her maiden name. If they were keeping Steve on the down low, it makes sense that she’d keep her maiden name, but otherwise, it’s unusual for the time.

    I also think that Bucky new he wasn’t coming back. Their goodbye was too fraught with emotion to just be a quick, see ya in a second.

    At first I didn’t like angsty Thor, but it grew on me. I like bad ass Thor, like the ends of both RAGNAROK & INFINITY WAR, so I was disappointed to not see that. But the scene with his mom made me feel his pain. I hated that we got fat jokes, though. Ugh.

    I also don’t really love Professor Hulk. I prefer Angry Hulk making appearances with Bruce handing the rest. I did like his halfhearted punching of the car, though.

  14. I was a little disappointed Goose and Ghost didn’t show up. But yes i liked Endgame all in all. It’s truly a cinematic experience.

  15. I liked the movie, but I really, really REALLY hate that the heroes solve the problem/save the day by using the power stones to ‘snap’ Thanos and his forces out of existence. What is the take away there? Mass murder, up to the level of genocide is a-okay, so long as the right side is doing it? It’s truly grotesque and the total antithesis of heroism.

    Of course, it was also Tony Stark who did the snap, so… I mean, the guy was a war profiteering bastard, whose version of growing a conscience was building a bigger weapon to fight the ‘bad’ weapons he had previously made and then building a privatized military force with no oversight or accountability to police the world based solely on his own whims.

    I like the marvel films, but I’ve always despised everything about Tony Stark and the way the series lionizes his ultra-right-wing ideology. I guess it was a fitting end for the character: morally bankrupt.

  16. Iron Man Three establishes that Pepper could wear a suit, right?

    Great analysis of how this is a different kind of event. It is. Interestingly, it’s also one that discourages interaction. You HAVE to see it right away and then you CAN’T talk about it publicly because your spoil it for others. There’s no “You’ve gotta see T2/Jurassic Park/The Fast and the Furious. It’s awesome!” It’s a foregone conclusion which is fun to be a part of but it’s not social.

    The inclusion of Popeye also made me laugh.

  17. The dialogue (something like “I’m really gonna miss you, buddy.”) and the knowing smile when Steve didn’t reappear after 10 seconds indicates that Bucky thought Steve was going to stay in the past and not come back.

    The idea of Steve going back in time to reunite with Peggy and returning as an old man really got to me in the moment. Old man Steve is probably the best special effect in the movie and Evans did a really good job with the old man voice.

    But… it’s best not to think too much about what Steve did (or to think too much about time travel in general), because it doesn’t make much sense. I actually thought more about the Bucky situation than the Peggy/Sharon situation. A guy like Steve would *have* to go and rescue his best pal Bucky from years of torture and brainwashing, wouldn’t he? And how could that not change things?

    I definitely had some issues with the movie, but overall I liked it. I enjoyed most of the new stuff. I liked seeing Tony as a father, Hulk as a Ruffalo, and Thor as fat, broken man. I really appreciated how they kept Thor fat and in fingerless hobo gloves for the entire runtime. Hemsworth can do no wrong at this point. There are some really big, quick tonal shifts during a lot of his scenes and it worked for me. Hearing an audience laugh while Thor threatened fortnite player NUDEMASTER69 and then go competely silent when Thor got emotional about Thanos was a pretty unique experience!

    I also thought they nailed a lot of the big moments at the end and I was satisfied with the two big farewells.

    My two biggest complaints about the movie is the time travel section and the way the action was cut. I totally get why Marvel felt they had to go the ‘greatest hits/victory lap’ route in this movie, but I’ll always take something new over nostalgia and callbacks. As for the action, the Russos seemed to cut the action in ENDGAME even quicker than they usually do. The Cap vs. Cap fight was pretty much a mess of quick cuts. And I loved the Cap/mjolnir reveal, but I wish they would have allowed the fight ‘breathe’ a little more.

  18. The lesson is that the good guys won over evil. Don’t overthink it.

    Also, did anybody experience people going WAY over the top with their anti spoiler stuff? People were acting fucking crazy and I saw friendships end over it even though no spoilers to said. It’s fucking depressing the level of me me me over fake bullshit.

    Awesome movie though.

  19. Nothing much to add to the convo except that there was so much that was fun and powerful and a great mix of new developments and fun callbacks. A solid payoff and something of a victory lap. Well done.
    .

  20. Watching AVENGERS: ENDGAME followed by last night’s ep of GAME OF THRONES was a real emotional rollercoaster.

    Very glad they didn’t have a post-credits stinger. The hammer clanking from IRON MAN was nice, subtle way to acknowledge the origin of the franchise and Robert Downey Jr’s role in forging the most successful franchise in cinematic history.

    Also glad they resisted the temptation to use the “I could do this all day” line again in the final fight with Thanos but instead used it as a joke during the battle with his time duplicate. Also appreciated how they turned a recreation of the elevator fight from WINTER SOLDIER into a funny joke and also a reference to the Secret War comic arc. RDJ is being rightly praised for ENDGAME, but congratulation to Chris Evans for his great work throughout this series. That truly is America’s ass.

  21. Regarding Cap being able to stay out of the action when he goes back in time, I agree that it seems out of character. I wish Chris Evans hasn’t said he’d be retiring the part, because, oh my god, do I want Steve and Peggy Having Adventures But Keeping Things Under The Radar. Plus, there has to be something there about him taking the hammer into the past with him.

  22. Wait. I just figured out he was returning the hammer to Asgard of the past at the same time he returned the aether/stone.

  23. I guess that means Peggy doesn’t hook up with that limp on one foot guy from the TV series.

  24. I always say these Marvel movies are disposable and forgettable, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this one. The incredibly clever script is an elegant solution to multiple impossible problems – how do you undo the ending in the last movie when everyone is already expecting it? How do you bring back Gamora without feeling like a cheap cop out? How do you kill off the one character everyone is already expecting to die and do it in a way that still brings everyone in the house to tears? Yes, everything we already knew was going to happen does end up happening, albeit in a smarter and more engaging way than any of us could ever think of. This is the first movie in a LONG time that I have absolutely no desire to armchair-quarterback, to say “I would have changed this and this”. I nitpick the SHIT out of everything and I don’t even feel like nitpicking this thing. It’s miles above anything I could ever dream about and I actually kinda hope this gets a Best Screenplay nomination among others (I know acting Oscars seems like a longshot for this, but I think we can agree this is some career-best work from RDJ, Johannson, and Rudd, right?)

    It truly is amazing that this thing exists, and it’s a downright miracle that it’s actually really good. I’ve only liked about half the Marvel movies, but they stuck to their guns and kept making them the way they wanted to make them. Sure, you can call them bland or glib or obnoxious or whatever (as I did), but the average joe and kids and families liked em, and it bought them the power to make the nerdiest fucking movie I’ve ever seen and the money to make it properly. This movie’s not just a Greatest Hits package or a Victory Lap, it’s also a Marvel mission statement – it closes one door and opens up another, it’s a viking funeral and a passing of a torch. It thanks us for our patience and loyalty and rewards us by weirdly freeing us from having to religiously watch these movies anymore (I’m totally going to wait for video for Spider-Man 2 and not feel bad about it at all). Speaking of a mission statement – I full-well know the “Ladies of Marvel” sequence has no logical reason why it should be happening, and I admit I wish I could remember anything said Ladies actually did, but I appreciate the fact that it’s happening. (I also really like the meta fact that the movie is like “oh you’ve been complaining these Marvel movies are all about heroes fighting faceless CGI hordes in a deserted area? We’re going to give you that ONE LAST TIME, and you’re going to fucking love it”. And they’re right!)

    *SPOILER* Man, Tony’s death is rough. Like, we literally don’t know if he was even technically sentient when Peter or Pepper talked to him. It must have been SO tempting for them to have him make a quip, to have him say something final to Pepper. But they had the good sense to have the quippiest of their heroes die a silent death (after delivering a one-liner he could never top anyway). It’s fitting and appropriate and smart, just like the rest of the movie.

  25. I want a scene of Captain America back in Asgard, chasing Natalie Portman around with that syringe full of evil goo. Anyway, that Natalie Portman cameo was unused footage from THOR 2: MORE THOR with some additional voiceover. I thought it seemed a little abbreviated.

  26. Hated Fat Thor (character assassination), loved Nerd Hulk (my boy Bruce got a happy ending). Can’t wait to see Cassie Lang and the Young Avengers take on Kang (that’s our guess for the next big bad, now that the Avengers have invented time travel). That’s gotta be the reason for keeping the “Five Years Later”, right? Cassie looked at least five years older than she should’ve been, and Cap’s got a couple of kids too.

    Seen it twice now, and enjoyed it even more the second time. It sucks that Cap can’t change history, can’t tell Peggy she’s working with a bunch of Nazis, but I caught Howard T. Duck’s cameo. And that’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

  27. I agree with pretty much everything neal2zod said. I doubt I’ll ever watch it again, I’m not sure it changes my overall feelings about the MCU, but it’s really something (and this is coming from someone who didn’t really like INFINITY WAR).

  28. This thing works despite itself. The time travel stuff was the most frustrating part of the movie, if you can bother to care about it and it’s mostly frustrating because the movie calls attention to it deliberately then still mucks things up. But there’s so much time put into these characters and their interactions that all the fan service moments still got me. Tony Stark won this movie, but Thor is the new Marvel MVP.

    @Tawdry: That reading is a stretch. The solution is for Hulk to snap everyone back. But suddenly 2014 Thanos shows up and they gotta improv some self-defense to avoid another, even more ruthless, snap from Thanos. I suppose Tony Stark is positioned more right wing than other Marvel heroes, but he’s firmly in self-defense territory within this movie’s climax.

  29. One of my favorite things about the movie was how believably I thought it handled the psychological impact of everyone basically losing to Thanos and seeing how that all played out 5 years later. Cap leading a grief support group (just like his old disappeared pal Falcon!) was perfect, I straight-up gasped at the reveal of Professor Hulk (an idea I really never thought would show up in the movies), and Tony becoming (apparently a pretty good!) dad was a great swerve. The one that really has stuck with me the most, though, was Thor.

    I had been primed (annoyingly so, actually- a friend of my wife’s kept talking about Fat Thor and all the fat jokes and how bad it all was even though I kept saying “hey, DON’T TELL ME ABOUT THE MOVIE”), but I didn’t find it particularly egregious. I more just felt bad for Thor, honestly, like, I know you’re better than this, man! Just wanted to give the guy a hug. Depression hit him *hard* and I can relate! I think there’s a difference between the movie itself making a joke out of “being fat” and particular characters ribbing Thor about it. In fact, unless I missed anything, the 3 characters who do rag on Thor (Rocket, Tony, and Rhody) tend to be the biggest assholes *generally*. I think if the movie just wanted to make a joke out of Thor’s weight, they would have had it just magically go away once he gets his confidence and hammer back or whatever, but I really liked that that didn’t happen. He still got to look cool and be a badass, just all while hefting around a little extra bulk.

  30. Put me in the camp of the Fat Thor stuff was funny, and buoyed by how hilarious Korg and his buddy are every time they’re on screen. I greatly preferred fat Thor to weird looking Banner Hulk. Some people got annoyed about Chris Pratt getting fat shamed/razzed in the last movie too. I’m assuming those people totally missed the reversal for this movie. I’ll admit it is low hanging fruit humor-wise (so are most funny observational quips in these movies–e.g. nut sack chin, legolas, Shakespeare in the park, hey auntie, etc.) but the whole gag is emotionally underpinned and the guy gets an arc.

  31. Discussing it with a friend, I realized that The Snap is gonna mess up people’s ability to judge age. If they go by birth dates on ID, Peter and Ned might be able to buy beer.

  32. Isn’t it weird that after Endgame and the recent GoT episode, that the best and most coherent action on screens this week was that latest episode of Barry. Had Daniel Bernhardt guest starring too. Amazing.

  33. Fat Thor was cool, but it would have been cooler if his alcoholism was played with a bit more edge. Then, when the hammer flies to him and he’s still worthy to wield it, it would have really packed a punch.

    RE: Sternsein – the heroes didn’t win, they debased themselves and lowered themselves to Thanos’ level. But that’s just my weird hot-take, I guess. Literally no one else has a problem with this, as near as I can tell.

  34. I think there’s a difference between using a snap to defeat people you are currently in battle with, who are overwhelming you, and who will then go on to destroy literally every living thing in the universe and using it to destroy literally every living thing in the universe to set yourself up as God.

  35. Yeah I mean, I think we’re meant to understand that Thanos’ army had already been party to multiple cullings all over the galaxy and were actively trying to eat everyone on Earth, so I feel a little differently about them getting Snapped mid-battle vs. trillions and trillions of people who were just livin’ their lives.

  36. I was quite relieved Scott Lang came out of his five years stretch in the quantum realm with his sanity intact. I thought he might pop out of it like that kid at the end of Stephen King’s The Jaunt. “It’s longer than you think in there! It’s longer than you think!”

    Anyway, enjoyable film. At the end, someone in our Cinema shouted out the lamest/funniest/most stating the bleedin’ obvious heckle I think I’ve ever heard (“He DEAD!”), Said in the most matter-of-fact way that my girlfriend and I were both laughing when we should have been, uh, not laughing.

  37. I didn’t think it was as good as INFINITY WAR but I still had a great time, it’s good.

    And it’s hard to say goodbye to RDJ’s Tony Stark, he was such a fun to watch character.

  38. A couple of teenagers was standing outside the cinema before opening yelling the spoilerending. Infuriating, but i kind of suspected how the saga would end to begin with so it wasn’ tthat big of a deal. Bug aparentlyvthere was that one guy in Hong kong who got beat up for pulling thesame shit. I guess he had it coming.Being an asshole to other people is seldom rewarding..

    I loved the movie though. More than INFINITY WAR, which sometimes felt like a CGI animated feature. This one felt stylistically more like a”real” movie, like it did not feel like cosmic battles occurred constantly in the same way.Although the narrative felt abit looser and leftway more questions unsolved in my head thanks to the inevitable time paradoxes timetravel movies always suffers.But I was enjoying the cinemayticc experiene so much and had no idea they would kill of Thanos so early, so it made me at least a little bit curious which I did not expecg. But I agree with Sterny. When it comes to time travel, thinking too much about the ins and outs of it makes you enjoy the experience lot less.

    Man there is so much stuff I liked. But I am most excited about a possible ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Thor just melts into that bunch of misfits like a glove, especially since he has become this big loveable doofus. I am glad he has won some friends, especially that sweet rabbit.

    I love how Ant man played such a big part, since I love those movies a lot.but where was Michael Pena all along? They still got the van, though….

  39. The Russos clear up a few questions.

    'Avengers: Endgame' directors answer Captain America mystery

    Avengers: Endgame directors explain Captain America time travel

  40. Re: Maggie

    Kill *half* of all life, not all life. And wasn’t the army made of slaves? I feel like I might be confusing Thanos and Necromonger mythology.

    My point is that it is fundamentally wrong to use the snap, full stop. As a society, we agree that weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons and chemical weapons are ethically different than ‘traditional warfare.’ Same thing here.

    And killing all of Thanos troops is kinda… genocide. Isn’t it?

    Except they’re all evil, you say?

    What about gammora and nebula? Clearly those two weren’t beyond redemption and yet, the snap would deny them the ability to evolve as ‘people.’ What’s to say the giant worm monster or the 8-armed Goro looking dude couldn’t free himself from Thanos’ brainwashing, given the chance? Again, wasn’t it an army of slaves?

  41. No, at that point it was *all life*. Thanos had seen how his ‘half of all life’ ended in the other timeline, so he announced that he modified his plan to be ‘erase everything, start over from scratch.’

  42. Tawdry: I have my issues with the inherent fascism of superhero stories, but this is a real stretch. No, it wasn’t a slave army, they are mindless animals genetically engineered by Thanos to be expendable footsoldiers. The Obsidian Order are the truest of the true believers, no redemption there. OG Nebula had already bought it and I’m assuming OG Gamorra survived the snap and is still out there somewhere. I wish Tony Stark had made a more creative use of the gauntlet than a ‘snapback’, but he was trying to get rid of Thanos and his troops as quickly as possible while causing minimal disruption to the timeline.

    And again, Thanos is a genocidal maniac who is hellbent on wiping out all life in the universe and remaking it in his own image.

  43. I don’t remember it being said that Thanos’ army is made of slaves, but I guess it’s possible. From what we *see* of them, they mostly look like crazy monsters alongside a few smug pricks who are all-in on the “murder half of everyone” plan.

  44. So what would you have done Tawdry? Were they supposed to capture Thanos and put them on trial and then created some sort of cosmic jail? Or would you prefer they stabbed and killed them all? I feel like you are doing some real next level overthinking of a Superhero movie.

  45. I’m sorry Tawdry, I’m coming across as an asshole.

  46. I would have used one of the many, many other powers of the stones. Probably something like the ending of Dr Strange. But that can’t be done for obvious, redundancy issues.

    And you’re not being an asshole. No worries.

  47. I think the end of DR STRANGE is more cruel than killing them. Wasn’t he banished to live in endless torment?

  48. Stacy Livitsanis

    April 30th, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Being immune to Marvel movies, seeing Endgame would be like putting my hand in a fire after having already put it in ten times, and saying, “Maybe this time it won’t burn”. So this stuff isn’t for me. But then a friend asked me to go with them and shouted me a ticket. Alright then. Definitely agree with Vern about the action. For $400 million it really should be better. Couple of days later I watched Man of Steel again, to remind myself of what really good, exciting superhero action scenes can look like. I tell ya, six years on, that movie looks better than ever. I even went back to Winter Soldier, the one Marvel film I don’t mind, and the action in that is like verite footage compared to the what they’re doing only 4-5 years later in these Avengers movies. The Winter Soldier elevator scene still impresses me more than anything here.

    The self-conscious, condescending “Here’s one for the ladies” girl-power shot where all ten female characters are composited in the same frame made me vomit, especially considering how badly they were all treated in this movie. None of them really gets to do shit, except Nebula maybe, but here they all are, just to show how not-sexist we are. But then other people told me how they were crying at that shot, so there you go… Wake me when they make a movie that’s actually ALL about those women and I might be interested.

  49. I think the single worst superhero action scene I’ve ever seen was whatever the fuck was the Wonder Woman foils a bank robbery scene in Justice League.

  50. I honestly have no idea what you guys are talking about concerning the action in these movies. I know this characters and what they can do, and I don’t need the self-conscious showmanship of a pure martial arts film to prove it to me. There isn’t a single moment in any of these movies where I don’t know and/or am not engaged with what’s going on. And that includes this one. Is it cut fast? Fuck yeah it’s cut fast! You got action scenes with 60 characters in them! You’re not just following John Wick from one henchman to the next so you can take your time with each beat. You wallow in these action beats the way you guys are suggesting, you not only have a four-hour movie, you have a boring, overlong set-piece that seems to exist in separate pools of action, not as an interconnected melee of nonstop combat. I think you guys are incorrect about the best form for this material to take. It’s about people who can move at superhuman speeds doing superhuman things. Shooting that like it’s a Scott Adkins fight scene is not only ludicrous, but impossible. The distances these characters cover in a single movement precludes that kind of coverage. The camera and cutting needs to keep up with the characters or it starts looking like the end of X-MEN 3 with a bunch of furry people getting slowly marionetted around on cranes.

    There are some action scenes that take you through the whole process step by step, and there are some that only let you see enough to make you immediately want to see it again. I like both styles. It would be stupid to shoot Michael Jai White like this film shoots Spider-Man, and it would be stupid to shoot Spider-Man like BLOOD & BONE shoots Michael Jai White. I feel like this is some “practical effects vs. CGI” shit, where we’re just supposed to take it as a given that one method is always preferable. Not true. One is no better than the other. You just need to know which is the right tool to use for the job. The Russos do. They know how to ride the crest of the chaos so you’re just barely keeping up with it all without ever being confused. I find that exhilarating, to see something exciting and immediately want to go back for a better look, much the way you might read a comic quickly for story and then reread it immediately to pore over the art. I wouldn’t in a million years change the cumulative effect of all this momentum-building intercutting and a mise en scene for a clearer shots of Black Widow doing MMA moves. I can get that anywhere. A 30-second piece of footage with 20 amazing characters all doing amazing shit? That’s a Marvel-only thing.

  51. Without having seen this one: I still would prefer to actually see what’s going on during action scenes. Considering how shitty, shaky, close and overedited they were to varying degreed in previous Russo Brothers MCU joints, I really don’t expect to be able to figure out most of the shit that is going on here and it’s not because there are 200 characters at once on screen, but because the Russos are incompetent when it comes to shooting action.

    Think of the finale in POTC 2: In this one a dozen characters first fight several different parallel fights across an island, sprinkled with all kinds of gimmicks from exciting to “Buster Keaton would be proud”, followed by a kraken with seemingly thousand tentacles attacking a ship and murdering 99% of the crew. It’s one of the most convoluted action scenes in tentpole movie history and you always can clearly see and follow everything without wondering who is doing what to whom and why.

    And as much as I love JOHN WICK, it always made me sad that this one was celebrated for having “the best action scenes in a long time”, when all the directors did was film making 101: Point the camera at the exciting stuff and let the audience clearly see it.

    Still, I would love to know why suddenly everybody here, including Vern, sounds like Marvel never had any good action. Yeah, I know how many of you are usually disappointed how the biggest fights end up being fully CGI’d special effect shots, but again: Outside of the Russos, pretty much everybody in the MCU knew how to stage, film and edit their action scenes. Shit, they even got Genndy Tartakovsky doing the story boards for IRON MAN 2!

  52. I truly think some of you guys need to get your eyes checked.

  53. I think a lot of it depends on how you see it. I’ve seen this movie twice. First time in a fancy, expensive theater and it looked great. The 2nd time was in a not fancy, expensive theater and it was really dark in a lot of the action scenes. And then there’s the issues that come with streaming a movie, if you wait and see it that way.

  54. Maggie: Maybe that’s it. I go to matinees so I always get a great seat with a perfect view of the screen. I choose the 2D screenings so it’s not too dark. Then I only watch the movies at home on Blu-ray so everything always looks clear to me. I feel bad for you guys with all these problems figuring out what happened. I cannot relate because it’s literally never happened to me with any Marvel movie.

  55. I’m not saying it’s like TRANSFORMERS or anything, just that it could be so great if done more artfully. It already was done better in Whedon’s AVENGERS movies. At the time AGE OF ULTRON was by far the most extreme super power zooming zippy magic guy brawls ever ever put on film, but had carefully designed camera moves that made it, to me, more exciting. I would say the same for DAYS OF FUTURE PAST’s battle which involved a bunch of warping and shit.

    Gimmicky special effects scenes can still be spectacularly thrilling action scenes. You’ve seen the speeder bike chase. Even with shitty green screen, the Green Goblin fight in Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN 3 is a thrill. Or maybe I’m remembering it better than it was. But I’m not talking about doing kung fu, I’m talking about using the visual language of cinema to its full power. Just because Miller and Cameron and Lucas and Spielberg and Zemeckis are old and hard to top doesn’t mean we can’t expect anyone to follow in their traditions. I think it could be done and could make these movies even better.

    But also – there *are* martial arts fights in these movies! There are straight up fights like Cap vs. Cap or WINTER SOLDIER’s Batroc scene when he was fighting one of the actual best fighters in the world. There’s no reason why those can’t be staged and edited like great fight scenes, showcasing the skills of the experienced crafters of great fight scenes they hired to work on the movies.

    But I’m glad to see you taking the positive side in this argument. And I shouldn’t even be trying to convince you. I’m glad you don’t have the same problem with it.

  56. I actually agree with you on WINTER SOLDIER, where the action is small-scale enough that it could have benefited from longer takes and steadier moves. But even the scale of ULTRON pales in comparison to the scale of INFINITY WAR and ENDGAME. The pace had to be picked up to keep all those balls in the air. A Whedon-style long shot with all these characters in it would take like 10 minutes. While that might be interesting from a technical angle, I’m not sure it would serve the movie. I’m too invested in this story and these characters to throw a monkey wrench into the tension and momentum like that. I think the Russos are very good at making sure your eye is drawn to the part of the shot that tells the story, no matter how fast or chaotic that shot is, and holding it for only just as long as it needs to and not one second more. It feels breathless without becoming a big blur. I think there’s a lot of cinematic care that goes into these shots. They just don’t call attention to themselves. They work in concert with surrounding shots to create an overall effect, and I think that effect absolutely works. There are no self-indulgent guitar solo-style shots here. It’s the dynamics of the ensemble that matter.

    But I guess this varies for everyone. My eyes got so used to the shakycam era that these Russo set-pieces look like fucking HAYWIRE to me.

  57. For what it’s worth, I think WINTER SOLDIER has the 3 best action scenes in the entire Marvel movie canon between the Nick Fury ambush, the elevator fight, and the highway overpass fight. Maybe they’re not exactly ONG-BAK, but I think they’re pretty good.

  58. Re: mr. Majestyk

    You weren’t confused by the opening infiltration scene in CAPTAIN MARVEL? Because that scene was utterly incompetent in geography and filmed in near total dark.

  59. Not that I can recall. The action in CM is on the lower end of the Marvel quality spectrum (not “BLACK PANTHER bad” but not “AVENGERS good,” either) but it still seemed perfectly serviceable to me.

    Honestly, I really don’t know what more you guys could possibly expect. Am I the only one who remembers BATTLE: LA? We’ve seen how much worse it can be.

  60. Hey, if you like to drink piss because it’s better than eating shit, whatever, but we also saw many, many, MANY great action scenes in the MCU in tons of other movies. There is simply no excuse, especially not in such an expensive studio movie, to half ass the visual aspects of, y’know, a movie. Which has to be seen.

  61. I mean, if it doesn’t work for you it doesn’t work for you, but I kind of feel like being overly picky about action clarity is keeping some of you guys from enjoying some of the more dynamic set-pieces out there at the moment. I see what you’re saying, but I’m pretty sure that the choreography and cinematography and editing of the BATTLE ANGEL ALITA action sequences was exactly what you guys are asking for, and I couldn’t tell you a fuckin’ thing that happened in any of them less than a month later. Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see Giant-Man punch out that space-slug again. Maybe Original Paul was right and the most important thing about an action scene is giving a shit about who’s in it.

  62. I’m really interested to know how much, if any of this, was planned from the beginning. I feel like Ant-Man and the quantum realm was in the mix from the beginning as a way of giving Captain America his send off. But beyond that, I donno. I think they didn’t have a specific endgame in mind until Winter Soldier at the earliest. Idea you’ll note, none of the characters introduced after phase one – other than ant-man – was actually essential to Endgame’s narrative.

    Does anyone have any theories? Was there anything in the earlier films that directly signaled this storyline? Guardians introduced Thanos and Co, but that wasn’t strictly necessary, imo.

  63. Re: the “mass genocide” at the end that alot of people online seem to be complaining about (you’re not alone, Tawdry), 1) I think it’s weird that people are concerned about Tony killing poor, poor Thanos and his world-eating genocidal army (“HEROES DO. NOT. DO. THAT!”) when I seemed to be the only person on the planet complaining about Black Panther and Co. killing a bunch of their own GOOD GUYS at the end of that movie. (I seemed to be the only one bothered by Aquaman doing it in his movie as well). Don’t worry, I’m not accusing people of thinking Alien Lives Matter more than Black ones or anything, I just think it’s odd that THIS is the time people seem to be up in arms about heroes killing en masse. We can just say Tony killed exactly as many bad guys as were on the Death Star Luke blew up I guess if it makes people feel better.

    2) The movie literally reminds us in an enjoyably on-the-nose way that this is the only outcome that works for the good guys (when Dr. Strange holds up the “one” finger to Tony). If Tony just used the power stone to punch Thanos or whatever comic book guys are saying he should have done, (“you see, if he just used the reality stone to do this and then the time stone to do this…..”) then Thanos would have eventually gotten the gauntlet back and resnapped everyone, etc… Dr. Strange’s “only one way this works” is like the movie’s final meta-statement to the audience -“whatever armchair quarterbacking you’re thinking about, it didn’t work. Let’s move on.”

  64. So so so many movies end with the heroes either killing the one brain guy who is keeping all the minions alive or a huge explosion that conveniently kills all the remaining minions. How is Tony atomizing the bad guys here any different than that? It’s basically just Sgt. Powell shooting Karl writ extremely large.

  65. CrustaceanLove

    May 1st, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    I think Whedon’s action scenes in AVENGERS and AGE OF ULTRON come the closest to capturing the feel of a comic book splash page. That slow-mo shot of the Avengers jumping out of the van at the start of ULTRON is the goofiest shit ever and I love it.

    That said, I have never been confused or frustrated by the any of the action scenes in any of the post-Whedon Marvel films and Vern’s complaints about “post-action” in the Russos’ Marvel movies have always struck me as overblown. Their action scenes have always had enough clarity to tell a story and to show superheroes using their powers in creative and unexpected ways, which is what I am there to see.

  66. Marvel Studios action scenes are usually fine and easy to follow, but I think usually come out of them thinking there’s room for improvement. As far as the Russos go, for some reason they seem to handle the more intricate large scale battles better than simple 1 on 1s. Which is kind of weird because their best action is a large scale battle that is basically a series of 1 on 1s (Civil War airport fight). Meanwhile, there are a couple of small Bucky vs. Black Panther fights before the airport battle that are complete close shot/quick cut duds.

    With ENDGAME, I think the Russos nailed a bunch of the big splash page shots (Cap/Mjolnir reveal, Ant-Man punching a slug, Avengers Assemble). The action didn’t blow me away, though. I wasn’t able to full absorb all of Cap’s Mjolnir combo moves and that’s a shame. The Cap vs. Cap fight was a lot of quick cuts with no memorable beats. In that instance, it felt like they were more concerned about getting to the “America’s ass” joke than they were with making a good action scene.

    But like I said, I don’t think any of this stuff is UNWATCHABLE.

  67. Now Mr M, please don’t take this as an insult, it’s more an observation: You don’t really seem to care about the craft part of movies that much anyway. Over the years you declared on here directors useless, didn’t give two shits about costumes and art direction, I even seem to remember you accusing a movie at one point of trying too hard, because the cinematography looked great. It often seems like you would enjoy movies more if they were books and all you have to look at are black letters on white paper.

    Of course I don’t really know you and what you like, but I can imagine you watching an overedited action scene with only the bare minimum of coherence in it and thinking: “This is servicable, I’m okay with it. Must be everybody else’s fault, that they want more.”

  68. Neal, my guess is that it’s getting more reaction than the other things you mentioned because this one was designed to be solemn. It’s slow and quiet and shown through the horror on Thanos’ face. By design it leaves more of an impression than the other examples which, admittedly, I don’t remember even noticing. I think we’re supposed to contemplate whether or not it’s right. If not, they shoulda figured we would in a movie centered on Nebula, who would’ve been ashes with them if it had just been a little bit earlier.

    I like your point about it being the only way for it to work according to Dr. Strange. But they could’ve written it so the only way for it to work would be for him to turn them into puppies. Or give them all puppies. He could’ve done anything. This was revenge.

  69. I’m with Mr M. Did you guys forget that awesome long take sequence with Ronin?

  70. I’ve always enjoyed just diving into the superhero debates after a couple of weeks. That’s when we’re down to discussing the really important shit.

  71. Tawdry, Thanos was first introduced in Avengers. I think the snap was first introduced in Infinity War because the story Gamora tells about Thanos is different than it was in Guardians. Her story is that she’s the last of her kind in Guardians but in Infinity War they talk about how he killed half. So it’s pretty clear to me the end game for Thanos changed.

  72. Sternshein- It’s been a while since rewatched the first GUARDIANS movie, but I think that’s probably indicative of a streamlining to Gamora’s backstory than a change to the Thanos story. In the comics, Gamora *is* the last survivor of her race, but she’s also from the future, where Thanos rescued her from a crazy religious order that exterminates her planet. It’s way more complicated than as presented in the movies, and changing it to be more related to Thanos makes sense for that.

    I think the broad strokes of the story had to be in mind since at least THE AVENGERS, because the Infinity Gauntlet story (including The Snap) is *the* Thanos story. There’s really no other reason to introduce him there than to be building up to it.

  73. That’s cool, good info Kurgan.

  74. Slot me into the disappointed with the action camp. I was pleasantly surprised by how much Guardians 2 had better action than the first. (Btw I’d take either rockets woods hijinx or Yondu savagely murdering the whole crew with lots of Alonso over the highly overrated highway action scene in Winter soldier, a movie that rotates between downright frustrating action—see that ship shit with GSP—and really good action.This one didn’t impress me. It was better than captain marvel but not by a ton. But I more intuitively followed the shaky cam parts of cap 3 Civil War.

  75. Now can someone tell me if the “Captain America can use Thor’s hammer” has an actual explanation other than “I always knew he could” and “well Captain America was always gonna be the guy who would bring the stones back so we also needed him to be able to carry the hammer”?

  76. That’s funny, Toxic. That second part didn’t occur to me at all but you’re absolutely right. That must’ve been their solution to that story problem.

  77. Also, bringing back the soul stone and realizing that the guardian of the stone was his former worst enemy must have been pretty awkward.

  78. It was established in Age of Ultron that Cap could lift it but he pretended he couldn’t. I assumed it was because he was worthy.

  79. I always assumed he was too humble to realize he could lift it, so he gave up, which made him unworthy. Now he’s matured enough to accept his worthiness, so he can lift it no problem.

    The fact that Thor wasn’t jealous but just psyched for his friend was adorable. I love these movies, you guys.

  80. I read some theories that cap wasn’t worthy before because he lied about knowing that Bucky murdered stark and now that he is free of that guilt, he is fully worthy.

  81. CrustaceanLove

    May 5th, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    I think it’s the other way around. They had Thor retrieve Mjolnir from the past because they wanted to include the moment where Captain America wields it in battle with Thanos. It’s a key moment in the Infinity Gauntlet comics and they’d set the seeds for it back in AGE OF ULTRON. They couldn’t NOT include it. Anyway, unlike the Infinity Stones there’s no story reason they had to return Thor’s hammer to the past. It’s just the polite thing to do.

  82. Oh ok. I honestly couldn’t remember that it had been established, or at least hinted at, that he could do it. I’ll admit, to me even the most enjoyable Marvel movies are never memorable and I never feel like rewatching them. Was there also an explanation at some point that I missed/forgot before INFINITY WAR about Red Skull becoming the guardian of the stone?

  83. Major Endgame Spoilers in this new Trailer.

  84. It’s always strange to me when people say the Marvels are good but not rewatchable, when to me they are the most rewatchable movies of the modern era. I’ve probably seen INFINITY WAR more times than any other movie since my collection consisted of like 25 VHS cassettes. That’s an anomaly, but even the lesser entries are fast, funny, colorful, full of little details you miss the first time around because of the aforementioned reasons, and, perhaps uniquely in all of cinema, they each actually accrue more weight and meaning and nuance as they age and later entries add content and character depth. THOR 2, for instance, has long been considered a meh, potboiler of an MCU entry, yet revisiting it gave us that great scene with Thor and his mom in ENDGAME. I’m gonna be thinking about that the next time I watch DARK WORLD, and it’ll make me think about everything Thor is about to lose, and it’s going to add a whole new layer of tragedy to what was, free of context, a pretty lightweight affair (although I hold that the space-jumping climax is an underappreciated gem). I gain new perspectives on these movies all the time as more history and character development is added. That’s not something any other franchise can offer, and it’s why Marvel movies are my go-to movies to pop in when I don’t know what I want to watch. Unlike most most visual effect spectacle franchise tentpole multimedia marketing platforms, they actually get better after the hype has died down.

  85. It’s hard to explain. There’s a few of the Marvel movies that I thought were really uninteresting, but none of them that I truly hated, and a few that I really enjoyed, but rewatching even my favorite episodes would be like rewatching, well, any episode of a TV show with an ongoing story: it’s just not something I do or want to do. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was a fine episode of GAME OF THRONES, THOR RAGNAROK was a fine episode of MARVEL, but I have no intention of rewatching either.
    I’ve rewatched (and would rewatch) IRON MAN, because it still feels like it’s a standalone movie, but that’s about it.

  86. I learned to be mad at myself with these Marvel movies. I grew up a comics kid so I ‘SHOULD’ love these Marvel Studio movies but other than IRON MAN THREE, I just don’t. I used to take it out on them but I learned that I’m disappointed with myself both that I don’t love them as much as everyone else does (they generally make people happy and get along) and that I don’t like them as much as even I think I should. Even now with my new thing of watching them and going ‘that was fine’ and moving on, I feel like I’m not giving them their due.

    Or maybe I just don’t want to be associated with or accused of being one of those asshole DC fans or ‘REAL’ cinephiles who think every mainstream movie is a slap in the face to D.W. Griffth or something.

    Either way, I enjoy them but they don’t do it for me as they do for everyone else and it’s one of the few times where I do wonder if maybe I AM a contrarian and I don’t want that.

    Funnily I seem to be nicer than most others else to AGE OF ULTRON which I still see get shat upon. Other than that, I’m mostly with Toxic in his feelings except that I do think the first two THORs are legitimately horrible movies.

  87. The action in these movies is largely incomprehensible on purpose in order to protect rating.
    I thought everyone knew that.

    Evidently, you can have a hero snap a guy’s neck, but if it’s “Wow! Thor just totally snapped that guy’s neck” it’s a R. While “Wait, did Thor just snap that guy’s neck?” keeps you safely within PG-13…

  88. I have the same feelings as Toxic and geoffreyjar on these. I’ve never really disliked any of the Marvel movies (maybe Iron Man 2, but I wasn’t mad at it or anything), as they’re pretty much all at the same level of “that was fine” acceptability. I’ll keep watching them so I’ll be able to answer pub trivia questions in ten years, but I can count on them not being too interesting.

  89. (sorry, I hit ‘submit’ too quickly)

    Notice how the Marvel produced Netflix shows have clear. discernable, and comprehensive action scenes. It’s because those shows don’t have to care about rating.

  90. It’s not always because of the rating. You can get away with a PG-13 neckbreak for example, if you don’t make the cracking noise too loud (Seriously!) or leave it out completely. And the first CAPTAIN AMERICA, the one that wasn’t directed by the Russos, but by a Hollywood veteran and therefore had action that was clearly shot and edited, had a scene of a guy falling into a propeller (Not to mention all the other “war action” in this or Tony Stark’s killing spree when he escaped the cave in the first IRON MAN.)

  91. Toxic: Whereas I won’t bother watching more than three episodes of any TV show I can’t see myself rewatching. Rewatchability is important to me. Something you’ll only watch once is like a first date that goes nowhere. What’s the point?

  92. Mr M, coming from a country where no one goes on dates, I might not really get the analogy, but what about shows – and people – whom you need a little bit longer to get to know?

  93. I’ve rewatched Winter Soldier like three or four times and I’ve never had any problems following the action. It’s not like these are Paul Greengrass level impossible to tell what’s going on movies. Are the Russo’s perfect? No, obviously not but they are but they are not the scourge of cinema either.

  94. I’ve rewatched Winter Soldier like three or four times and I’ve never had any problems following the action. It’s not like these are Paul Greengrass level impossible to tell what’s going on movies. Are the Russo’s perfect? No, obviously not but they are but they are not the scourge of cinema either.

  95. Pegs: Three episodes is the length of an entire movie. If you can’t get me interested in your characters after that extravagant length of time, you never will.

  96. So a person has about 90 minutes to say something interesting on a date with you, or else it’s bye-bye? Spike was introduced after 12 episodes of Buffy…

  97. I don’t think it unreasonable to hold a potential romantic partner to that standard at all. I can say like 40 interesting and hilarious things in 90 minutes. You know why? Because I’m interesting and hilarious, and I enjoy the company of interesting and hilarious people. Why should I settle for some schlub who needs two hours just to come up with something clever to say? If I’m sitting there bored for an hour and a half while this dullard mulls over a conversation starter, fuck yeah there isn’t going to be a second date. We obviously are not a good match. The same could be said for any TV show after 90 minutes of unenjoyable airtime.

    Truthfully, i almost want to say people get 90 seconds to say something interesting or hilarious before I forget they exist, but that might be pushing it. I’d probably go a full three minutes before you become an NPC in the great game of life.

    Why yes, I don’t actually go out much. How did you guess?

    And it’s fine that it took 15 episodes for Spike to show up, because I liked the other characters. It’s not like I was just waiting around for Spike to appear. Why would anyone continue to watch a show if you don’t like any of the characters in the first 14 episodes, but then one interesting character shows up and you say “Okay, I’ll guess I’ll watch a hundred more.” I don’t think this is a valid example.

  98. There’s Majestyk being unnecessarily mean again. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that if a person does not feel comfortable conversing with me after 90 minutes of intimate conversation, then we clearly have no rapport. Rapport is arguably the most important thing in a relationship, so if we don’t have one—near instantly—we’re just not a good fit for each other. It doesn’t make that person a dullard anymore than me not engaging with it makes a TV show bad. But it does mean we should stop wasting each other’s time. We clearly don’t know how to talk to each other.

    Also, I’m a 41-year-old bachelor, and it’s not by accident. At this point I’d rather take a moderate beating than go on a first date. At least you have a chance to escape a beating with your dignity intact.

  99. Okay, it was stupid of me to bring up Buffy. Who doesn’t love every single character on that show? I had all intensions of going after the stupid dating systmem, but panicked. Knowing a thing or ten about what makes a relationship work, I must say that having a person perform some sort of time limited stand up act in front of you isn’t something I recommend. Sometimes you have to do a little digging to find gold. Sure, if you’re just after a one night stand the look and smell of the person might be enough. But if you put in the work you’ll more often than not be rewarded. From what you’re saying you’re either not interested in finding someone to last or you’re after another version of yourself. And believe me it will take a hell of a lot more than 90 minutes of witty banter to find that personality. I’ve been with my significant other for more than three times the whole duration of SEINFELD, and had I given up before Kramer even enters the scene, I would probably have been a lonely and miserable old man today.

  100. That’s just not my experience. Either I have a near-instant rapport with a person or I never will. That’s not to say I know everything I need to know about a person that fast. Rapport is not about CONTENT. It’s about having a complementary INTERFACE so that you and that person can communicate effectively and joyously, which leads to the sharing of personal information, which leads to trust, which leads to a strong personal bond. If I don’t have that interface with someone, I’m never going to get to know them better because I don’t enjoy talking with that person, so I won’t talk to that person.

    It’s like not reading a book if the first line isn’t a grabber. It’s not indicative of the story, but it is indicative of the style. If that style is not to my liking, it’s going to get in the way of my enjoyment of the story. So why bother reading this book if there are so many others out there that express their stories in a style I find more effective?

    The truth of the matter is, I find 99% of people dreadfully boring. They weren’t put on this earth to entertain me, so that’s not really their problem. They probably think I’m pretty boring, too. But when I was younger, I used to think there was something wrong with me, so I forced myself to socialize, to spend time with people whose company brought me no joy, because you’re supposed to be cool and popular and have a lot of friends. It wasn’t about getting to know them on a deeper level, it was about my own desperation. A few decades later, I realize what a waste of time that all was. I should have been focusing on myself and the few people I actually connected with. No ill will toward any of them, but I wish I could get back all those hours I wasted on people who weren’t a good match for me. I feel the same way about TV shows I watched despite not loving them immediately. Life is too short to waste it on giving obviously ill-fitting relationships multiple chances to disappoint you, so trust your instincts.

  101. But were your first dates with that person incredibly boring, or simply “not perfect”? It makes sense to keep dating a person you find interesting even if you didn’t think “I absolutely have to marry that person” on your very first date, but why would you dedicate 12 dates to trying to make things work with a person you thought was incredibly boring on your first date?

  102. Sorry, I didn’t see Majestyk’s message, I was responding to pegsman.

  103. I still wouldn’t rewatch THE SOPRANOS though.

  104. By the way, I’m glad you found your soulmate, pegs. However you went about it is great and I’m not downplaying your experience. That’s not really the journey I’m on, but it’s always nice to hear about it happening to someone else.

  105. The life and times of pegsman! We were pen pals for three months, so when I finally met her I didn’t know how she looked or if she could talk at all. But I knew she was the one. I agree that style is important. But a lot of introverts I know dress a hell of a lot more cool and interesting than the so called fun people. For instance if they have a Bukowski t shirt that indicates that they might share some of my views, but to get to that you might have to talk to them for a while. If we just followed our immediate hunches shy people and those with a stutter can just top themselves.

  106. Please don’t mistake my personal experience for some kind of universal prescription. I’m not saying everybody should be like me.I’m not even saying ANYBODY should be like me. I am a cranky, surly, impossible weirdo who would have been a monk in a previous era. If everybody was like me, the human race would die out in a generation. Hell, I can barely even tolerate being like me. But four decades of observation has led me to the irrefutable conclusion that I AM like me, I have always BEEN like me, and will always BE like me, so I should probably deal with the logistics of being like me instead of pretending I’m someone else.

    So I’m glad there are people out there well-suited to bringing the shy out of their shells, because that’s not me. I’m an introvert myself but I’m a performing introvert. Put me in front of a shy person and I just steamroller them. I can’t handle dead air, so it’s all rants and bits and standup routines. Put a quarter in me and that stuff just pours out, but it is, nonetheless, exhausting. I’d rather be around people who can give back to me the energy that I give them.

  107. Just like a TV series who really kicks off in episode 4!

  108. I would not blame anyone for giving up on me after Episode 3.

  109. We here on Vern’s sight can give you a good score on Rotten Tomatoes!

  110. What, and make me predisposed to hate myself?

  111. I feel like I’ve been stuck watching the Mr M show for longer than SVU has been around. Lol

  112. How do you think I feel?

  113. I get where Majestyk is coming from. For years people kept telling me I was being too picky or had unrealistic expectations about romance/relationships. I finally started to wonder if they had a point, so I decided to give a guy I had lukewarm feelings for a chance. We were together for nine months and I cared for him, but never more than that, so all it did was lead to me breaking his heart and feeling super shitty about it.

  114. THE SOPRANOS is a kick ass rewatch (though imo it’s fine to skip a few episodes here and there because there’s some filler and bad sideplots)

  115. The moral in my little story isn’t that people should settle for someone they don’t have a chemistry with. But most of the people I know who got together after a great physical attraction are no longer couples. Sure, you know very early if you like the walk and talk of a person, but it can take some time to find out if they like 70s action movies, Guinness Stout and Charles Bukowski poems. And common interests are the glue in any relationship. “Opposites attract” is bullshit.

  116. Yeah, I don’t think Paula Abdul stayed with that rapping cat very long.

  117. Nobody mentioned physical attraction once, pegsman. “Rapport” means “a friendly, harmonious relationship especially : a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.” Isn’t that important? Who cares if you both like German expressionism if neither of you know how to talk to the other about it? (Full disclosure: I tried the “common interests” thing by joining a horror fan group once. I did get some dates out of it but let’s just say that liking the same stuff isn’t the same thing as liking them the same way: I wanted to talk about the themes and filmmaking, she just wanted cosplay ideas. Not a good match.) I get what you’re saying, that some people take a while to come out of their shell. But I also think you can tell right away if you know how to communicate with someone. That doesn’t mean you’ll have anything in common to communicate about, but it’s a start, and you’d never find out otherwise. I’m not bothering with anyone–friend or romantic partner–that I don’t know how to communicate with. What’s the point?

    I’m probably the wrong person to talk to about this, though, since it’s a moot point. I gave up dating in all but the most select and low-impact forms when I moved out of New York. If I couldn’t find anyone I wanted to couple up with in the city, I certainly wasn’t gonna find her in the burbs. I loaded up that U-Haul with the understanding that the romantic portion of my life was over. I’m open to the idea of meet-cutes and other miracles, I suppose, but three years out here have proven me righter than I ever could have imagined. I’m not 100% certain I’ve met one (1) single woman of appropriate age in all my time here. I don’t think they exist. And the strange thing is, I barely even miss it. Dating and romance and whatever was just so much drama. I’m glad it’s over. It’ll be a long, slow descent into utter hermitdom from this point, but I’m hoping to get some interesting work done along the way with all my free time/lack of a civilizing influence sanding off my rough edges. I’m gonna be a WEIRD old man. I wouldn’t trade that for a never-ending series of dinner parties with the same people and weekend trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond. I know there’s got to be more to coupledom than that but for the life of me I just don’t see it.

  118. Also, I hope I didn’t come off condescending there by sharing that dictionary definition, pegs. As someone whose sense of self is inextricably linked to his writing skills, I am constantly awed by how well you bilingual cats express yourself in English, a language so Calvinball arbitrary that most native speakers couldn’t really tell you how it works. (It also makes me weep for the American educational system—we’re, at best, two entire generations from anything even approaching the level of bilingualism you guys enjoy.) I am an English tutor now, and I am constantly telling my students that there’s no shame in not knowing the literal definitions of even common words. It happens to everyone, even self-styled experts like myself, because we tend to interpret our own personal definitions of words from context, which can lead to incorrect assumptions. I recently learned that “prodigal” has nothing to do with coming home after a prolonged absence and actually means “wasteful.” So please know that I have nothing but admiration for you and all you other glorious outlanders who wield my language better than most of my countrymen.

  119. Thank you for the compliment. By «physical attraction» I don’t just mean the attractiveness of the face or body, but the whole cultural look. Most of my friends have always belonged to the political punk/rock scene, and being pretty just isn’t a big part of peoples package in the places we frequent. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here, I just didn’t wanna come across as some superficial player. Peace and love!

  120. But Pegsman, would you have remained pen pals if her first three letters didn’t engage you? I think it’s great that you had an intellectual way to connect before meeting. That’s probably impossible today in an age of apps and social media, but it still gives you a sense of, “This is worth pursuing.” The idea of “Well, nothing here yet but you never know, letter #4 could be magic” sounds like a road to disaster.

    Maggie, I’ve also been told I’m too picky. My standards are I would like to be with someone who is kind, likes movies and cats and wants to have kids one day. If that’s too high a bar, then I guess I’m not interested, but I know people have settled for far less.

    Maj, to your point, I once was matched with another film lover by a dating site. On our first date I told her about Franchise Fred and she went on a whole tear about how she hates sequels and if a sequel is bad she can’t erase it from her memory and it ruins the whole series for her. I don’t really care about dating someone who also likes sequels, but that she thought that was a good position to express to someone on a first date who just shared their love of sequels as a conversation starter told me this probably wasn’t a good match. Likewise I wouldn’t match well with someone who’s sarcastic and thinks mocking things is fun. I’m just never going to relate to that person because I like to celebrate things. I hope that person found someone to date. I’m sure she was perfectly lovely to someone who shared the same conversation style, or maybe I blew it by not having a second date.

    I’m 41 and it’s been 12 years since my divorce. I thought coming out of that would make me a better judge of character, or at least stop trying to be what somebody else wanted in the hopes that I would make them happy. Maybe I’m oversensitive to red flags because of it, but I can’t see denoting time and money to a relationship that doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. I guess looking back having a few second or third dates couldn’t have hurt because it’s been 12 years and here we are. I did, in that time, meat one who I thought was the one and she broke my heart. I probably haven’t fully recovered from that. Yeah, Franchise Fred just got real!

  121. My initial point was that one date (one day someone must explain to me what that’s about) isn’t enough to judge a person fairly. But since yesterday my wife has convinced me that there are no rules in these matters, and that we’ve probably just been very Lucky. So the Love Doctor withdraws his earlier statements – to some degree at least.

    Good point about the first three letters, Fred. But I sort of think that it proves that some of what I’ve been saying is true. You can have lovely hand writing and great punctuation, and still be boring. Or the other way around.

  122. I guess people can give up too quickly, just as people can stay in unhealthy situations waiting for something to change. Thanks, Pegs.

  123. Well, having caught up with the tail end of these comments, Mr Majestyk, you’re not me pulling some kind of Fight Club-esque comment posting schedule here is it? I’m finding the content uncannily eerily applicable here …

  124. I am Jack’s debilitating misanthropy.

  125. I know this because Mr. Majestyk knows this.

  126. So I just now saw Endgame, and over the last couple of weeks I’ve been avoiding this review and the discussion. But now that I’ve jumped right into this discussion, I have to ask, What the fuck just happened here?

    I always talk a big game about how low-level disappointing Marvel films are, but I’ve enjoyed nearly all of them, and a few are legitimately great. (First Avengers is woefully underrated, but I think people are starting to appreciate it more). And Endgame just really worked for me. It broke down my defenses. Of course, the fact that a lot of the film focuses on father-daughter relationships and I have a nearly two-year-old munchkin running around the house probably had something to do with that.

  127. Glad you liked it, Rbatty – “breaking down my defenses” is a great way to describe how I felt about it too – it’s so emotionally draining yet satisfying and I really can’t see anyone disliking this movie other than the aforementioned “Tony committed genocide”, “Black Widow got FRIDGED” and “ZOMG Captain American let 9/11 happen” arguments that I can understand but politely disagree with.

    I also liked the father-daughter relationships (the scene of Scott Lang reuniting with his daughter is better acted and more affecting than anything in either Ant-Man movie), but also liked the movie organically had room for Tony’s relationship with his dad and Thor’s relationship with his mom (I’m not sure if Rene Russo only got her scene because Anthony Hopkins seems to be the only person in the MCU who didn’t return, but either way it feels like a wonderful course correction and it was so good to see her retroactively fix a nothing role). Speaking of which – going through the list of 22 MCU movies, I just realized Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Dr. Strange are the only movies free of daddy issues. (Hope Van Dyne, Ghost, and Betty Ross’s daddy issues are a big part of the plots of Ant-Man 1/2 and The Incredible Hulk (also they purposely don’t dispel Ang Lee’s Hulk being canon, which is basically Daddy Issues: The Movie.) Also, Spider-Man has his surrogate dad issues with Tony). The fact that Marvel somehow made something as well-worn and tired as parental issues a through-line in all three phases without seeming repetitive is a pretty amazing achievement in itself. I just hope Phase Four and beyond can incorporate another underlying theme instead of trotting out Captain Marvel’s disappointed Mom or Dr. Strange’s hotshot surgeon Dad he can’t live up to.

  128. Maybe it’s manipulative, but they do a wonderful job of melding this big, goofy spectacle to very real, everyday feelings. That conversation with Thor and his mother could be any one of us who feels like we never met our potential (which is basically all of us). Iron Man meeting Iron Dad in the past resonates because he’s a new father trying to both live up to and surpass his own dad. They’re such quotidian themes and emotions plopped right in the middle of this big CGI blockbuster, but for me they absolutely worked.

  129. Finally saw this one!

    I was worried when it started because I was bored to tears but once the ‘time-heist’ storyline geared up I was digging it. I could nitpick stuff but that’s all it would be: nit-picking. This is a gigantic super-dorky movie that has silly stuff like a giant smart green strongman and talking raccoon but it’s totally normal in this universe and in the real-life the norms who gave me shit my whole life for enjoying this stuff are totally cool with that. That should be celebrated. Also this movie does the impossible and make me want to re-evaluate the horrible THOR: DARK WORLD. I’m not made of stone: I got misty eyed when Thor was talking to his mom and Iron Man hugging Spider-man. I mean I always enjoyed watching the characters but this may be the first one where I realized I really LIKE the characters.

    So this is a good episode/season-finale of Marvel. Except it makes me want to rewatch the others, a first for these.

  130. I finally saw this, and I got a little rant about spoiler culture I feel the need to deploy here. I didn’t stop using the internet, and had no idea about any of the stuff that was going to happen in the film beyond my own intuition about the fact that archetypes demand a few central characters meet their demise. What’s my secret? I didn’t read this review and talkback, I didn’t click on forum topics that were discussing the film, and if I glanced at a tweet and saw that it pertained to the Marvel franchise I just kept scrolling. I simply didn’t ACTIVELY seek out reviews and discussions of the fucking movie.

    The whole culture around spoilers has gotten ridiculous, hasn’t it?? I feel like people have a compulsion to participate in discussions about films they haven’t yet seen, and feel that they have the right to force everybody else to tiptoe around their misdirected sensitivity towards a topic that shouldn’t be as important as they’ve convinced themselves that it is.

    I dug the hell out of this film by the way. The oppressive melancholy portrayed after the 5 year jump is not something I believed the franchise capable of, and I’m overjoyed to be proven wrong.

  131. Confession: I will sometimes read spoiler/plot synopses of a movie before I see it because I find I am able to focus on the performances and editing and directing more when I already kind of know where the story is going. I also tend to remember movies better after the first viewing this way. I’m not saying my way is the right way to do things and I don’t do it for *everything* (I didn’t for ENDGAME or ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, for instance), but I am provisionally pro-spoiler in my own personal life.

  132. Yeah, I mean I think that speaks to the fact that in many cases knowing plot details before you go in is not going to deter the film from playing you like a fiddle. PAN’S LABYRINTH basically begins with a narrator telling you the ending of the film, right?

    On the other hand it’s definitely fun to go into some things completely fresh without a clue of their narrative elements and whenever Vern relates having that experience, I always follow his advice.

  133. I just don’t like how shitty people get treated over saying the littlest detail of a movie. I had one person threaten to kick another person’s ass over a spoiler and that’s some bullshit.

  134. My friend just wrote the best review of Endgame I’ve read yet, sorry Vern and others, maybe step it up next time?
    I am in tears over how perfect this is:

    “Just watched avengers end game
    Thought it was a good conclusion
    I teared up a few times
    Pretty good action too
    Only problem is I didn’t remember who any of the characters were or any of the back stories, since I don’t generally remember movies”

  135. Ha, that’s funny – my own mini-review I told people after I saw this was, “A Triumph of Contract Negotiations”. And after a rewatch this weekend, I’m still kinda boggled that they pulled this damn thing off and kept so many things secret. Like if you went back in time to the mid-90s and told Robert Redford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Wililam Hurt, Angela Bassett, Marisa Tomei, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Douglas “You guys are all going to be in the same movie one of these days. And it’s going to be the biggest movie of all time. And I know you’re all huge stars and Oscar winners/nominees, but you’re all going to be unadvertised bit parts and most of you will just stand there and not even have a line of dialogue but it doesn’t matter because your mere presence is going to make the audience smile”. Much like how people joke a whole other movie could be made about Captain’s adventures returning the stones at the end, I feel like a whole other movie could be made about Hollywood agents somehow convincing people to be in this movie.

  136. Teaser Trailer for Marvel’s BLACK WIDOW

    YouTube

    Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

  137. The Undefeated Gaul

    December 3rd, 2019 at 1:34 am

    Looks fun

  138. New BLACK WIDOW Trailer

    YouTube

    Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

  139. I’m not sure who is playing the main baddie but it’s totally a woman. So that should be cool.

  140. I don’t know what to think of it. It looks like a generic special effect action movie, but I don’t mind those. However I prefer my Marvel movies to be a bit more fantastical, which is also one of the reasons why I didn’t care much about WINTER SOLDIER.

    Also I still haven’t seen ENDGAME. I just can’t bring myself to do it, after the huge letdown that was INFINITY WAR.

  141. I think at this point we kind of know what we are getting with some of these Marvel movies.

    I’ll look at you Infinity War review to see if you should see Endgame.

  142. Nevermind, doesn’t look like you talk about it on letterboxd. Anyway, just watch Endgame. It’s definately better than Infinity War.

  143. The Undefeated Gaul

    January 14th, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Looks pretty cool to me, I’m getting excited for this one.

  144. No, I did write a review of INFINITY WAR. To my own surprise I wasn’t spoiled yet and have no idea if my predictions were true, so I guess I might check it out soon anyway.

    https://letterboxd.com/sammybronkowitz/film/avengers-infinity-war/

  145. Ah, just missed seeing it but I read it.

    1. I’m guessing cutting off his hand doesn’t resort into that one timeline that wins the day for the heroes. Left that up to my own imagionation lol

    2. I wouldn’t say it’s an unexpected ending but I felt Endgame had a completely satsifactory ending.

  146. Final Black Widow Trailer

    Marvel Studios' Black Widow | Final Trailer

    "At some point we all have to choose between what the world wants you to be and who you are.” Watch the new trailer for Marvel Studios’ #BlackWidow. In theat...

  147. I still have te feeling that this is gonna be one of the lower grocing Marvels. Not saying it’s gonna be their first flop, but is Black Widow really that much of a popular character?

  148. CJ – It’s on track to open at $90-$130 million which is sadly more than Birds of Prey made its entire box office run. I agree it reeks of “Ok, we made this movie so you guys will finally shut the fuck up, ok?”, but a) It looks alot like GI Joe: Rise of Cobra and I kinda love that movie, b) After Fighting with my Family and Midsommar, I’ll see anything Florence Pugh is in, and c) I like that it seems to be a movie about an actual dysfunctional family, not the tired “We’re not just friends, we’re FAMILY” trope that every action movie throws in these days.

    Also: I like that the trailer really stresses that they’re trying to save these brainwashed child soldiers, not just blow them up. Hopefully this will go better than Finn’s attempts to save his fellow child soldiers in Star Wars 9.

  149. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it will bomb. Marvel will most likely be at least for five more years unfailable at the box office, probably even longer. The question is if Black Widow is actually a character, that will put enough asses in seats to compete with the MCU superstars. I’m trying really hard to come up with anything that makes her stand out, but she kinda lacks the personality, interesting backstory or fun gimmick to make me care about her.

    Not saying that I won’t watch this deliciously generic-studio-action-movie looking MCU entry (although I still couldn’t bother with ENDGAME after my disappointment with INFINITY WAR) and of course if it will break every box office record, I won’t complain, but I don’t know. Out of the OG Avengers, she and Hawkeye always shared the questionable honor of being the least interesting, if you ask me. Of course I don’t speak for the masses.

  150. I think the problem is more that wanting to know what happens next in the continuing saga has been one of the driving forces of the MCU juggernaut. Even if you didn’t like the last one that much, you still might be curious to see where the next one goes. This one, by virtue of being a prequel for a character whose ending has already been written, doesn’t have that. It can’t really go anywhere. It’s a dead end. I think if the exact same movie came out before ENDGAME, everybody wouldn’t be so lukewarm on it.

  151. For those of you who care: I finally watched this one and to my own surprise liked it a lot! It’s fun, it moves fast, has some clever ideas (even the use of time travel to undo the sHoCkInG cliffhanger won me over, because of its well used fanservice and actually pretty fun ways to bring Loki and Gamorra back) and doesn’t look or feel like it was made by the Russos at all! I kinda feel bad for pushing that one off for so long, but…ugh…INFINITY WAR… (Yeah, I still hate that one. Sadly ENDGAME couldn’t retroactively improve it.)

  152. Marvel just revealed their lineup for the next 3 years. I suspect the new BLADE will be a Disney+ show.

    Marvel Studios Celebrates The Movies

    The world may change and evolve, but the one thing that will never change: we’re all part of one big family.► Watch Marvel on Disney+: https://bit.ly/2XyBSIW...

  153. What makes you think it will be a show? Just because they didn’t mention it in the trailer/propganda film?

  154. That’s what i suspect.

  155. Felix, also I suspect Blade didn’t show up because he’s part of Phase 5 and not 4, according to the article below. (Said article is also 2 years old, so shouldn’t be regarded as gospel)

    https://screenrant.com/marvel-blade-mcu-phase-5-movie/#:~:text=Marvel%20Studios%20boss%20Kevin%20Feige,Marvel%20Cinematic%20Universe%20Phase%205.

  156. As someone who bemoans the quality of Movie Trailers these days, gotta say the Phase 4 one hit some sweet spots, the result no doubt of a decade’s worth of meticulous world building and fan investment. Getting The Late, Great Man to narrate was also a stroke of marketing genius.

  157. Also, also, also…the glimmer of a “4” at the end. Dare I hope they’ll FINALLY get Marvel’s First Family right?

  158. As of today’s Hollywood Reporter story about the Ta-Nehasi Coates scripted SUPERMAN movie they’re still talking about BLADE as a movie. It says its start date has been pushed back from this September to next July to work on the script more. It also says that both SUPERMAN and BLADE are courting the same group of top Black directors, which it lists as Barry Jenkins (MOONLIGHT and IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK), Steven Caple Jr. (THE LAND and CREED II), J.D. Dillard (SLEIGHT and SWEETHEART), Regina King (ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI) and Shaka King (JESUS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH). Of those I think maybe Dillard might be best for BLADE, but I stand by my prediction that it’s Regina King’s to turn down.

    Honestly it’s hard to know who would be best for either of these, because it really depends if they’re into it or not. But I really, really hope that Barry Jenkins wants to do the Superman one because MAN would it be amazing to have a Superman movie with the look of his movies. I bet he would beperfect for it.

    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/black-superman-ta-nehisi-coates-warner-bros-movie-1234947599/

  159. I’m not really sure if directors of complex, searing human dramas are always going to be a good fit for superhero films. End of the day, you’re there for the Spectacle. You need a helmer with a proven record of tackling big budget action extravaganzas.

    For my money, Ryan Coogler, F Gary Gray and Antoine “I KICK ASS IN ANY GENRE” Fuqua!

  160. Not really though. Half the time most of that work is done by pre-viz, stunt teams and second unit. And don’t forget, before Coogler did his action stuff he was a small budget drama filmmaker.

  161. Which begs the question: Then what exactly are these directors bringing to the table? Apart from the sheen of critical acclaim from previous work? But you’ve indirectly made a point for me. With Kevin Feige on hand to ensure they don’t color outside the lines and the best technicians money can buy, is it any wonder 2 brothers whose previous credits include YOU, ME AND DUPREE and a bunch of TV episodes helmed 4 of the most beloved and successful installments in the MCU? This is a far cry from the early days where Favreau, Letterier, Branagh, Johnston and Whedon were all proven veterans and whose auteurial stamp shone through despite the Disney Rule Book being waved in their faces most likely on a daily basis.

    And Coogler didn’t go from FRUITVALE STATION to BLACK PANTHER. He cut his teeth on CREED, proving he can handle action dramas that are part of a beloved and popular franchise.

    Am not saying none of the names mentioned by Vern are qualified to direct a Superman feature, just that they’re dicey prospects to be handed the Keys to the Kingdom without strong oversight. Last I checked, the DCEU has no such Feige-ian Overlord.

  162. Two brothers with a string if tv credits are perfect, as Marvel movies are basically just tv shows. Showrunner tells them how to do it, they make a nice generically slick movie…keep the quips flying, here’s your dramatic breaks, and then fifteen minutes of fighting CG armies. Out of all of them I feel like James Gunn’s have the most personality. When Edgar Wright was let go you knew authorship was done except for the Marvel brand. It will be interesting to see how much we can tell Sam Raimi directs the new Strange movie, although Raimi’s been going down the tentpole generic rabbithole for awhile anyway.

    What are they bringing to the table? Dunno…probably some things, most likely more in the drama department than anything. But if you’ve even seen previz it’s all done, they come up with the shots for the director with the angles and everything, and then they get approved. It’s not like they’re usually out there choreographing the fights…that’s why 87Eleven has a pretty easily picked out house style, they do most of the work. Although the Russo Brothers did some awesome Community episodes that were shot just like action movies.

    Yeah Coogler went from Fruitvale to Creed but I doubt it mattered much. The action in Creed looks different than the average Rocky movie, you can see his ideas…Black Panther’s action looked like every other Marvel movie, right down to the bad CG doubles doing flips for minutes on end.

    But Patty Jenkins’ last movie was like 15 years ago, and that was the drama Monster which was her biggest one…then some tv and right into Wonder Woman and she did a good job. I do think she’s pretty involved in crafting some of the action.

  163. And again I have to say that Marvel gives their directors WAY more freedom than they get credit for. This isn’t James Bond, where every movie is basically ghost directed by the Broccolis. As James Gunn said just yesterday again on Twitter, he had pretty much carte blanche for GOTG, as long as he mentioned the Infinity Stones and put Thanos in it. (And I guess keeps it PG-13.)

    So I would say what they bring to the table is personality. They could’ve gone the easy way and hire Louis Leterrier over and over, but I would say their gamble of hiring interesting autheurs paid off most of the time. As much crap as the MCU gets for being PG-13 four quadrant crowdpleasers, none of their directors tried to just copy what the others did. And as the story goes, even the Russo Brothers weren’t hired until they came in and successfully pitched them their idea for the further adventures of Captain America. Every other studio would’ve just said “Hey, you are TV guys, you are cheap and know how to shoot fast and on budget. You got the job. Here is the script, don’t change anything.”

  164. Gunn’s a writer/director and I think they may get more leeway, but also GOTG was a long time ago in Marvel terms. Directors have also said the opposite, such as Edgar Wright and you have Whedon and Favreau famously quit due to meddling.

    It’s kind of like when the MI series started, DePalma does the first one and he’s doing shit NO ONE would do in a huge blockbuster movie. Then Woo got in there and went nuts. Then Abrams brought his generic tv close up style, and after that they’ve seemed fairly interchangeable to me, with 4 having some fun animated style moments due to Bird.

  165. I think the idea is to set it up so the directors supposedly can’t fail, they already have teams who know how to do fights and special effects, so they can bring in directors with little or no experience in that and have a safety net for them. But it seems undeniable that directors get at least some amount of leeway to do things their way. Coogler, Gunn, Waititi and even Wright’s replacement Peyton Reed clearly put their stamp on their movies.

    For the action, my understanding is that the fight team works with the director to plan the pre-viz, then goes and shoots it. So the directors can choose how hands on to be. I suspect the Russos have a hand in their action, since their movies all have the same weaknesses despite working with some of the best action people in the business. And if you look up Coogler’s Anatomy of a Scene video for the night club fight in BLACK PANTHER it seems to have been his baby. I also have talked to a guy who works in digital FX for all the Marvel movies and he said that Coogler gave them much more direction than others and was really smart about it. He told a story about how some of them were debating how a gun shot wound should look and Coogler asked which of them had seen someone get shot before. Only he had, so he won the argument.

  166. Well, after part 4, all M:I movies were written and directed by the same guy, so there is that.

    And let’s be honest, Edgar Wright started writing ANT MAN before the MCU was even a thing. I guess he wanted to do a stand-alone movie in its own universe, which simply wasn’t possible anymore when he was finished, so you can’t blame the Marvel people if their writer takes too long.

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everybody who joins the MCU is able to do whatever they want without any guidelines and rules to abide. I guess if one of their award winning arthouse filmmakers would suddenly say “I wanna make a Squirrel Girl movie, but it’s gonna be NC-17, takes place in one room and people only talk about Squirrel Girl while dealing with sexual harrasment and drug abuse in the most graphic and unflinching ways” they will show them the door.

    But you have New Zealandic indie director Taika Waititi coming in and say “I wanna turn THOR into a pure comedy”, Ryan Coogler making the blackest, most afrocentric who-gives-a-shit-if-the-honkies-like-it tentpole movie ever, the Russo Brothers basically coming up with most of the concept for the conclusion of the whole first 10 years of the MCU, with a made-for-streaming coda that spends almost all its runtime parodying classic sitcoms and still say “Oh no, these movies are made by hacks for hire who were only allowed to point the camera where Feige told them”? Come on.

  167. And I mean, let’s be honest, having someone who gives the directors a bunch of rules and guidelines isn’t always the worst thing. We just saw in STAR WARS what can happen, if everybody is allowed to do whatever they want without a clear plan for the story.

  168. CJ, your interesting points are marred only by this spectacularly flippant remark: “This isn’t James Bond, where every movie is basically ghost directed by the Broccolis.” which is a disrespectful roundhouse kick to the heads of Terrence Young, Lewis Gilbert, Guy Hamilton, John Glen right up to Martin Campbell and Sam Mendes. All of whom brought their own vision to Bond Admittedly, World’s Most Famous and Horny Secret Agent With Gadgets is a pretty easy template to nail, but to say it was down to the the Broccolis giving directions on set is misguided. There have been clunkers and directors who fumbled the ball (Lee Tamahori, that Idiot who did QUANTUM OF SOLACE etc) but the ratio of talented helmers who left their mark to hacks who didn’t is pretty good for the Bond series.

  169. Vern I do think you’re right that surely Coogler was really instumental in the action stuff…he was in Creed with the boxing scenes. I’m sure it varies.

    But CJ, eh…I mean yeah of course the directors aren’t chained to a desk, they do get to bring something to the table. But you acting like Thor 3 and Black Panther are really breaking any molds is also kind of weird. BP was Marvel with a black cast…beyond that what exactly was so different? And Thor being a comedy? Oh so more room for quips, we know Marvel really hates that.

  170. Come on, man. Despite being pretty light hearted in general, THO3 was their first downright dominantly comedic movie, which is even more interesting, considering how the previous Thor movie tried to stir that part of the MCU deeply into dark and dramatic Shakespearean epic. Every other movie used humor, but was the one that actually fired an almost nonstop calvacade of gags at the audience. Even the GOTG movies are way less comedic (in fact, they are pretty dark and sad) than this one and ANT-MAN didn’t crank its jokeyness to 11 until part 2..

    And come on, man. It’s not like BLACK PANTHER was just IRON MAN with a black actor. I can imagine every other studio giving the director notes to add more screen time to Martin Freeman or add a few more white characters in general, tone down the africanism (“Does the one man need that plate in his lip? It might alienate white audiences and scare children.”), maybe remove the scene where Freeman is jokingly called “Colonizer” and in general do something that is more “urban” than “Africa”, to not risk any box office drop because of a lack of “white appeal”. Yeah, I have problems with the script too, but if the whole thing looks like “film making by comitee” to you, they might have the proudest black commitee in the world!

    And KayKay, sorry, but it’s really no secret that the 007 movies don’t have any room for creative expression. Sure, sometimes it looks like the director were given more freedom, like when CASINO ROYALE tried to jump on the “realistic” BOURNE post-9/11 action bandwagon or Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins were able to sneak a few breathtaking shots in, but with all due respect to the capable journeymen who directed every single of these and especially the old school ones, they are a prime example of “Here is the script, don’t change anything, signed, the producers”.

  171. If Shang-Shi came out and had martial arts fights like a PG-13 The Raid I might buy someone’s breaking the mold, but it’s going to mostly be decent kung at best, with tons of effects. Someone deliver a Marvel movie without constant jokes and I’d be more surprised.

    Right now if anyone’s going to really experiment with Marvel it will be in the tv shows. Wandavision was not like the movies (until the end).

  172. CJ just saw your newest comment…eh, I really don’t feel like Thor 3 was all that different. Yeah maybe from Thor 2 but I don’t really see that huge stretch.

    As for BP, you’re more mentioning a few things like all the black people and some lines and such…which is all great! Maybe another studio WOULD have said to give Freeman’s character more time, but in this day and age, it was the time for that movie. That said, beyond those items, what is substantially different? The quips? The CG fights? The regular fights which are fine but basically Marvel Standard? The cinematography? The villain with understandable motives (this one is maybe one of their more interesting but they’ve been there before). I mean it’s a regular Marvel movie with black characters…which is actually pretty nice to see. But in the end, a typical Marvel movie.

  173. I side with CJ on the “THOR 3 is way different” debate. The other two THORs did have comedy, but Hemsworth was mostly very straight muscle guy. Waititi saw how funny he was in GHOSTBUSTERS and used an entirely different side of him. But also, and I think more importantly, the whole look and world of it is drastically different. The fantasy world of part 1 was shitty half-assed green screen crap that was impossible to be very invested in. Part 3 has a world full of eye-popping colors, extravagant Jack Kirby inspired designs and various weirdos in costumes way more comic booky than any Marvel movie that preceded it. You just want to hang out there. I know I’m not the only one who thinks the first two THORs are bottom tier Marvel and RAGNAROK is one of the best. A complete reinvention.

    But yeah, I think we all are of the same understanding that the directors do have some say and also that these movies are not the pure undiluted vision of any one of them. So, sorry to continue an argument that’s not really that much of a disagreement.

  174. When you’re a Marvel director, it’s like when a band records with a second guitarist or a keyboard player or a horn section for a particular album. Your input influences the sound of the album and maybe they even let you write a couple parts but you’re not, like, in the band. You’re a session player. Maybe, just maybe, if you have particularly good chemistry with the rest of the band, you might become an honorary member, like the Russos. But you still ain’t James Brown. You’re Maceo, at best. If you want to be James, you gotta go out and start your own band. Which is why I don’t get these complaints that the Marvel directors can’t fully go buck wild with their own style. If they wanted to do that, they probably should have tried to put together their own original project in and not taken an assignment from one of the biggest corporations in the world to adapt a decades-old character that dozens of other creators have worked on and modified. This ain’t really the job for you if you’re not pretty fucking great at collaborating. Luckily, I don’t hear any of them complaining so I’m guessing this whole debate is kind of a non-problem.

    I will say that it’s a mystery to me how anyone can think that a series of movies all about the same white guy doing the same white guy shit for 50 movies (sometimes with a jet pack, usually without) is somehow less homogeneous than a series that released WINTER SOLDIER and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY back to back.

  175. Vern I do agree Thor 3 is quite different than the first two…but my general thing is it’s not that far from all the other Marvels. And those early Thors were kind of before they solidified what I think is now their formula…you won’t see a Dark World out of Marvel again (probably for the best!).

    Mr M, it’s not really a complaint, it’s an observation which people never seem to like. And it’s why I personally find them okay but stopped watching them awhile back. Sorry someone’s talking about your funnybook movies critically.

    Basically, no one will ever pull a Dark Knight from Marvel. Which is fine, that’s what DC is for.

  176. “Same white guy doing the same white guy shit for 50 movies”

    Hehehehe…Maj, you crack me up. if I hated the Marvel movies with the same passion you do Bond, I’d likewise apply some of your condescending snark to it and come up with something like

    Marvel: 10 years of enhanced people battling an interchangeable array of CGI armies while quipping like Jim Carrey on steroids.

    Thankfully, I don’t really hate the MCU. I find them merely…adequate. A triumph of Project Management more than Cinematic Excellence. I have exactly 8 Marvel Blu-Rays, the only 8 I care to re-watch (until something in Phase 4 blows my socks off); the 1st IRON MAN, all 3 CAPTAIN AMERICAs, the 1st GUARDIANS and the 1st,3rd and 4th AVENGERS. That’s a 3rd of the MCU output. The rest range from stuff I may catch parts of if it happens to be playing when someone else is watching it to those I’m happy not to ever re-visit (the 2nd IRON MAN, 2nd THOR, 2nd ANT-MAN and CAPTAIN MARVEL)

    Bond, on the other hand, is spliced into my Movie DNA, thanks to my dad taking me to every Moore film and me returning the favor years later during the Craig era. Not that a Horny Teenager needed too much incentive to get hooked onto a series where a charming but tough guy travels to exotic locations, handles cool gadgets and beds an assembly line of gorgeous women. Which incidentally, for many years, was also the Gold Standard for stellar action set pieces.

    I own every single one on blu-ray (including the non-canonical Connery one), revisit many of them every year, and it’s an equal head-scratcher to me how a 50 year franchise that gave you GOLDFINGER, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, THUNDERBALL, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, SPY WHO LOVED ME, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, LICENCE TO KILL, GOLDENEYE, CASINO ROYALE and SKYFALL and who’s influence can be seen in more movies than can be listed here gets charged with “ghost direction” and “homogeneity”.

  177. I do feel like if one wants to argue Bonds are pretty similar I wouldn’t argue that either. Sure they are, they’re based on a formula. But a good argument can be made that there’s a wider gulf between From Russia With Love and, say, Moonraker than any two Marvels. Of course unfairly, Russia was made before Goldfinger which pretty much solidified the formula and after that they’ve been pretty similar in a lot of ways. Still, what’s interesting to me is with Bond it more changes tones within an era, depending on who’s playing the character…then those movies are pretty similar, and then the next guy comes in and that sets the new tone. I could sort of take or leave Bond too…as a whole. I don’t feel like I HAVE to see them. But there’s a number of great ones to be sure. And the newer ones are quite interesting. Skyfall’s ending was pretty interesting…just a really small scale shootout where Bond doesn’t have a bunch of gadgets, just a nice British double barrel.

  178. Re BLACK PANTHER, I’ve made my peace with it. I’ve even stopped getting annoyed by the “First Black Superhero Movie” comments by people in whose reality, BLADE never existed. Take away the African settings and it’s a pretty average MCU entry. T’Challa was cooler and more bad-ass in CIVIL WAR and there’s a definite lack of imagination in a script that stages 2 virtually identical fight scenes in the exact same location and has 3 hallucinatory scenes of sons conversing with their dead fathers. Serkis, Jordan and the actress who plays Shuri steal the show and there’s one cool fight in the casino. That’s about it.

    But it speaks to a demographic which feels they are finally represented adequately in a gigantic mainstream franchise, and I gotta respect that

  179. You know what though, while Blade was indeed first…it didn’t quite bother me because Blade never quite felt like a superhero movie to me. Like how The Crow is a comic book movie but not a superhero movie. Sure Blade saves the world, but he doesn’t have a lot of the usual superhero stuff…no mask, secret identity (although Marvel has done away with that aspect). It’s small scale. Unlike Marvel movies which are comic book stuff, Blade feels more like a real ACTION movie, closer to a Donnie Yen fight flick than Batman. Kind of like now Black Widow’s getting her solo movie. Is she a SUPERHERO? I guess…technically, maybe? But then is James Bond one?

  180. Also, Spawn was before Blade. It’s just no one cares cause it sucked so hard.

  181. The closest analogy I can think of for how the MCU “feels” is akin to an anthology show like THE TWILIGHT ZONE; they have different characters, plots, tones, and if you were feeling generous or working PR you could say they straddle different genres, but they all feel a piece and true stylistic variation is rare. Is this a good thing? I’d prefer something I find less homogenous as the dominant force of our culture for the past forever and the foreseeable eternity, but it’s hard to say it hasn’t worked.

  182. Hey, I’m the first to admit that scriptwise BLACK PANTHER is one of the mid-to-low tier MCU entries, but underneath the surface (well, technically above the surface) it’s quite innovative. The concept of Wakanda as some kind of black utopia came from the comics, but it was Coogler who basically got the job by pitching his idea of afro-futurism, which is I think is another good example of “Marvel giving their directors way more creative freedom than most franchises”.

    RE James Bond: I’m not going to take anything away from their status as being the benchmark for secret agent, action and adventure movies for several decades. I haven’t seen all of them in full, but I can’t think of any movie from that series that wasn’t at least really well made. But let’s be honest, it’s not exactly a playground for autheurs putting their own spin on it. The Broccolis always had the final cut from the script stage on. When they hired Danny Boyle, my first thought was “Oh, he’s gonna leave soon over creative differences” and that’s exactly what happened, then they hired a TV director. Both Spielberg and Christopher Nolan keep talking about how much they would love to direct a new 007 adventure and don’t you think the producers would LOVE to hire someone like them? But they are still looking for people who are are more willing to take people who are more journeymen or at least willing to play the role of one.

  183. If we’re talking about the series as a 60 year whole I think a lot of that is generational. Terrance Young, Lewis Gilbert, Peter Young and even Martin Campbell will have very different ideas of what being a “good director” or even “putting their own spin on it” is from Taika Waititi and James Gunn and others who have grown up in a post-auteur theory world admiring genre directors like Carpenter etc. You can even see some division in the former’s approach over later Bond directors like Marc Foster and (as much as people didn’t like what he did) Lee Tamahori.

  184. I don’t HATE James Bond. Sure, he’s a textbook scumbag misogynist who probably did more for toxic masculinity than any fictional character in history, and yeah, all of his movies are 20 minutes too long and are 100% the template for all wack, bloodless PG-13 action going forward, and now that you mention it, there is that whole imperialist running dog thing, and fine, it is certainly true that he basically only exists as a vehicle for product placement, and okay, it’s not all that cool that the role of this smug, one-dimensional fuckboi in a suit gets treated like fucking Hamlet only with less diversity, but other than that, you know, like…LICENSE TO KILL is pretty dope, I guess?

    I mean, just because I’d trade every Bond movie ever made for Marvel’s worst movie (INCREDIBLE HULK obviously) doesn’t mean I hate the guy. I’ll still read his books every now and then. He’s a lot more tolerable when you don’t have to actually see how cool he thinks he’s being when he gets all high and mighty about ordering his martini wrong.

  185. Pacman that’s pretty much the perfect analogy of Marvel movies.

    And CJ…I mean, I hate seeming like I’m slagging on BP but I do think the praise for it is over the top. Having a futrist city is innovate, in a series where they already have had multiple giant flying ships, robots, shrinking tech, etc? I mean it’s nice, but not seeing it as some visionary thing in of itself. Kind of like if you see someone doing a Blade Runner type of city in a movie now, I love it. it’s cool, I’ll watch ALL of them…but it’s not innovate. They’ve been doing it for 30 years.

  186. You say “Oh, just another futuristic city”, I say “Holy shit, a futuristic city that is populated by people who we normally only see as cannibals in old fashioned adventure movies!”

    Seriously, if that quick shot of the group of friends, walking through the streets of Wakanda while dressed like modern day kids, but one of them has a plate in his lip, doesn’t make you go “Woah, I’ve never seen that before!”, I don’t know what will. This movie’s Wakanda is “The land that time forgot, only that the citizens don’t give a shit what time says.” It’s such a simple concept, but instantly done to perfection on its first try, without any ironic “Hey, isn’t it funny that they still use spears, BUT THEY SHOOT LASERS!”, because when the spears turn out to be Science Fiction weapons, it’s awesome!

  187. I mean what they did in the movie was great, but I think it gets a lot more credit for what it really did by simply substituting what might normally be white people with black ones. So it was nice to see cause it’s not like black people have had that opportunity before, but I’m also not going to act like it’s some visionary thing either.

    To me it’s kind of the opposite of guys going nuts when women or black people show up in video games because it’s supposedly ruining them. I don’t think that’s true either. People take their politics and slather it over everything and boy does it get tedious.

  188. I’m with Muh on BP. I love everything it is but I’m not nuts about how it is, if you catch my drift. The ideas are there but execution is lacking. I’ve tried watching it again and still find the story sluggish and meandering and all the spectacle unconvincing. But as I’ve said before, I am in a position of privilege in which I’ve seen innumerable giant fantasy sci-if epics starring entire casts of characters who look like me, so I am not going to discount the effect BP had on so many people who had that experience for the first time. I gotta go with Brie Larson on this one, in that even I don’t think the opinion of a white male like myself really matters in this particular case. It did the job it needed to for the viewers it needed to do it for. My feeling that the CGI was a little rubbery, the plot development sloppy, and the climax underwhelming is immaterial.

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