Movie Review: Avengers Endgame

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This is a SPOILER FREE review.

After waiting a year, to see what happened in the aftermath of the snap in Avengers Infinity War, I joined a record number of people this weekend, to see Avengers Endgame.

My sister Linda joined me. We arrived at the theater an hour before showtime, and good thing we did. The line of eager Avenger fans stretched around the interior of the lobby, by the time the doors to our theater room opened. We watched this epic film with a lively and responsive crowd.

Highly anticipated, Avengers Endgame broke box office records this weekend. I understand that. This movie, number 22 in the series, is the conclusion to a story that began with Iron Man in 2008.

Captivated by Iron Man 11 years ago, and then the rest of the movies in the Marvel Universe, I’ve followed this story as it’s unfolded, film by film. How exciting to be present for the endgame.

The studio kept the storyline a closely guarded secret, so that movie goers could experience the film without preformed opinions. I appreciated that. To honor their intention, this review reveals very little about the plot and certainly nothing about the ending.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Avengers Endgame Cast and Crew

This sci-fi, adventure film has a large ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson and Karen Gillan. Josh Brolin, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel provide voice work.

There are many other actors involved in the movie and poignant cameos. For a full list, go HERE.

Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo returned to direct. Avengers Endgame carries a PG-13 rating, for mild language, moderate violence and sequences of intense action, and has a run time of 3 hours and 1 minute. Realistically, by the time you watch the previews and stay through the end credits, you’ve invested more like 3 hours and 30 minutes in this film.

As the start time grew closer, there was an exodus to the nearby restrooms. No one wanted to leave during the movie!

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Life After the Snap

Endgame begins 22 days after the highly emotional ending portrayed in Infinity War. Using the Infinity Stones set within the gauntlet, Thanos (voiced by Brolin) snapped his fingers and half of the population, across the universe, dissolved away. Family and friends were separated in the snap. More than half of the Avengers disappeared too.

After the snap, the remaining heroes gather together:  Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson), Rocket the Raccoon (voiced by Cooper) and War Machine (Cheadle). Iron Man (Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Gillan) are rescued by Captain Marvel (Larson), after being stranded in space, and returned to Earth.

From various locations throughout the galaxy, the stragglers appear: Thor (Hemsworth), Hulk ( Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Renner) and Ant-Man (Rudd). It’s a somber group that gathers. The world has changed. The universe has changed. A sense of failure hangs over each Avenger. However, determination fuels their plans.

Black Widow, who also goes by the name Natasha, states the Avengers’ intention well.

“Even if there’s a small chance, we owe this to everybody who’s not in this room.”

This group, united by purpose and ingenuity and various abilities, goes all in to undo what Thanos has done and bring back those they have lost.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

My Reactions to Avengers Endgame

This movie did not disappoint.

I avoided reading anything about the film or storyline, prior to watching the movie, and you should too. Additionally, it feels right not to share any more about the plot, than what I have. This is a movie that needs to be experienced, on the big screen in a darkened theater. There the real world slips away and the story unfolds scene by scene.

As one who has watched the films leading to this conclusion, I felt all the powerful emotions that accompany an ending. It’s a grand finale though, and thoroughly satisfying.

I loved being part of the crowd that watched with me. People cheered and laughed and clapped. They cried as well, for all their own reasons. At the end we all applauded again, together, and then sat quietly through the credits.

Marvel is well known for including additional scenes during the end credits, typically at the midway point and then at the very end. Not so for Avengers Endgame. However, for the ardent fan there is reason enough to stay. I enjoyed the mid credit extras, and I’m still thinking about the audio clip at the very end.

I found it a fitting final moment.

The Endgame

Well done, all those involved in this monumental story. I’ve learned about courage, sacrifice, acceptance, love and being exactly who I am meant to be.

And so ends Phase III in the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Phase IV. Every ending signals a new beginning.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

If you need a refresher before watching Avengers Endgame, you can rent Avengers Infinity War.

 

 

 

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Movie Review: Avengers Infinity War

I just got home from an evening showing of a movie I have highly anticipated. Avengers: Infinity War released last Friday and it’s smashing records already. I’ve carefully avoided reading anything about the movie before viewing it, so I had no expectations. This is a spoiler free review, however, if you have not yet seen the film, be warned that the basic story line is shared in this post, without revealing the ending.

My sister Linda joined me for this movie night, as she has for most of the Marvel Universe films, 18 in total, that have paved the road to Infinity War.

Movie Review Avengers Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War has a huge cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Markie, Sebastian Stan, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Chris Pratt, Gwenyth Paltrow, Josh Brolin, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper. This sci-fi adventure film, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, carries a PG-13 rating, for intense sequences of action and violence, language and some crude remarks, and has a run time of 2 hours and 29 minutes.

The Avengers films bring together the majority of the heroes, who have been introduced in previous movies, so that together they can defeat a villain whose intentions and/or actions will have catastrophic consequences for the universe.

In Infinity War, there is just such a villain. Thanos (voiced by Brolin), sees himself as the only being who can bring harmony to the thousands of inhabited planets scattered across the universe. His plan is ruthless. Kill half of the population on each planet. He believes doing so will relieve overpopulation, famine, poverty and all the woes that plague those worlds, allowing the survivors to have better lives.

Movie Review Avengers Infinity War

To carry out his cold hearted plan, Thanos must collect the Infinity Stones that have been scattered across the universe. As the film opens, he has two. He is searching for the other three.

The Avengers become aware of Thanos’ quest, one by one. Many have already dealt with Thanos previously or at least know who he is. From their scattered locations, the Avengers begin to come together, not as one large group, but in smaller groups, determined to end this threat before Thanos ends life.

Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.), Dr. Strange (Cumberbatch), and Spider Man (Holland) eventually team up with half of the Guardian of the Galaxy group…Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Pratt), Mantis (Klememtieff), Drax (Bautista). They go after Thanos, who has kidnapped his adopted daughter, Gamora (Saldana), who is also Star-Lord’s girlfriend.

Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk (Ruffalo) joins Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson), Wanda (Olsen), Falcon (Markie) and War Machine (Cheadle) as they protect Vision (Bettany), who has one of the Infinity Stones in his forehead.

This group travels to Wakanda for help, joining Black Panther (Boseman) and Bucky/Winter Soldier (Stan). The people of Wakanda take up arms with them when the battle comes to them there.

And Thor (Hemsworth) travels with the remaining Guardian members, Rocket the Raccoon (voiced by Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Diesel). Loki (Hiddleston), Thor’s brother, is present at the beginning of the movie when Thanos begins his onslaught.

Movie Review Avengers Infinity War

Thanos has power wielding beings helping him to search for the stones. The Avenger groups must battle through these nearly invincible foes before the ultimate showdown with Thanos. Every super power they have, every bit of knowledge and wisdom, every clever gadget and powerful weapon must be used, to save trillions of lives.

WOW was the first word out of my mouth at the conclusion of this long movie. Avengers: Infinity War did not disappoint. Full of action that was incredibly intense, the humorous moments interspersed throughout the film were much needed to allow the audience to catch their breath. I cheered each time a familiar character joined the teams. And it was great to see Pepper Potts (Paltrow), Tony Stark’s fiancé, return in this film.

What I love most about the Marvel Universe films is the camaraderie between the different characters. They each have different powers, different gifts, different background stories. But when Earth, or the universe, is in danger, they rally together, champions defending human kind and non-human kind alike.

Avengers: Infinity War is the type of movie that is best experienced on the big screen, with a responsive audience. After the clip tucked in beyond the credits, we can all blink together, sigh, or turn to each other and say what??!!

Linda and I talked about the movie all the way home. We will be thinking about this latest Avengers film for days. I can’t wait to see it again.

Movie Review Avengers Infinity War

Journey 137: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers poster

I was thrilled to see this movie this evening with my sister Linda. It’s been a while since I’ve sat in a darkened theater and lost myself in a larger than life story, full of heroes and villains, adventure and angst. Marvel movies always deliver. I’ve been a Marvel and DC comic fan all my life. For this amazing series of movies, I’ve faithfully followed each of the individual character stories…Iron Man, Captain America, Thor…and thoroughly enjoyed the first Avengers film.

Avengers: Age of Ultron has a huge all star cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and the distinctive voice of James Spader. Directed by Joss Whedon, this action/adventure/sci-fi is rated PG-13, for action, violence and destruction, and some suggestive comments. The film has a run time of 2 hours and 21 minutes.

Taking place after Captain America: Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron finds the heroes together in the Eastern Europe country of Sokovia, raiding a Hydra Outpost. Experiments on humans have been carried out there, using the scepter previously wielded by Loki, Thor’s (Hemsworth) brother. The Avengers encounter a set of twins with special gifts. Pietro (Taylor-Johnson) has superhuman speed and his sister, Wanda (Olsen), can manipulate minds and matter.

Escaping with the scepter, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.) and Dr. Banner/Hulk (Ruffalo) discover an artificial intelligence within it, encapsulated within a gem stone. With the desire to see peace around the world, the pair seeks to complete Stark’s creation, the Ultron Global Defense Program. It appears their efforts are unsuccessful and they leave to gather with friends and colleagues for a party. The artificial intelligence becomes sentient, twisting the directive to bring peace to the planet. Ultron (voiced by Spader) sees his mission as one of bringing peace by eradicating human life from earth. His first objective: eliminate the Avengers.

Fleeing with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources at the Sokovia lab to upgrade his metal body and build an army of robots. He enlists the help of the twins, who blame Stark for their parents’ deaths. The Avengers pursue Ultron but Wanda confuses their minds by implanting deams, and Hulk goes on a rampage. Forced to retreat to recover, the group hides out at the remote house of Hawkeye (Renner). Each member of the team seems focused inwardly, still sorting through the visions that they had, with the exception of Natasha/Black Widow (Johansson) and Dr. Banner, who suddenly seem to have noticed each other. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Evans) and Stark bicker about what needs to be done and whose fault it is that Ultron exists.

Avengers Ultron

Nick Fury (Jackson), from SHEILD shows up, urging the Avengers to unite and stop Ultron. In Seoul, Ultron is creating a new body for himself, using the scepter’s gem and synthesized tissue. Before the download of his mind is completed, Wanda senses Ultron’s intentions for destroying humanity and she and her brother turn on Ultron. The Avengers capture the synthetic body and Stark downloads JARVIS into the body, creating an entity called Vision (Bettany, who also voices JARVIS). Thor helps to activate Vision, explaining that the gem on the being’s brow is an Infinity Stone, one of the most powerful objects in the universe.

The battle for humanity ensues, the Avengers joined by Pietro and Wanda and Vision, while Ultron fights with his army of drones. The battlefield is Sokovia. The outcome determines the fate of the earth.

This was, as I anticipated, a very fun, high energy, action packed movie. The heroes were, indeed, all larger than life, with special abilities, big personalities and sometimes, big egos to match. There was intrigue and human drama, interspersed with humor, thwarted desire and overall, the intention to serve and protect mankind.  I think what I love most about the Avengers films is that these individuals, with their own sets of quirks and gifts, struggle most of the time to work together as a team, getting in each other’s way and in their own way. And yet, when they put aside their egos and their differences, and come together as a powerful, smoothly functioning team, they are astounding.

I know it may sound silly, but when these heroes formed a circle, backs together, facing outward, ready to slay the enemy, as a team, it brought tears to my eyes. Each brought his or her gift to the group, and didn’t worry about what the others were doing. They trusted each other, trusted themselves, to work as one. And of course, in that space of unity, they were unstoppable. What a great life lesson, to bring my gifts and abilities, unique to me, to stand with others, trusting them to bring their bests as well, all of us offering to the world.

This was an exciting, fun to watch, cheer worthy movie. The stage is set for another Avengers film and at least another Thor adventure. I’m glad. I’ll be there, ready for those larger than life heroes again, when the next villain threatens the world!

Avengers hero shot

Day 113: Captain America: Winter Soldier

Image

Today’s first was about pure entertainment, as my sister, Linda, and I watched the second movie in the Captain America storyline, which is, in turn, a part of the Avengers series. I have watched and enjoyed all the films in this Marvel saga and whenever a new movie launches, I’m there.

I grew up reading Marvel and DC comics. Once a week or so, I’d pick up a new comic and spend a lazy Saturday afternoon reading about the latest adventures of Batman, the Incredible Hulk, Spiderman and all the rest of the super heroes. Superman was my favorite and I followed him for years. As a young girl growing up in a big city, dealing, like we all did, with the challenges that can confront and confuse a child, I savored those solitary afternoons, caught up in a life bigger and more heroic than my own. I not only enjoyed the exploits of the heroes as they defeated the villains, I longed for super powers myself. As a child with a lively and powerful imagination, I spent many an hour contemplating what power I’d choose, if I could. Invisibility? Super human strength? The ability to fly?

As an avid movie watcher from childhood, some of my favorite films as a kid were those that depicted these characters I’d come to love so much. I’ve seen them all. As technology has improved, so have special effects and the quality of the movies. It has been fun to watch the latest movies about the individual Avenger characters. The Ironman films are not only high adventure but hilarious as well. Thor on the big screen is pure enjoyment to behold and his adopted brother Loki threatens to steal his glory.

The first Captain America movie was an important element of the future Avenger film, so I watched it and found it okay. I enjoyed his character more in the Avenger movie and in this sequel, he is fully developed in his role and capable of holding his own! I think I smiled from the opening scene until the credits rolled. I won’t include any spoilers here. I’ll just say, this was an action packed movie with many interesting twists and layers of deceit. Discovering who, exactly, were the bad guys and who were the good was part of the intrigue.

And the film touches on some important questions concerning humanity. Is it better to control chaos and people in order to have a safe society? Can the human spirit be controlled without eliminating that vital spark that moves us forward and causes us to grow? It is always dangerous, as history has proven, when one person, or a small group of people, take it upon themselves to decide the course of that growth, and who shall live and who shall die.

Super heroes appeal to me, and I suspect to others, because they live such large lives. They know who they are and what they can do. They often have an area of weakness in their lives that they must overcome and struggle to do so, making them very human in spite of their abilities. They are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of many, or even for the sake of one. And good always prevails. If I could choose one super power now, after years of mulling it over, I think I’d be fully, magnificently myself, and live a large life. I’d be really good at understanding others and know, intuitively, how to assist them in their journeys. Oh, and I’d fly, lifting easily into the air because I willed myself to do so, soaring under my own power, far above the earth, unfettered and free.