Avengers: Endgame (4/26/2019)

First some quick history:

This movie has been eleven years in the making. The Avengers movie franchise began with the first Iron Man movie on May, 2 2008. This movie introduced US to Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, an Iconic, irreverent and arrogant superhero. I still remember the “Oh damn” feeling I got when he announced to the world “I’m Iron man.” Here was a superhero that did not hide behind an alternate, secret identity but proudly said, yes I am that bad ass! I loved him. Next came the Incredible Hulk reboot with Edward Norton, I love Ed Norton in most anything, but I have to say I am glad he did not continue the roll. Mark Ruffalo has made the hulk a truly beloved character and I can’t see anyone else in the roll. Before the first Avengers movie on May 4, 2012 they also introduced Thor with Chris Hemsworth on May 6, 2011 (thank God Jane did not continue in the movies long!) and Captain America: the First Avenger on July 22, 2011 with Chris Evans. We now had all of our hero’s and were ready for the first true Avengers movie and it grossed a little 1.5 million dollars world wide and it only cost them 220 million. In fact all six of the first movies cost 1.076 billion dollars to make and made a little over 3.8 billion dollars world wide. So of course they kept making movies.

For sequels, we have Iron Man 3, Thor: the Dark World, and Captain America: Winter Solider in 2013 and 2014. We also have new characters introduced with Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014) and Ant-man (July 17, 2015). The official Avengers property during this time was Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Josh Whedon and released in May 1, 2015. The price tag of these six movies was slightly higher, 1.179 billion dollars but the brought in a little over 5.271 billion dollar world wide. Marvel, Paramount Pictures, and Ultimately Disney had found their cash cow and it was unstoppable all thanks to Kevin Feige the genius producer responsible for all of the Avengers films.

Finally for phase three, there are ten movies Captain America: Civil war, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spiderman Homecoming, Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel and Finally Avengers: Endgame. To date they have spent 4.601 billion dollars making these movies and made 19,848,985,785 dollars world wide. Endgame alone has made over 1.2 billion for its opening weekend making it the highest grossing movie of the year according to frobes1. Amazing success, at least monetarily! If you want a synopsis on each movie check out either the Wikipedia site on the Marvel Cinematic Universe Films or Marvel Cinematic Universe fandom.

But how are the movies?

Well I did not like Infinity Wars that much to be honest. I felt the movie was a little too long and the ending just pissed me off. The stones felt like a giant McGuffin and the movie felt too busy. It was just OK and I’ve never felt compelled to re-watch it. I liked Captain Marvel, though I feel like she is too powerful, but hey, it fits the source material so what can you do. Thor’s last movie was a riot and Homecoming was the best Spiderman movie ever made! The fact that in general I love these movies gave me hope that Endgame, despite being three hours!! long would be OK and I would not find my self bored or regretting the midnight screening.

How was it? Best Movie Yet!

This film did not feel like three hours and I was never tired. The movie keeps you interested and engaged, even the scenes that are not integral to the plot are integral to the characters. In the beginning of the movie there is a small scene with Nebula and Tony Stark as they are stranded in space. They are playing table top football. It is a nothing scene but it shows you Nebula’s developing humanity as she begins to build connections with these characters. If they had cut it and just moved to her taking care of Stark later it would not have worked as well. Their would have been no connection building. There are lots of scenes like this, scenes that work not for the amazing special effects or big action but for the moments you share with the characters.

There is plenty of action and big special effects too. The ending battle, I can mention it because it is a super hero movie so of course, almost got a standing ovation at one point from the audience. People out right cheered. And it was well deserved! The action was well shoot and not so convoluted you could not follow it. Which in a lot of special effects bonanzas these days are a problem, you just end up watching color blobs thrash on the screen. These were clear and well rendered graphics.

Every actor brought their A game. Robert Downey Jr. was a dramatic master piece as usual. But man I loved Hemsworth. Thor’s struggle with their failures in the last movie are epic and I love him in comedies. It’s difficult to balance real inner struggle and silly comedy and he did it beautiful. Watch his expressions, they’re beautiful. He is fantastic here and it is Thor as you have never seen him.

I could write so much about this movie. Renner’s story as Hawkeye got to me so bad. As a mom, Yes I am playing that card again, I was right there with him and could see myself reacting exactly like him. I do not want to give anything else away so all I can say is go see this movie! See it twice, because I am sure you missed something the first time. I know I did! This series deserves to be ranked so High, the movies are not dark and brooding, they are fun, well lit with amazing special effects, but more importantly they have amazing stories and characters we actually care about!

Avengers: Endgame (US Release date: 4/26/2019
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcMBFSGVi1c

1Hughes, Mark ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Is Already The Highest-Grossing Film Of The Year

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2019/04/28/avengers-endgame-is-already-the-highest-grossing-film-of-the-year/

Hellboy (US Release Date 4/12/2019)

I was hesitant about this movie going in and at first I did not mind it. I loved Ron Pearlman’s Hellboy, he was mouthy, full of angst and did not give a sh**. How could they top that. Then there was David Harbour, of Stranger Things. He has given us a Hellboy who is less sure about his place in the world. His Hellboy doesn’t like killing his own kind. He feels conflicted about the purposes his father has raised him to fulfill. His performance had depth and nuance and I loved it. “So I’m devil’s spawn and a Nazi, Thanks Dad.”

But then every character in this movie except his father and a medium Hellboy once rescued (Alice Monaghan, played by Sasha Lane) either wants Hellboy dead or is actively working to destroy him. The entire movie is a conspiracy against the main character. Hellboy is the destroyer of the world so he must be destroyed, but what about Mils Jovovich’s character Nimue? She spends so much of the movie being assembled that she barely has a part. No one trust him to save them because he is a monster so he has to be the bad guy. Personally, If I was surrounded by such jerks my whole life I might not be inclined to save the world either. I get that they are trying to do a fish out of water, don’t judge a book by it’s cover kind of story. But this one is just not written well.

The main problem with the story is that Hellboy has always been linked to Nazi’s and the occult which this movie has plenty of, but instead of sticking to characters story Andrew Crosby decided to change things up a bit. Hell boy meets Arthurian Legend? While I will be the first to admit I am not a Hellboy comic book reader, I can read comic character synopsis and know enough of the characters history to know the writer this is completely out of left field. What is this BS!!!.

MAJOR SPOILER WHILE I RANT!

Now Hell boy is the great, great grandson and hell-spawn of King Arthur? This was the story they came up with? This was the story the decided to reboot the Hellboy franchise with? Why because the King Arthur legend did so well for Transformers? Or no maybe it was the outstanding success of the Guy Ritchie King Authur: Legend of the Sword from 2017 that inspired them.

Come on? When Merlin came out of his hallow and told hell boy this ridiculousness I outright laughed out loud in the theater. I just could not hold it in. The movie had finally gone too far. I’d had enough of Mila Jovovich sleeping through the movie as Nimue the immortal witch and I finally broke. Now we have Excalibur to top things off and only Hellboy with his Arthurian blood can wield it. Will he use it to save the world or destroy it. I would say watch the movie and find out, but the story is so predictable I am sure you can guess the ending and figure it out yourself. Please do not waste your money or your time. While David Harbour is an excellent Hellboy the script is so bad the movie is not worth watching unless it cost you nothing.

Hellboy: US Release Date 4/12/2019

Director: Niell Marshall

Starring: David Harbour, Ian McShane, Mila Jovovich, Thomas Haden Church, Sasha Lane, and Daniel Dae Kim

Distribution Company: Lionsgate and Millennium Media

Cold Pursuit (US Release Date 2/8/2019)

For starters I almost did not go see this movie. I heard the news about Liam Neeson’s comments and I considered seeing Prodigy instead. But I did my research first, Neeson told a story where he previous held a racist value. Where he was angry after a loved one was raped and wanted revenge.  For a week he wanted to hurt someone based solely on the color of their skin and then he realized the incredible stupidity of his actions and stopped. When you hear the whole story, a very nuanced conversation about a thirty year old incident and the bigotry and racism present in Northern Ireland in the past and today. He discuss the horror of thinking the way he did. By taking a part of the statement out of context you lose the point of the statement and the chance to have a true conversation about racial bias. In this case I don’t believe boycotting Liam Neeson’s films will do any good or serve any purpose but to stop anyone from discussing their thoughts about race for fear of becoming a sound bite that is misunderstood.

Now for my review of Cold Pursuit:

This is a movie about fathers and sons. Liam Neeson plays a Father who looses his son to an apparent heroin over dose. His wife, played by Laura Dern, so readily believes this lie I have to wonder what kind of relationship this family had to begin with. At the begining of the movie Liam Neeson is given the Man of the Year award (or equivalent) for the town of KeHo outside of Denver, Colorado. We see the Husband and wife having dinner and getting ready. They seem like a loving happy couple. The son stopps by and uses the bathroom, but doesn’t stay for dinner, he is just saying hello. Things seem normal and happy. There is no evidence of a strained relationship, so why is the mother so quick to believe her son is a junky and get angry with her husband for not recognizing the signs? Grief may make people do crazy things, but to just immediately accept everyone in you life has let you down, has lied to you? I didn’t get it.

I did however completely understand Liam Neeson’s character! Here is not a slick killer with skills, but just a really angry father who quietly kills his way to the top. In every chapter after the sons death we have another death, though we do not see them all, we begin to wait for each so we can understand how it will lead us to our two main fathers finally meeting in their ultimate confrontation.

Liam’s foil in this fight, played by Tom Bateman, is Trevor “Viking” Calcote. A vicious, controlling drug dealer who cares only about himself and his son. How does he show how he cares about his son? By controlling him. We are introduced to father and son on their way to school. Ryan does not want to go because he is being bullied. Viking tells him “Know what a bully is, it’s a chance to prove your metal.”

Ryan answers, “You think I should hit him? That’s not a good idea.” Viking, “Why” Ryan “Because then I’ll be as stupid as he is.” Just shows the smartest character in the movie is going to be the youngest. Will his father figure out who is killing of his dealers and put a stop the killing before it gets to him or will he become the final victim? Man you really hope so!

A third party, a native American drug gang is brought into the mix, headed by White Bull, our third father. White bull is played by Tom Jackson. He brings into the mix an angry and tired drug lord with nothing to lose. He has made his fortune and now lost his only son. Now only vengeance will satisfy. Will the final confrontation give him justice or death?

The violence in the movie is balanced with wonderfully dark comedic moments that don’t over power it. Though there is nothing ground breaking or new here the movie is good. I cared about the characters, except the mother, and wanted to know what would happen next. I was never surprised but Cold pursuit is worth checking out. It is one of Liam Neeson’s better movies as of late.

Cold Pursuit US Release Date 2/8/2019
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Staring: Liam Neeson, lAura Dern, Micheal Richardson, Tom Bateman, Domienick Lombardozzi and Tom Jackson
Production Company: StudioCanal