Posts Tagged ‘Back to the Future

26
Apr
19

Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, Movie Review

***

I refuse to start this review with one of those term-paper introductions that splash the movie title and throw in a blurb about some big-name actor or how the movie is grossing tons of money around the world. It won’t make you a grateful bunch of readers. Instead, you get this… [Snap!]

So, this is it…as far as “its” go in terms of ending an epic string of movies. It’s like Back to the Future…except it’s nothing like Back to the Future…buuuut it is. Confusing; right? The “wizards” of Marvel Studios and Disney put their mushy “I’m running out of creative ideas! What’s Paul Rudd doing this week?” heads together and came up with…this…with Avengers: Endgame. And, just about everyone you’ve seen in a Marvel movie (not everyone) since 2008 makes an appearance.

So, if you like family reunions and looking at moving photographs of lots of people you might have known, this is IT! This is your movie. But, as for the hype–which I gotta say is far less than I’ve seen for a number of other “franchises” (like Harry Potter and Star Wars, even though Star Wars has felt like it’s been dragging the original three films through the murky mud of some fan’s brain for some time…and both of those franchises haven’t come close to this many films)…and considering the theater I was at for the premiere was only half-full–meh.

[Wait. The theater was half-full…half of the theater was empty. Damn you, Thanos! You got to the audience, too!]

[I said “so,” twice, in case you didn’t notice. That’s because this is a so-so movie.]

I’m getting reeeeeeally tired of being the bearer of bad news. So, I’ll keep my typically lengthy opinions unusually short (if I can…which I usually don’t…so maybe I won’t). We’ll see just how time and space grabs me. Ya know…spitball this review thing and see what happens. There’s only one possibility that will work…and it’s the one that will get this thing written.

In short (ha), I think we are not far from making movies in which the people paid all the big bucks don’t even have to work in the same room, just let the hundreds of “little people” piece all the bits together and run it like a cartoon…like some sports video game that required every famous face from the team putting on little dots and moving in front of some motion-detection equipment. We can make a big-budget movie by just having the stars make fools of themselves in their hotel rooms; they’ll never look at themselves on film and will just B.S. through countless interviews, telling everyone how “amazing” it is to work with all those other people they didn’t see in the same space and time…it’s just another job. They came, they pooped on themselves, they collected their paychecks. Punched in…punched out. [And, at that rate, how long is it before people punch in and punch out of the movie theaters?…or stop going completely because either movies lose their charm or people cheat to watch them other ways? And, all that technological artistry is just feeding a mechanical monster that is consuming everything organic like Galactus…you know, that giant cosmic-empowered guy that appeared in a Fantastic Four movie oh so long ago…when Chris Evans was “flaming” instead of strutting in blue spandex…well, a different outfit made of blue spandex.

I seriously do not want movie theaters to go the way of the phone booth, people! Let’s not be so damn lazy and careless about this! And, that goes for movie makers, too. You have to either put in the effort or find someone who will. Help out the little people who have grand ideas but little means of making 3D molds of everything and “sitting down” with “big stars” whenever you send a call their way…or their “agent’s” way…or by contacting SHIELD…or however you do it these days.

All right! All right! I know. I just went way off into space, lost track of time and reality, got consumed with stomach-turning thoughts about people in power and haven’t said much about the actual movie…sort of like Captain Marvel’s part in the final “shebang.” Let me see what nuggets of goodness I can pull from this “billion-dollar blockbuster.”

Well… I’ll give it one big point for the final battle. When you hear Chris Evans say, “Avengers…assemble,” you get the second half of some serious, bad-ass clashing. If “Infinity War” didn’t alter what you thought was possible, this movie will. But, then, it’s just one group’s take on the Marvel universe, just like any comic book being re-written by someone who is lucky if they knew the previous writers and artists. [And, how many people have played the Hulk and Spider-Man in the past 20 years?…anyway.] You might have thought it was big news in the previous movies when there were roughly a dozen characters moving across the screen in one slow-motion shot. Well, that’s nothing compared to a few hundred?… at least, it felt like a few hundred tiny little faces moving across the screen…sort of like the big jungle battle in Infinity War…sort of like the old TV days when you could watch the black and white ants fight each other for dominance…….

Sorry. I drifted into space for a moment. ‘Lost track of time, again. I con-tesseract.

If you are one of these “modern” people looking for all the “girl power” and LGBT support you can get, enjoy your in-flight meal. Though, it feels a bit forced. And, for all the growling the women did…I kinda felt they could have been more bad-ass than they were. [I’m really tempted to throw in a few spoilers, here….mainly, because the movie isn’t worth secrecy.]

If you like superheroes being silly…as they have been in other recent Marvel movies…you get plenty of that, too. Yet, some of the “jokes” felt like only some people would find them funny while others just laugh because they thought they were…well, jokes. For instance, I was not one who laughed when Hulk punched his fellow heroes in the first Avengers film. And, why the Hulk would walk a thousand stairs just to be that Hulk that hit you at the front door? I can’t say I laugh at the sight of Chris Evan’s butt…but maybe you do. Although, the Thor makeover was mildly amusing…as was Robert D-J’s little quip about it…until he gets a tad too emotional. [I’d rather watch Mark Hamill get upset about who his father is. When I’d rather watch a Star Wars movie than a Marvel Comics movie, there is something wrong.]

If you like the thought of a two-plus hour game of Three-Card Monty, enjoy the time-travel hijinx. The movie makes repeated references to Back to the Future. [And, to be honest, I’d rather go back and watch THAT movie than this one. As silly as it may have been, Back to the Future roped me in and gave me a good time. Endgame feels more like I was roped and then dragged behind a bus before some outlaw decided to end my life, anyway, with a bullet to the brain, prolonged torture just to reach the anticipated result.]

And, if you reaaaaally wanted to see a different side of or more of Nebula, played by the lovely, wonderful Karen Gillan who had to shave her lovely hair off for this freakin’ part!…you get that, too. I was actually touched by her performance, this time. I almost cried for her…which is kind of sad, considering, the last time I saw her, she was being pulled apart at the circuits. She also gets to pull a nice little……

[My words just turned to dust. Did you see that? Movie magic.]

She disappears for a……

Would you cut that out! Wait. To whom am I speaking?… Hmm.

She sort of gets to be the surprise bomb in the movie. And, truthfully, there should have been more to what was happening because the film kept feeding little bits of power/potential to Thanos…it just never materialized. I consistently felt like I was being handed “red herrings” with a dash of dramatic music; something really bad could have happened…and it didn’t. [Oh-ho-ho! What’s he going to do with that now that he has it? He’s going to get there before they do!] So…why did they put that in there? Just to mess with our heads? In-con-theev-able! Three-Card Monty!

With all of the power the heroes are packing, it astounds me that they could not resolve this “crisis” sooner. Yet, the way Tony Stark pulls it all together, per his usual Marvel-Disney-movie “skill,” seems over-simplified, too. Again, one minute you have it all mapped out…and then you don’t. [But, if we remember Dr. Strange and what happened in the previous film, we ought to grasp how things just have to fall into place, even if they don’t make sense while they are happening in the present moment. If you don’t get it, you just have to see things from a larger perspective, take it from a planetary scale to a universal scale.]

There was a tiny message about even heroes being “human” thrown in one scene, and I get it…or why they said that. Having a hero fail and then have to make up for that failure, that’s decent writing. That puts meat on the bone that otherwise is just…well, Captain Marvel shaking off her shackles and blasting everything out of her way (not to mention claiming she has the duty of overseeing the whole universe!). [As if Thor wasn’t “big” enough as a god of thunder…now we have a woman who absorbed some big supply of cosmic power and delivers justice like a gunslinging goddess while another character collects enough power to act like a god, gives us the impression he might be onto something beyond our comprehension…and then gets swallowed up in “human” greed and lust for having things his way.]

And, on that note, Captain Marvel’s presence in this “final” Avengers film is one component that made me come to my previous conclusion about films being made from hotel rooms and without actors in one space. I just happened to see the lovely Brie Larson in a five-second interview on one of those late-night talk shows. And, she described her first task in a Marvel movie. She wasn’t looking at people. She was looking at tape markers. Tape markers. ‘Bad enough people have to follow tennis balls on sticks to make a scene, now we have bits of tape to pretend are people, people we interact with emotionally…right.

Goodbye, humanity. It’s all going NFL Game Day 3000.

In the few moments she appears in Endgame, Captain Marvel often–if not always–looks a bit cartoon-ish…like she’s not really there…like they just captured Brie making faces and slapped them on video game models. I noticed there were credits for people READING as characters. So, pardon my lack of technical movie-making knowledge, but I am guessing that means people–and not necessarily the actors being portrayed–read lines for parts when the characters were in action and speaking…just not physically doing so. There were people cast to “stand in” for the characters when they weren’t…you know, actually standing in the same room and able to touch each other. [Eew! Superhero cooties!]

Biggest disappointment? That may have been the Hulk, even though I briefly enjoyed Mark appearing like a friendly Shrek, handing out tacos instead of telling everyone to get out of his swamp. He left that task to Thanos, and Thanos dropped the ball. Even when Hulk had a chance to smash, he made light of it. What was the word he used to describe smashing? Anyway. There really wasn’t a moment in the film where I felt like all that Hulk could be did anything. Instead, sort of like is time in Infinity War, he was like Beast from the X-Men…the more intellectual guy who quietly monitors HQ instead of being at the heart of the action, though he’s built like a tank and bigger than most of the cast. And, even at the controls, he was only “human.” [Maybe it wasn’t so smart putting a guy at the controls who screwed up a gamma bomb and turned himself into a “smart monster.”] Which isn’t always a bad thing…but…he’s the Hulk! I mean…come on. You’re hyping this movie about a group of heroes that includes the Hulk…and he’s just going to eat tacos and “chillax” with the “smartphone” crowd? Gee. Thanks, Marvisney…or, Disnevel.

But, it’s okay. Because the other black guy…not the one who got all the press the previous year…the one with the artificial wings…he’s got this. And, the ladies have this. Or…maybe not, considering I just didn’t see any grand result from their part…just a splash-y image for some magazine dying to feature the Marvel women all on one cover for their next issue.

Did I just leak some spoilers? My bad. I’m only human. But, in the grand scheme of things, it won’t matter. Trust me. And, I am not going to tell you who “dies” in the end. [It pissed me off a little. Yet, we all gotta die, sometime; right? And, the Star Wars people; they took out Han…so…low.] But, on that note, everything seems to just be a contract-ual matter. So, can we even watch this and be engrossed in the story?…or do we say, “Oh, right. His contract was up. So, he just had to go. He was on his way to lunch and another gig when he did this scene.” Is that the future of movies? We change the story to fit the salary restrictions or accommodate the actors (and actresses, to be fair) some other way? Is everything going to be about the money it costs/makes and job-interview “shtick” instead of telling a genuine story as it was written?

If you can’t respect the characters and/or the original story, spend a little more time at the drawing board. Not the “smart board” you change by just flicking it with your fingers when you feel “in charge.” Why do I even want to hear about ticket sales or when the DVD deluxe, exclusive content, supreme, diamond, platinum edition comes out in stores? What does any of that matter? [Funding, I’d wager. Find any way you can to put the word “money” into people’s minds, like a subliminal message, so they’ll toss some out a window and hopefully into your film studio which is all falling under one mousy umbrella, one galactic-sized ha-ha empire. You have all the resources in the world and still pump out a story that falls short yet gets all the latest technological show bits.]

I’m perfectly fine just having a copy of the first Robert D-J Iron Man (even if that climax with Pepper fleeing the building and Tony’s “expose” at the end grinded my gears). I’ll do like Tony does in the second Iron Man film, brush away the excess distractions, pick out the best strawberry and find some nugget of hope and inspiration in the project while other actors take over other parts and make “jokes.” [We’re back in production mode, people.] I can live without the rest…which is kind of a mess, when you look over all of it. It’s a bit like some kids starting an elaborate finger-painting project. Well, now who’s going to clean up all the paint? ‘Someone not in view of the camera, clearly.

Maybe, in the enormous amount of time that is five years or so, things will be much better…or worse. Who knows.

I give Avengers: The Next Generation…er, cut…Avengers: Revolution…no, that’s not right…Avengers: Endgame 2 stars out of 5. It has enough content to give you a reason to review the previous films (if you feel like torturing yourself). It packs a few punches and has a few chuckles. It definitely stirs a few tears if you let it. But, in no way does it deserve a passing grade. Infinity War, sadly, was better. It’s just too much of a headache following all of the time hops and listening to the cast quarrel about what’s going to work, what didn’t and what they will do next.

You know? It’s all very complicated…coming up with the theory relativity and that other one about strings faster than Einstein while failing to work the machines properly because you built them… You just wouldn’t understand. I don’t understand it. And, the people who made the movie are not going to take more time trying to explain the science. Even Stan Lee knew very little about actual science.

[Just a heads-up…you don’t have to sit through the credits…unless you want to look at autographs and hear the anvil chorus. There are no surprises–as far as I know–to be seen. Except…where was Elvis ever featured in the movie? The story arc has ended. The cast will now slowly recede into a private world of therapy and texting and wondering if they will keep that tattoo they got to feel like part of a team for eleven years or so, sort of like the cast from the Lord of the Rings movies.]

I don’t like group comic books for a reason. This was one. They tried touching on personal stories but only included a few of the characters in that effort…where was the heart of Black Widow…and Bruce Banner? Why does Thor get such a spotlight?…oh, because the actor playing him works for peanuts–or beer if we believe that–and has all the time in the world, and the other actors don’t. Even Hawkeye is such a joke, he’s a hair-line away from being lumped in with Jar-Jar Binks. Yep. Oh, I’m just kidding…come on, man up. Work those tear ducts. Work ’em. You can cry for your friend.

[By the way, after seeing Hawkeye in a different light, I am seriously wondering, again, why we cannot make a Ninja Gaiden movie even loosely based on the original three NES video games (versus the arcade version which, from what I can recall, didn’t have much of a story). I was feeling the Ryu Hayabusa in this movie! You take the rainy, neon street Hawkeye was on and throw in some of that Black Panther car-chase magic…a bad-ass sorcery-wielding samurai ala the Sith Emperor from the Star Wars films and maybe a CG mystical dragon spirit…and you’ve got one decent, quasi-live-action trailer for an action-packed thrill ride with a Far-East mythical flavor that does not need to be dumbed down just so “the Rock” can shout “Woo!” You might actually have to, you know, talk to someone who knows the video games to work out the whole script…and cast people who authentically fit the parts instead of having some misplaced accent-holder morph him or herself into one more role to up his or her chances at an award that year…but I’m sure you know that, you Sprite slugs.]

Humans just seem incapable of putting a bunch of multi-dimensional, emotionally-involved, active characters together in one scene–not to mention one two-plus hour, big-budget epic–without it looking like a cluttered poster; here are all the He-Man action figures and accessories you could get your parents to buy in a fancy painting. The original artists put these characters together because they wanted to sell more comic books by giving a bit of everyone’s favorite(s) a spot in one book. Some people buy that. I’m not exactly one of them. I’ll watch Charleton Heston ham it up in The Ten Commandments every year at Easter. When will I ever care to sit down and give another hour to Endgame? Not likely ever. That’s like revisiting a funeral just to think about what you failed to say….or who wasn’t there with you.

I like Marvel Team-Ups, better. Iron Man and the latest young Spider-Man…that was decent. It’s a shame if that can’t continue. It’s a shame Stan won’t exactly get to be a part of it, other than in memory and from a hopefully comfortable seat in the spirit-verse.

Make peace and love, not war! And, be…excelsior…to each other. [You could have worked that line in, people! Bill and Ted/Stan Lee reference! Come on, Jon Favreau! Or, Snyder. Or, whatever “replacement” is manning the controls. Another movie reference I just made…huh? Huh? Wait. Who IS manning the controls? Oh, crapping wild stallions. Who left Banner in the control room?]

*Snap!*




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