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AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019) – My rating: 7.8/10

Avengers: Endgame is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team,The Avengers. The film is produced by Marvell Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Avengers: Endgame is the sequel to 2012’s “The Avengers”, 2015’s” Avengers: Age of Ultron” and 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” , it is also the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Avengers: Endgame is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Endgame picks up with the surviving members of the Avengers team, along with their allies working to reverse the damage caused by Thanos during the Infinity War. I for one, anticipated Endgame with bated breath. While I thought this was a decent sequel, I was somewhat disappointed.

Thanos (Josh Brolin) used the Infinity Stones to disintegrate half of all life across the universe, leaving us devastated by the deaths of our beloved super heroes. The world has waited in anticipation for the reversal of Thanos’ actions. Avengers: Endgame, part two of Avengers: Infinity, begins three weeks after the completion of Thanos’ dastardly deed, with Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) returning to Earth from deep space, carrying a spaceship containing Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) inside. Now the remaining Avengers, which include; Bruce Banner / The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Rocket (Bradley Cooper’s voice), Thor (Christopher Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and James “Rhodey” Rhodes / War Machine (Don Cheadle), must find a way to go back in time to fix what Thanos has done. Using Nebula’s knowledge, they find an injured Thanos on an unguarded planet. Their plan is to retake the Stones and reverse his actions but find he has already destroyed them to prevent further use. An enraged Thor beheads Thanos, who is now an ordinary person without the powers of the stones.

**** SPOILERS ****

Five years later, Scott Lang / Ant Man (Paul Rudd) escapes the quantum realm and meets Natsha Romanoff / Black Widow and Steve Rogers / Captain America at the Avengers’ compound. Scott explains that he experienced only five hours while trapped, which to him theorizes that the quantum realm allows time travel. The three heroes travel to ask Stark, because of his genius, to help them retrieve the Stones from the past so they can reverse Thanos’ actions in the present. Stark not believing this could be done refuses, mostly out of fear he’d lose his daughter, Morgan (Lexi Rabe). After having a short chat with his wife, Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Stark relents says good-bye to his family, then leaves to work with Banner, who has merged his consciousness with the Hulk’s body, hoping to stabilize travel in the quantum realm. Banner and Rocket go to the Asgardian refugees’ new home in Norway, to recruit a beer drinking, drunken, overweight Thor and Romanoff heads to Tokyo to recruit Clint Barton / Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who has turned into a ruthless vigilante following the disintegration of his family.

I think this is a good place to stop. It is difficult to critique this film because the entire story is a mystery for you to solve or not, so you don’t want to know how it ends or if they accomplish the mission. I was a little disappointed in this sequel. First, I felt Tony Shark deserved much more. I can’t elaborate on this since it would spoil the movie for you. Suffice to say, Iron Man should have a movie all to himself, which would give him the opportunity to explain his actions, past, present and future. I also feel Black Widow should be in that Iron Man movie to boost their fan’s moral, concerning what happened in the Endgame. I must inform you that this three hour and one minute movie is action packed with special effects beyond your greatest expectations. There were so many super heroes, from the present as well as the past, that you will find it hard to keep up. The beginning of Endgame tested our faith in the writers to pull off a Thanos’ reversal, as hopelessness was the only feelings we could muster up. After a long battle of defeats for the Avengers and company, we finally got some hope but it didn’t last long. I personally thought the Endgame could have been better written, as there were too many disappointments. Also, the quantum theory story was a bit hard to swallow. Terms like “your past is now your present” really took a lot of intellect to fully understand. BTW, that quantum statement is longer with deeper meaning; I just can’t spoil this for you by saying anymore. You have to see Avengers: Endgame for yourself. It is definitely worth seeing. The film received positive reviews for its direction, acting, entertainment value, musical score, visual effects and emotional weight, with critics lauding its culmination of the 22-film story. With an estimated budget of $356 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. It also broke numerous box office records and has grossed over $1.7 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2019, as well as the fifth highest-grossing film of all time. Check It Out!

 

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018) – My rating 9.5/10

Avengers: Infinity War is a Superhero film based on the Marvel Comics Superhero team, the Avengers.  It’s produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios. It is the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It’s the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, while also picking up plot points from many other MCU movies, most notably Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, and the two Guardians of the Galaxy films. Infinity War is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast.

Avengers: Infinity War opens with Thanos and his henchmen (Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive), intercepting the ship carrying survivors of Asgard’s destruction.  Thor, Loki, Heimdall and Hulk are powerless to prevent the extraction of the Space Stone from the tesseract (an energy that holds the stone).  The Guardians of the Galaxy respond to a distress call from the Asgardian ship and rescues Thor. Thanos’ goal is to obtain all six Infinity stones (Power, Space, Time, Mind, Reality and Soul), which would make him the most powerful in the universe.  Thanos will be able to snap his fingers to kill, destroy or to achieve anything he wants.  The goal of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, is to stop Thanos from collecting all six Infinity Stones.

Hulk crash-lands at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, reverting to Bruce Banner. He warns Stephen Strange and Wong about Thanos’ plan to kill half of all life in the universe, siting the world has become over populated. In response, Strange recruits Tony Stark to join the team. Two of Thanos’ men, Maw and Obsidian arrive to take the Time Stone from Strange. A battle breaks out, drawing the attention of Peter Parker/Spiderman. Maw is able to capture Strange, but is unable to take the Time Stone due to a spell. Stark and Parker team up and pursue Maw’s spaceship while Banner contacts Steve Rogers/Captain America. Vision offers to sacrifice himself by having Maximoff destroy the Mind Stone in his forehead to keep Thanos from retrieving it. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the stone without destroying Vision.  They surmise Thanos seeks the Reality Stone, which is in the possession of the Collector at Knowhere.  Thanos kidnaps Gamora, his adoptive daughter, who reveals the location of the Soul Stone to save her captive, adoptive sister Nebula from torture.

In a post-credits scene, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) transmits a distress signal using a device that displays a star insignia on a red-and-blue background. UHM!

I found this version of Avengers: Infinity War exciting and well acted.  I loved how all the Superheros came together to fight the good fight.  Each character displayed their talents and never lost who they were.  In a production like this, with so many characters, individual personalities tend to get lost or become a non-entity.  I especially liked the comedic side of this adventure and the attention the director paid to detail.  The surprise ending, everyone is talking about, may or may not leave a very sour taste in your mouth but hang in there viewers, good things are coming.  What I didn’t like was the endless credits at the end before we got to see the very last scene of the movie.  So who did that distress signal go out to?  We can guess but we won’t know for sure until part 2.  Until then, watch this one over and over once it hits DVD / Blu-Ray.  Avengers: Infinity War was brilliant and has the biggest twist ever.  Check it out!

Below are the cast members and who they are. 

  • Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark / Iron Man:
    The leader and benefactor of the Avengers who is a self-described genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist with electromechanical suits of armor of his own making.
  • Chris Hemsworth plays Thor:
    An Avenger and the king of Asgard based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.
  • Mark Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner / Hulk:
    An Avenger and a genius scientist who, because of exposure to gamma radiation, transforms into a monster when enraged or agitated. 
  • Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers / Captain America:
    A fugitive superhero and leader of a faction of Avengers. A World War II veteran, he was enhanced to the peak of human physicality by an experimental serum and frozen in suspended animation before waking up in the modern world.
  • Scarlett Johansson plays Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow:
    A highly trained spy, and former Avenger and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange:
    A former neurosurgeon who, after a car accident that led to a journey of healing, discovered the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions and became a Master of the Mystic Arts.
  • Don Cheadle plays James”Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine: A former officer in the U.S. Air Force who operates the War Machine armor and is an Avenger. Following his paralysis during the events of Civil War, Rhodes is given an apparatus by Stark to walk again.
  • Tom Holland plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man: A teenager and Stark’s protegé who received spider-like abilities after being bitten by a genetically-modified spider.
  • Chadwick Boseman plays T’Challa / Black Panther: The king of the African nation of Wakanda, who gained his enhanced strength by ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb.
  • Paul Bettany plays Vision:
    An android and Avenger created using the artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S., Ultron, and the Mind Stone.
  • Elizabeth Olsen plays Wanda Maximoff  /  Scarlet Witch: A member of Rogers’ faction of Avengers, who can harness magic and engage in hypnosis and telekinesis.
  • Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson / Falcon:
    A member of Rogers’ faction of Avengers and former pararescue man trained by the military in aerial combat using a specially designed wing pack
  • Sebastian Stan plays James “Bucky” Barnes/Winter Soldier: An enhanced assassin and Rogers’ ally and best friend.
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki: Thor’s adoptive brother based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.
  • Idris Elba plays Heimdall: The all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian former sentry of the Bifröst Bridge, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.
  • Peter Dinklage plays Eitri: King of the Dwarves of Nidavellir, and weaponsmith, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.
  • Benedict Wong plays Wong: One of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, tasked with protecting some of Kamar-Taj’s most valuable relics and books.
  • Pom Klementieff plays Mantis: A member of the Guardians of the Galaxy with empathic powers.
  • Karen Gillan plays Nebula: An adopted daughter of Thanos who was raised with Gamora as siblings.
  • Dave Bautista plays Drax the Destroyer: A member of the Guardians and warrior in search of vengeance against Thanos for killing his family.
  • Zoe Saldana plays Gamora: A member of the Guardians who is an orphan from an alien world who seeks redemption for her past crimes. She was raised by Thanos. Ariana Greenblatt portrays a young Gamora.
  • Vin Diesel plays Groot:
    A member of the Guardians who is a tree-like humanoid.
  • Bradley Cooper plays Rocket:
    A member of the Guardians who is a genetically-engineered raccoon-based bounty hunter and mercenary and is a master of weapons and battle tactics.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pepper Potts:
    Stark’s fiancée and the CEO of Stark Industries.
  • Benicio del Toro plays Taneleer Tivan / The Collector: One of the Elders of the Universe who is an obsessive keeper of the largest collection of interstellar fauna, relics, and species of all manner in the galaxy.
  • Josh Brolin plays Thanos:
    An intergalactic despot from Titan who longs to collect all six of the Infinity Stones in order to impose his will on all of reality, wanting to “re-balance the universe”.
  • Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill / Star-Lord:
    The half-human, half-Celestial leader of the Guardians who was abducted from Earth as a child and raised by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers.

SEVERAL OTHER ACTORS REPRISED THEIR MCU ROLES:
Danai Gurira is Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje;
Letitia Wright is T’Challa’s sister Shuri;
William Hurt is Thaddeus Ross
, the Secretary of State;
Kerry Condon is the voice of Stark’s A.I. F.R.I.D.A.Y.;
Winston Duke is M’Baku, leader of Wakanda’s mountain tribe, The Jabari; Florence Kasumba is Ayo, a member of the Dora Milaje;
Jacob Batalon is Ned, Parker’s friend;
Isabella Amara is Parker’s classmate Sally;
Tiffany Espensen is Parker’s classmate Cindy;
Ethan Dizon is Parker’s classmate Tiny.

 

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017) – My rating: 9/10

What can I say about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — history is repeating itself.  It’s even better than the first one, a different story, still a quality film.  Good humor, good plot, fantastic special effects, brilliant acting, awesome costumes, great makeup and great directing.  What else do you need.  I truly enjoyed this second sequel.

The Guardians of the Galaxy consist of: Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax  The Destroyer (Dave Bautista), voice of Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a genetically modified raccoon bounty hunter and mercenary who is also a master of weapons and military tactics, Voice of Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), a tree-like humanoid who began growing from a sapling at the end of the first film and is Rocket’s accomplice.   Vol. 2 opens with The Guardians of the Galaxy battling an inter-dimensional monster for Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), the golden High Priestess and leader of the Sovereign people, (a genetically engineered race who are “gold and perfect and wanting to be physically and mentally impeccable”) in exchange for Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s estranged, adopted sister who was captured while attempting to steal valuable batteries from Ayesha and her people.  The Guardians no sooner leave Ayesha before being attacked by a fleet of Sovereign drones because Rocket has stolen some of the batteries for himself.  The drones are mysteriously destroyed but the Guardians are forced to crash land on a nearby planet.  The mysterious attacker reveals himself to the Guardians as Ego (Kurt Russell), Peter’s father.

At this point the story begins to take shape.  We learn about the characters and their missions and many more are introduced and so the plot thickens.  We have a father who is meeting his son for the first time, and a son who never knew his father existed.  We also have sisters who have no love for each other, in fact one wants the other dead along with their father.  There is also Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), a blue-skinned buccaneer who is the leader of the Ravagers and also the father figure who raised Peter Quill as well as a member of the Guardians along with Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Yondu’s loyalist.  If that isn’t enough, there’s Ego’s pet empath, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Taserface (Chris Sullivan) leader of a mutinous group of the Ravagers and the dumbest of all characters in the film. Lastly, another character introduced in Vol 2 is Stakar Ogord/Starhawk (Sylvester Stallone) a high-ranking Ravager who has an intense history with Yondu, a kind of father/son type of thing, according to Stallone.

A little about Peter Quill:
He is a Half-human, half-Celestial leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy and was abducted from Earth as a child, raised by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers and is now famous throughout the galaxy for having saved many people.

A little about Ego, Peter’s father:
Ego explains he is a god-like Celestial, an immortal consciousness that manipulated the matter around it to form the planet with itself at the core. Forming a human guise, he traveled the universe to escape his loneliness and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill’s mother, Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to deliver Quill after his mother’s death, but he was never showed up and Ego had been searching for him ever since.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is quite entertaining and well worth seeing on the big screen.  I am happy to see Zoe Saldana’s character, Gamora being developed a little more. She seemed unfeeling and appeared to have an  angry attitude most of the time. In Vol. 2, she has warmed up a little and comes off a little more human. Hollywood has a tendency to drag out demolition and fight scenes as well as car chases, so you may find a couple of those drawn out scenes in Vol. 2, other than that, I think you’re in for a real treat!

 

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014) – My rating: 8/10

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyI expected Guardians of the Galaxy to be an annoyingly bad movie.  I started hearing rumors that it was pretty good so I looked up it’s ratings and found the rumors to be true, according to thousands who bothered to rate it.  Each character brought significant abilities to the table and was brilliantly played by Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Starlord), Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, David Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Lee Pace (Ronan), Djimon Haunsou (Karath), Glen Close (Nova Prime) and Benicio Del Toro (The Collector).  Guardians of the Galaxy focused on how they became a team and even, how they got their name.  The special effects were outstanding.  The plot involved the team trying to keep the evil Ronan from obtaining the “orb” that would give him the power to destroy any planet in the galaxy.  There were a few corny scenes, but for the most part, the movie was good.  I didn’t see the greatness that many others saw, but I do give it more than a passing grade.  I thought the movie was a combination of Star Wars and Star Trek.  The sound track allowed us baby boomers to go back in time and enjoy some of the better music of our era.  There were lots of action and lots of humor.  I found myself really laughing out loud.  This is a surprisingly descent movie worth seeing on the big screne.  Check it out, IMDB has listed Guardians of the Galaxy a rating of 8.7.

[GUARDIAN OF THE GALAXY is nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling as well as Visual Effects]