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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!

 

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018) – My rating: 8.5/10

Ant-Man and the Wasp is categorized as a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters Scott Lang / Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne / Wasp. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man, and the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Peyton Reed and written by the writing teams of Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, and Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari. Ant-Man and the Wasp focuses on retrieving Janet van Dyne from the quantum realm.  I truly liked the original film, Ant-Man, so I was psyched about seeing the Wasp officially added to the series.  I only have good things to say about Ant-Man and the Wasp — it was fun!

ANT-MAN (1987)
Janet van Dyne / Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer) shrinks between the molecules of a Soviet nuclear missile, successfully disabling it but becoming trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm for 30 years. Her husband, Hank Pym / Ant-Man (Michael Douglas) raises their daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), by himself, believing that Janet is dead. Years later, former criminal Scott Lang / Ant Man (Paul Rudd) takes up the mantle of Ant-Man and discovers a way to both enter and return from the quantum realm. Pym and Hope begin work on repeating this feat, believing they may find Janet alive. Lang and Hope also start a romantic relationship and begin training to fight together as Ant-Man and the Wasp, until Lang secretly helps Captain America during a skirmish between the Avengers in violation of the Sokovia Accords. Lang is placed under house arrest, while Pym and Hope go into hiding and cut ties with Lang.

— SPOILERS BELOW — 

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – (2018)
Two years later, Pym and Hope briefly manage to open a tunnel to the quantum realm. However, Lang receives an apparent message from Janet with whom he is quantumly entangled. Despite only having a few days left of house arrest, Lang decides to call Pym and share the message. Hope kidnaps Lang, leaving a decoy so as not to arouse suspicion from FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). Seeing the message as confirmation that Janet is alive, Pym and Hope work to create a stable tunnel so they can take a vehicle to the quantum realm and retrieve Janet. Hope arranges to buy a part needed for the tunnel from black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), but Sonny realizes the potential profit that can be earned from Pym and Hope’s research and double-crosses them. Hope fights Burch and his men off, until she is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman, Ava Starr / Ghost  (Hannah John-Kamen). Lang tries to help fight off this “ghost”, but she escapes with Pym’s portable lab, causing Pym to reluctantly visits his estranged former partner Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) for help locating the lab.

From this point, the adventure goes to unimaginable places.  The special effects are fantastic as well as the performance of each actor.  The plot is also excellent, as there are several stories happening at once.  The twist and turns are great and will have you on the edge of your seat.  Overall, I really enjoyed Ant-Man and the Wasp.  Although it was technical most of the ride, it was understandable.  This movie is appropriate for all ages and is well worth your time and money to see it.  3D is nice but not necessary to enjoy the film.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) – My rating: 9.5/10

CaptainAmericaCivilWarIn my opinion, Civil War is the best Captain America to date. I absolutely loved this movie. It even addressed the over the top destruction I often talk about in these types of movies. In fact, you might say destruction, carelessness, and thoughtlessness are the themes of Civil War.  It also addressed the diversity issue of giving Blacks better roles, although these types of movies are never nominated for Oscars.  This third movie in the Captain America series starts out with Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) trying to displace a blast into the sky using telekinesis.  However, a nearby building is destroyed killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers.  This causes the US Secretary of State, Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) to expedite preparation of the Sokovia Accords that will establish a United Nations panel to oversee and control the Avengers as well as the Superhuman Registration Act. Due to the deaths of innocent by-standers and guilt about Ultron’s creation and Sokovia’s destruction, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) supports the Accords.  Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) however, places his faith and judgement in himself and the team rather than the government.  The Accords causes a major conflict between the two leaders and they end up so divided, they go off in separate directions to fight the good fight.   NOTE:  [The TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. makes mention of the Accords as do the coming attractions of the X-men.]  In the meanwhile, at a conference in Vienna where the Accords are to be ratified, a bomb is detonated killing King T’Chaka (John Kani) of Wakanda.  Security footage indicates the bomber is Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) vows to kill.  Information provided by Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who is the niece of Captain America’s deceased girlfriend, Peggy Carter, informs Rogers of Barnes’ whereabouts and the government’s intention to kill him. Rogers decides to apprehend Barnes himself, since Barnes is his childhood friend and war comrade.  Barnes is brainwashed, his handler has been killed and a book containing a series of words that allows one to totally control him is being sought after by the killer. This is just the beginning of an exciting 2 and a half hour movie.  Stark and Rogers really go at it, forming two independent teams.  James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Scott Lang/Ant Man (Paul Rudd), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Android: Vision (Paul Bettany) and Brock Rumlow/Crossbones (Frank Grillo) make up some other participants of the two opposing teams.  Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl; is a Sokovian Colonel turned terrorist obsessed with defeating the Avengers), Aunt May Parker (Marisa Tomei; plays Spider-Man’s Aunt)Miriam Sharpe (Alfre Woodard;  is a grieving mother who lost her son and blames Stark.  Howard Stark (John Slattery; is Tony Stark’s father) and Maria Stark (Hope Davis; is Tony Stark’s mother). We learn what really happened to Stark’s parents — it wasn’t very pretty and didn’t make matters any better between the super heroes.  

As usual, I’ve said enough and have to stop at this point in order not to give away any more of this fascinating story.  I can only say there is so much more to come.  I found Captain America: Civil War very interesting and highly recommend that you see it on the big screen.  Even though I saw it in Real 3D, I didn’t really see a need for it.  Your time will be well worth spending to see Civil War.  The acting is brilliant, the story is excellent and the outcome is great.

 

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ANT-MAN (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

Ant-ManAnt-Man is still a corny title, but it’s a good movie.  Funny, with a pretty good story behind it.  Entertaining with good acting and just enough mystery to keep you interested.  Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym gives a believable performance as a scientist and creator of a suit that allows the wearer to transform to the size of an ant, keeping the dominion of man over animals and the ability to go in and out of this size as often as necessary. Believing his shrinking technology is extremely dangerous, he vows to suppress it as long he’s alive.  Dr. Pym who was a S.H.I.E.L.D. employee when he developed the suit has since build his own company, but has been forced out by his rival Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), a former protégé who wants to use the technology for evil.  Since Dr. Pym has never admitted his shrinking technology exists, Cross has been working to create a similar suit called Yellowjacket he eventually reveals to a horrified Dr. Pym.  Working between the two men is Dr. Pym’s estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) who doesn’t know why her father detached himself from her most of his life but continues to work for his former company beside Cross.  Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has quite a story himself, having been a brilliant thief with a Masters in Computer Science, a daughter, a divorce and a prison record.  Through manipulation by Dr. Pym, Scott becomes Ant-Man and the journey begins.  Hydra gets involved and The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) makes an appearance to add to the excitement.  For Ant-Man, the focus stays on his daughter Cassie Lang (Abby Ryder Fortson).  I liked the way different species of ants were defined and what their jobs were.  Overall, I think Ant-man was great.  BTW:  I saw it in Real 3D which I don’t think was all that necessary.