Those last two Avengers movies

The ever-young Samuel L. Jackson

avengers.endgameI thought I had all of the movies secured between DVD and what was available on cable. By the time I got up to Spider-Man: Far from Home, that film was no longer showing. I ended requesting four different Spidey films, which I’ll write about when they show up from the library.

In the meanwhilst, as they say in Life of Brian:

Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Lots of stuff – I love the word “stuff” – happens all over the freaking universe. Keeping track of all of the characters wasn’t too bad, though the simultaneous plotlines made it a bit of a jumble. I read about more errors and alleged goofs on IMDB – I disagree with a few – than I’ve seen on that site.

The movies did allow for some humor to peak through before the amazingly overlong final battles. Still, I want to see how they get out of this predicament. So it’s a really long tease for the finale. It was oddly reminiscent of how I felt after watching Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows, Part 1.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) – if I had seen this right after Infinity War, rather than back in 2018, would it have changed my view? Probably not. In fact, Infinity War was so Big, So Significant, that I appreciated a story that was much smaller in scope. I like these people and care about them. And that’s enough.

Back to 1990?

Captain Marvel (2019). OK, this film takes place after the first Captain America, but before the first Iron Man. Well, except for the coda, which clearly happened AFTER Infinity War.

I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. The Kree-Skrull narrative was murky, both in terms of story and visuals. I didn’t really enjoy this until Nick Fury (the ever-young Samuel L. Jackson) shows up. I did like the camaraderie with her and her former pilot colleague. But damn, she was SO powerful, but didn’t know it until the movie’s practically over? My favorite part of the film was the nod to Stan Lee in the opening.

Avengers: Endgame (2019). This movie actually benefitted from far fewer people in the cast throughout most of the film. The good guys have lost. They want a do-over. Can they pull it off?

The question, I suppose, is the journey over nearly two dozen movies worth the payoff? Despite a few seeming inconsistencies, I say yes. I always knew where I was, though sometimes I was less clear when I was. My patience with the overly long final battle scene began to fray. Yet my single favorite moment was during the fracas, when Thor declared, “I KNEW it!”

And a small thing, I suppose. After the greatest number of named cast appearances that I’ve ever remember seeing, they gave proper credit to the big six: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. I was happy with Cap’s last act. Smart Hulk was a hoot. One hopes Thor finds his physique again.

This was, in the end, a Hollywood spectacle. Cecil B. DeMille might be proud. And I got the emotional payoff that one needs after 50 hours or so of narrative by over a dozen directors and more than two dozen screenwriters. That it is as coherent as it turned out to be is a cinematic miracle.

Movie review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

As is often the case, a bunch of people left as the first set of credits hit the screen.

ant_man_and_the_waspSo it’s come to this: I’m taking movie advice from the Daughter, because she’s viewing more of the mainstream films a lot sooner than I am. At her suggestion, I went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp at the Regal Theater in Colonie Center, getting there via a combination of bus and bike.

I guess it’s where I see Marvel Universe movies, having experienced Black Panther there three months earlier. But something new; when I buy a ticket, I’m told that I get to pick out my assigned seat. As the guy at the next window said, “Great, I guess.” I suspect it’s a way to try to keep folks from sneaking into another film.

As for Ant-Man and the Wasp, I liked it. It was funny and full of action and misdirection and full of big dollops of humor. The one thing I’d been wondering about, though, came true. There are references to Captain America calling the Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to fight with him, something that took place in a movie I’ve not seen. (No, you don’t need to explain the Sokovia Accords to me, but I shan’t try to lay it out for any of you.) It undoubtedly explains Lang’s soon-to-be-over house arrest.

This lack of information didn’t particularly diminish my enjoyment, but it did remind me how difficult it was back in my comic book selling days for comic book fans to get into a story line because knowledge of a different book was preferable.

Bottom line, near the end of the movie, you have several parties chasing each other: Lang/Wasp- Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly)/Scott’s business partner Luis (Michael Pena) versus Ava the quantumly unstable “ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen) looking for a cure vs. black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Groggins) and his associates versus James Woo (Randall Park) and the FBI. It was quite a hoot.

As is often the case, a bunch of people left as the first set of credits hit the screen, missing an important piece of foreshadowing for another MCU flick. The final post-credits scene wasn’t really worth the wait.

The movie also stars Judy Greer as Scott’s ex-wife Maggie, Bobby Cannavale as Maggie’s second husband Jim Paxton and the wonderful Abby Ryder Fortson as Scott and Maggie’s daughter Cassie. Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris and David Dastmalchian are Luis’ colleagues. Also starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym.

Is Ant-Man and the Wasp pleasant but non-essential, or is it what one Rotten Tomatoes audience critic a palate cleanser after Avengers: Infinity War, which naturally I have not seen? I enjoyed it for what it was, not what it did or did not represent.

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