Endgame is Here
So many things, and without spoiling anything, let's talk about them.
The acting - on my second viewing, I was able to pick up (in a technical sense, and because I was looking for it), where the actors may not have been filmed together. So much of Endgame was a secret, that many scenes were filmed with characters in front of green screens, not even knowing who they're talking to.
That's kind of a big deal.
Especially since you can't tell when it comes to the end result. I knew what to look for, and so I could spot moments that were likely filmed separate, but on my first viewing (and even on my second), I didn't care. The acting is phenomenal. They did their job - they made me feel what they were feeling.
I want to give a special shout out to Scarlett Johanssen. She's never been my favorite actress, mainly for the parts she plays, but she had me in her grip every scene she starred in. In the end, her performance was one of - if not the - strongest in the entire film.
The directing - Infinity War had some CGI issues that felt awkward and out of sorts (I'm looking at you, Thanos, Rhodey, and Banner), and actually pulled me from the story. Because of this, I felt a bit nervous on how the Russo brothers would tell their final story.
Happily for me, whatever hiccups there were in Infinity War, they made no appearance in Endgame. This movie outdid its predecessors in scale and ambition when it came to the visual feel, and every single scene shone like diamonds. The Russos pulled out all the stops and gave the greatest work of their careers thus far. I want them to top Endgame, because I want to see more movies that make me in awe of cinema the way they did here.
As I said before, many of the actors were filmed separately from each other, but the way the Russos handled this it's only possible to tell if you know what to look for. Genius.
The story - Obviously I can't actually tell you anything about the story.
What I WILL tell you is that it's compelling, interesting, and well told. As you know, I struggled with the plot holes in Infinity War, and I feared Endgame would follow suit.
No plot holes.
I haven't seen a story told this well in this genre in ages. Decades. It hit every spot it needed to. It was funny at the right moments and sad at the right moments. Serious and silly. Somber and action-packed. It does everything it needs to do to be a fulfilling and satisfying end to a 22 movie arc.
For 3 hours and 2 minutes long, I expect a lot out of each scene chosen to partake in the final story. I will say there's 1-2 scenes that feel unnecessary. They don't move the story forward. They are gratuitous (and once even acknowledged as so). Yet, for as long as the movie is, I still found myself wishing for five more minutes when it ended. That's a powerful thing.
There are no end credits scene. I REPEAT: there's nothing after initial credits or post credits.
I don't have a problem with the movie not having them, but I do have a problem with sitting through 25 minutes of trailers, 3 hours of movie, and another 20 minutes of credits only to find out there's nothing there. I'm telling you so that YOU can get up and get your legs moving. You're not missing anything. (Except a weird tinking noise like a blacksmith at work.)
4.9 feathers (those gratuitous scenes lost that .1)
If you're any sort of Marvel fan, you're already planning when you're going to see this movie (if you haven't already). If you're not sure where you stand on superhero films, make sure you've seen Civil War and Infinity War before stepping into the theater (or risk being super lost).
Go see it. Just do it.
With so many laughs, I almost thought I was at a Marvel movie. DC, the darker of the superhero genres, didn't let me laugh for too long before reminding me that they love nothing more than to crush the hearts of those watching.
There were dark moments, to be sure, especially in our first introduction to the Seven Deadly Sins. These monsters (demons?) were creepy, and maybe not for the sensitive youngsters out there.
Shazam's shining moments were found in its underlying theme of family. Billy is sent to a group home, and the foster parents love their kids with grace and sincerity. No matter what Billy throws at them, they're ready with open arms. So often in teen-focused movies these days we're presented with parents that are either absent, stupid, or uncaring. It's refreshing to see two individuals involved, in love, and devoted to their kids.
With the strongest, and most unique, story to come out of DC in ages, Shazam! is worth seeing. It's solid narrative, humor, fun, and action all rolled together.
The problem with Shazam! is it didn't stand up to afterthought. You know, that time after a movie where you replay scenes and story in your mind, think about what you watched, and draw conclusions.
Shazam! ran against a deadly sin in the world of movies.
The villain, Dr. Sivana, is nowhere near as terrifying as those who give him his power, but those who gave him his powers don't live up to their frightening introduction.
Despite presenting the Sins as horrific, violent monsters in an early, traumatizing (in a good way) scene, they never again rise to the occasion. There comes a point where I should be worried/frightened/concerned/anxious for the heroes, but I can't.
I never felt afraid.
I never felt the stakes were high enough to really care.
I enjoyed almost every minute of Shazam!, and I highly recommend seeing it. However, I still hope that DC continues to improve and doesn't rest on their success to coast into the future.
Personally, I feel DC is in an adolescent stage, and I look forward to seeing what they do in adulthood.
Initial viewing: 4 feathers
Afterthought review: 3.5 feathers
If you love superhero movies - and especially if you're a DC fan - go see Shazam!
It's worth it.
Captain Marvel is My Hero
The acting - Brie Larson isn't what you'd expect from a superhero. She's 5' 7", has soft features, and her voice is higher and more feminine than ladies chosen in movies past.
That's what makes her so great.
Carol Danvers isn't incredible because she's a tall modelesque woman with a deep sonorous voice.
She's incredible because she isn't.
She's an everyday woman. Someone people like me can relate to. She's not the tallest, the strongest, or the best. She struggles.
And Brie Larson carries it with grace and ease. I believe she is Carol Danvers. Not one minute did I feel she was acting.
As always, Samuel L Jackson soars, and the rest of the supporting cast is amazing.
Most importantly, Lashana Lynch gives a compelling performance as Carol Danvers' best friend - a regular, everyday single mother who goes toe to toe with crazy aliens without batting an eye.
Don't even get me started on Goose, artfully played by four different orange kitty cats.
The directing - Anna Boden, in partnership with Ryan Fleck, marks a first for a woman director AND writer for a female superhero story. Together with Geneva Robertson Dworet, they crafted a story for women by women. Boden and Fleck work seamlessly for stunning shots, emotional climaxes, and a boppin' 90s playlist.
The story -
1. Let's not compare Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. They're insanely different. Just because they're the only female superhero led films in their respective camps doesn't mean they should be going toe-to-toe.
2. I LOVE CAPTAIN MARVEL SO MUCH!
I don't want to go on and on about this story or give spoilers, but I could. I've seen it multiple times in theaters, and each time it resonates more within me.
I love that Carol isn't the strongest or the best at the outset. She's limited, emotional, and chastised by her leaders. Stay in line, Carol. Don't act out, Carol.
Despite these orders, her sassy, brassy, fiery self can't help but shine through. If I were to enneagram Carol Danvers, I'd guess she was an eight.
Carol isn't someone who can be kept down. In fact, a key moment in the movie is just that - Carol being pushed down.
She always gets back up.
It's a great role model for girls everywhere. They'll tell you that you can't. They'll deny your agency. They'll push you down and tell you you're just a girl.
But you get back up.
Just like Carol Danvers.
Captain Marvel is the movie I've been waiting for. The little girl Kelsey couldn't get enough. I know who I'm going to be for Halloween.
This movie has it all - strong female leads, strong POC characters, strong narrative. It's a movie about justice, friendship, and that it's never too late to do the right thing.
Potentially disorienting for anyone who isn't familiar with Ronan, Guardians of the Galaxy, or the Tesseract.
I've seen Captain Marvel three times in theaters. What are you waiting for?
Ranting, raving, loving every minute of it - let's talk movies.