Avengers: Endgame review

Warning! This review “obviously” contains SPOILERS.

Avengers: Endgame marks the end of an era in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This now holds the record of being the longest movie I’ve seen in theaters (previously held by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey). It does feel really long at times which is not exactly a bad thing considering that this is a really big story but the first half did seem a little dragging at times. Now with my problems out of the way let’s talk about our heroes.

The characters as usually work wonderfully off each other. Big Lebowski Thor and Dr. Hulk were really entertaining and an interesting change for them. The characters here are probably at the lowest point and bring out a lot of emotional moments. There’s a tense scene where Scott Lang tries to look for Cassie’s name in a list of people who were snapped and then finding her as a teenager. You can see the relief confusion and relief in Paul Rudd’s performance. Ant Man surprisingly plays a big role in the movie, well technically his technology does. It helps show a lot of fun fan service and a clever way to show deceased characters. It’s kind of the like Back to the Future Part 2 (FYI Back to the Future is not bullshit!). There’s a bunch of fun scenes like Captain America vs past Captain America and seeing Peter Quill dancing without music. I will admit some of the explanations of time travel here are confusing to the point where it would be hard to talk about in this review.

What better way to end the review than to talk about the third half. Everything about this third half is perfect! After finally getting all the stones they snap everything to normal but when all seemed good, Thanos returns. Iron Man Thor and Captain America fight Thanos and then all the Avengers that got snapped including Spider Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy join in. There are so many characters in this climax and each of them gets at least one moment to shine and it’s just awesome! In the end Iron Man uses the infinity stones to disintegrate Thanos (poetic isn’t it?) but unfortunately dies in the process. It’s really sad since he was my favorite Avenger it felt like a genuinely good sendoff for him. Captain America also has a great sendoff when he stays in the past to be with Peggy Carter and finally have his date. The dance and use of It’s Been a Long, Long Time is brilliant because it bookends Captain America the First Avenger and Winter Solider (Russo Brother’s first movie). Such a bittersweet yet wonderful way to end an era in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

April 2019 released three really great movies that I’ve enjoyed. Avenger: Endgame is an emotional conclusion to many of these great characters. Though it is called Endgame in a way is also the beginning….game….(you get the idea) of a new era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Thank you Stan Lee for giving us these great heroes and stories that everyone has enjoyed for 11 years.

+ Bittersweet ending
+ The characters
+ Fan service
+ The final battle
+/- Time Travel
– Running time

Score: A+

Missing Link review

You know what animated studio hasn’t made a bad movie yet? That would be Laika. Missing Link is the 5th stop motion movie from the stop motion studio. This came out ironically after Warner Bro’s Smallfoot which was kind of similar and before DreamWorks’s Abominable. Why are studios obsessing over animated movies about big furry creatures that live in the forest or mountains recently? Maybe it’s a new fad. The breakout star of Missing Link is of course the Missing Link himself Mr. Link or Susan played by Zach Galifianakis. There’s such an innocence and likability to him. The chemistry between him and Sir Lionel Frost played by Hugh Jackman is enjoyable to watch.

Missing Link’s story is a really simple and charming story about an adventurer who helps Mr. Link reach the Himalayas to find his cousins. While the story is simple to follow it’s very predictable. Just by watching the trailer I could tell where the story was going and kind of how it ends. It also kind of suffers the same flaw from Kubo and the Two Strings where the adventure was kind of all for nothing since Lionel decides to let Susan stay with him as a partner instead of staying in the Himalayas.

Laika never disappoints when it comes to stop motion animation and the animation in Missing Link is just as great as the previous movies. A nice little detail I noticed in the movie was in the rainy scenes. The characters really do look wet and dripping from the characters is impressive. I wonder how wetness is done in stop motion? The characters go to a lot of locations around the world such as the Washington forest, western desert, India jungle, and snowy mountains. The locations are all very colorful and unique. Sure it kind of goes all over the place but isn’t that the idea of an adventure?

The movie doesn’t have the scare factor of Coraline or the action of Kubo and the Two Strings but it does have a real sense of adventure like the latter. Missing Link is really charming and fun stop motion animated movie that humans and sasquatchs can enjoy together. My Mom even considered this her favorite Laika movie.

+ Animation
+ Colorful locations
+ Zach Galifianakis as Mr.Link
+ Simple though……
– Predictable story
– Shaggy dog story

Score: A

MLP: FIM The Beginning of the End review

As you can tell by the title season 9 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is to be the final season and it felt right to do a review of the final season premiere. I’m not surprised since I felt like they should finish the show now before it goes all Simpsons, Arthur or Spongebob on us. Celestia and Luna’s retirement made it obviously that we are reaching the beginning of the end.

Twilight Sparkle’s struggle on taking over as ruler of Equestria is pretty understandable and it makes sense since Celestia and Lunda confirmed retirement and Twilight coronation would be in a few days giving her much more stress and concerns. In the end it makes sense that the princesses delay their retirement knowing that Twilight does need time to adjust. Having Grogar be the main villain is a brilliant idea and a fun nod from the 1st genration. It’s also cool to see all the previous villains come back. If I could predict the rest of season 9, each villain is going to attempt and fail at conquering Equestria. I like how so many characters got involved like Star Swirl, and even Discord.

The first half ends with your typical mane 6 defeating the villain and saving the day but then takes a bad turn when the tree of harmony is destroyed and King Sombra comes back, brainwashes everyone and the Everfree forest starts growing evil vines again. So as you can see there were so much stakes and it’s handled very well. I also like how it’s their friendship that saves the day instead of the elements of harmony.

This in my opinion the best season premiere since the pilot two-parter. For a final season premiere this was a really great way to start series concluding season.

Shazam! review

It’s ironic that Shazam! released the same year as Marvel’s Captain Marvel since that was also the heroes’ name in the comics. I actually thing this was better than Captain Marvel. Yeah you heard me. DC managed to make a superhero movie better than a Marvel movie this year. I would compare Shazam! to Spiderman Homecoming since both focused on a kid protagonist and were both more lighthearted.

Zachary Levi is perfectly casted as adult Billy Batson and brings so much life and heart to this hero that would have been difficult to bring to life. Mark Strong while a standard take of the world villain is also wonderfully casted as Doctor Sivana. The kid actors are also really good too. Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer have a fun dynamic as young Billy and Freddy. The other foster kids are also enjoyable and have their own personalities.

One of the problems with the recent DC movies were that the stories were complicated. Shazam’s story however is very simple. It’s about a kid in a foster home who finds a magic wizard, gets superpowers and fights a villain. The movie’s tone manages to balance both comedy and emotion. There are a lot of fun moments like the montage (bonus points for using my favorite Queen song). The comedy is really funny mostly because of performances and moments poking fun at the other DC heroes. I will say that the action scenes are kind of standard for a superhero movie. The climax keeps cutting back and forth between Shazam vs Sivana and the other Shazam heroes. To be fair that’s not really the focus of the movie. The focus is really on the theme of family. The emotional parts come from Billy’s relationships with Freddy and the foster home. I heard this movie takes place at Christmas because it matches the theme of family.

You know come to think of it, the bad DCEU movies focus on Superman and Batman and the good ones focus on the other heroes like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and of course Shazam! Shazam! has a lot of the fun and emotion that DC has been missing lately. There’s no contest that Shazam! is the best DCEU movie and the best DC superhero movie since The Dark Knight.

+ Balanced tone
+ Cast
+ Comedy
+ Simple Story
+ Zachary Levi
– Standard action scenes

Score: A


Dumbo review

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Disney’s fourth animated movie Dumbo in my opinion is the Disney equivalent of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. It’s the most simple in the cannon but still cute. I think we all agree that Tim Burton is probably the last person you’d want to direct this. The closes thing to Tim Burton’s visual style in the original was the pink elephant scene which is probably why he got the job.

The title character Dumbo is really likable. While he’s not the most realistically CGI animated character he’s still cute and likable. Instead of animal character we have human characters now and unfortunately the cast didn’t really stand do much for me especially Nico Parker as the daughter who’s performance felt really wooden and bored. The only actor I think did put some effort into his role was Danny DeVito as the ringmaster because hey it’s Danny DeVito he’s usually fun in anything he does (except the Lorax).

Like most Disney remakes Dumbo suffers in its story. While it tried to be different from the original it. Most of the movie is about the kids trying to help Dumbo fly which would get them enough money to get his mother back. Later when they’re in Dreamland is just so happens that Jumbo is also there. It feels way too convenient. Speaking of Dreamland I actually do like the amusement park setting in the 2nd half. Unlike most fictional amusement parks like Retroland from Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius this one takes place in 1919. The old fashion style helps Dreamland stand out and I think they took a lot of inspiration from Disneyland. I also like seeing Dreamland at night because for some reason they remind me a lot of Disneyland at nighttime.

Tim Burton’s Dumbo is kind of like the 2016 remake of Pete’s Dragon, same main character but with new characters and story. Dumbo isn’t horrible, it’s just another Disney remake and considering the original movie is an hour long it’s difficult to make this into a 2 hour long movie. Tim Burton’s Dumbo is kind of your standard safe Disney remake. One Disney remake down two more to go.

+ Danny DeVito
+ Dreamland
+ Dumbo
– Jumbo convenience
– Meh acting
– Too safe

Score: C