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Serviceable Horror Flick
The first feature film from 2017's 'It' director, Andy Muschietti, 'Mama' is a visually striking but ultimately derivative when you think about it. Whether it be the story, visual cues, or plot twists and turns, Muschietti doesn't necessarily hide his influences and perhaps that's the point. But alas, 'Mama' never feels wholly original nor clever. It's a perfectly capable horror film that will provide just enough scares and intrigue for an audience, but it likely won't stay with you for more than a few days after viewing.
A Dog's Purpose (2017)
Be Here Now
Manipulative and at times contrived, 'A Dog's Purpose' is admittedly not the most polished script, but it can be wonderfully touching at times. Which pretty much describes just about every dog film over the last few decades. You know the cliches and touchstones that every dog movie typically hits, but even the worst of them can be moving to dog owners everywhere. A Dog's Purpose takes a different route, contending that a dog (or maybe every dog) can be reincarnated and come back through several lifetimes in order to support his/her owner. A brilliant idea, and if you have owned a dog, it doesn't even seem that much out of the realm of possibility. Lasse Hallstrom has developed a talent over the years for balancing the manipulative nature of the drama with real-genuine emotion, and he does so very well here as well.
Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne (2019)
A Dream of Spring
I can't even begin to count how many hours I've spent watching the show, reading articles, looking for interviews and set photos. Game of Thrones has consumed by life for the better part of the last decade, and now it's over. It's all over. And regardless of what the internet thinks, I think this finale was absolutely perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better end to the journeys of all my favorite TV characters in one hour and a half long night of television. In a divisive and cynical time, I love that Game of Thrones' last big "twist" was that it ends in a somewhat predictable and hopeful way.
Of course, the episode didn't necessarily start that way, as we see the city in pieces following Daenerys' destruction last week. Watching Tyrion stare Dany in the face, call her out on her BS and throw the Hand of the King pin to the side was brilliantly bold and bada**. If they were going to kill Tyrion, that was a pretty awesome way to end his arc. Luckily, we had a scene with Jon & Tyrion that was just what Jon needed to do what had to be done.
I think we all figured Dany's days were numbered after last week, we just weren't sure how exactly she would be killed. It was always expected to be Jon, but having him do it right before she was about to sit on the Throne she spent SEASONS trying to reach, was devastatingly tragic, but absolutely fitting. After all that, ultimately no one gets to sit on the Iron Throne. The next sequence, showcasing all of the Lords of Westeros gathered around Tyrion at first is a bit jarring, but you knew there had to be a nice way to wrap everyone's stories up, especially since there was merely 30 minutes to go. It becomes even more jarring when Tyrion pleads for Bran to be the one to take the Throne, but it all starts to click after that. He is the only one that can't possibly fall into the same sort of poison the throne brings upon everyone who desires it. He is the memory of this world.
Drogon takes Dany away, Jon takes the black once again, Tyrion is the new Hand of the King, Sam is grand maester, and Davos, Bronn, Brienne all sit on the new small council. I loved watching Brienne finish Jaime's page in the history of the Knights of the Seven Kingdoms book. Seeing the new small council argue over the small things in the world was fittingly bittersweet. Podrick alive and well and wheeling Bran around! Even seeing Grey Worm going to Naath felt right, though if I was a betting man I could have sworn he would have been toast this season.
This show started with the Starks, and I'm thrilled that it ended with the montage of the 3 remaining Starks (we don't count Bran anymore) and their new lives. Sansa as the new Queen of the *Independent* North, Arya going West of Westeros like I hoped, and finally Jon going home, going North. And YES he got his pets to Ghost! It's truly only fitting that we see that one green plant North of The Wall, A DREAM OF SPRING. Thank you Game of Thrones, for everything.
Gosford Park (2001)
One Weekend in England
As big of a film buff as I am, I've never seen a Robert Altman film until Gosford Park, so perhaps I didn't really know what I was in for. For a murder mystery thriller, GosFord Park is paced unusually slow, and rather than showing the audience anything for character development, the film instead decides to give it all to us via dialogue. Which, in certain instances can be a good thing, but exposition only goes so far. I felt as though too often the film was obsessed with putting 20 characters (you hardly know) in a room together to keep us guessing on who committed said crime (which doesn't even happen until over an hour in) and not on developing the actual story around those characters. But it's also one of those times where a second watch may improve the viewing experience a bit, perhaps. But I do know one thing, this film is the exact reason I don't watch shows like Downton Abbey.
The Grace Period is Over
Remember how much of a surprise it was to see the quality of the first John Wick, after years of middling Keanu movies? It feels like with Chapter 3, that effect has worn off, at least a little bit. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum is a helluva ride, but one that can't quite maintain a 130 minute runtime, a full 30 minutes longer than the first film. I've never been one to try and say how long certain genre films should be, especially since barriers shouldn't be put on any director if they have a certain goal in mind.
With that said, when 80 percent of your movie is high octane gun battles or hand to hand combat fighting, there's only a particular amount of action you can take. Whether or not I liked it, I was subconsciously feeling drained from the experience once the third act kicked in, and that's never a good thing.
Couple that with a villain who never feels as much of a threat to Wick as the film wants us to believe, which brings up a bigger issue about the fact that this series hasn't truly found the right match for its titular assassin. Much like the first two films, I can certainly see myself going back and watching individual scenes, particularly the one in the library, the motorcycle chase, and the one with Halle Berry & the dogs, but I don't know that I'm ever going to watch the entire film again. This is not to mention just how ridiculous that ending was, but we can talk more about that once news of a John Wick 4 inevitably arrives. Sigh.
Bastille Day (2016)
James Bond Warm-Up
'The Take' feels like it has all the major trademarks of the 'Action-crime-drama', which is why it takes a good cast & crew to separate itself from cliches and predictability. The concept is great: an unlikely team-up, a pickpocket gets caught up in a terrorist plot and is forced to join up with a CIA agent. Pair Richard Madden and Idris Elba as the two characters and you have two people that can elevate pretty much anything they're in. The first half does a nice job of subverting your expectations, something the second & third act seem to forget about accomplishing. The reason for that being that the scope of the film continues to increase with each scene, thus losing the thrill of having this being a smaller-scale crime-thriller. At first it feels like the 2016 film 'Focus', then a little more like 'The Purge' franchise, perhaps throw in a little 'Fast & Furious', and you have 'The Take'. A good film in its own right, though, all I could think about was how much I would still love to see Elba & Madden play James Bond one day.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
Nature vs Nurture
I can always appreciate when a movie or TV show gives us an entirely different perspective on a subject than we were accustomed to before. 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' centralizes a story about a mother dealing with the massacre her son has committed at his school. It's not often these tragedies make it to the big screen, but this one separates itself from the pack with a poignant performance from Tilda Swinton, as the mother to Ezra Miller's 'Kevin', a troubled boy who commits an unspeakable act. At the very least, this is a fascinating look into how a mother deals with the horrific things her son does while trying to balance her public presence in a town that despises her and family life, which isn't much better. An unsettled story like this is certainly difficult to direct, which is why Lynne Ramsay deserves a great amount of credit for grappling with the source material in a meaningful yet non-exploitative fashion.
Arrow: You Have Saved This City (2019)
The Beginning of the End
There's no real reason for me to waste energy like I usually do ranting about this show every week. Tonight's episode certainly wasn't great, but I did at least feel the weight of the last 20 minutes - and how this episode truly is the end of an era.
Being that it was Emily Bett Rickards final performance as Felicity, the episode was bound to give her a big send off. While she didn't die in the future storyline like some may have thought, she did leave her daughter Mia and adopted son William so that she can go see Oliver with the Monitor, wherever he may end up after this coming year's crossover.
Seeing the OTA together one last time down in the bunker was a particularly impactful scene, especially since you can clearly see Stephen Amell's real life emotion seep through the character. That certainly got me a little bit, even if the rest of the episode is the most forgettable finale this show has ever had. It truly begs the question, how exactly does this show end this fall? If Oliver is already with The Monitor, is he not going to appear in the present day storyline until the crossover? Is he going to be "training" to stop the crisis from happening? No matter, it still incredibly hard to believe this show is coming to an end.
Game of Thrones: The Bells (2019)
"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention"
Remember when The Red Wedding happened and how shocking that was but then you re-watch and realize it was all entirely inevitable and ultimately unavoidable? To me, the same can be said for Daenerys' ultimate turn into the 'Mad Queen'. It's always been in her. It was in her when her brother died, when she burned the Tarly's, or really every time she's ever said the word "Dracarys". Whether you like it or not, this was her endgame and it was always going to be that way. If only Rhaegar didn't love Lyanna right?
This episode was beyond extraordinary, it was brutally devastating, shocking, tragic. All of the above, to be honest. I can't truly put into words how epic tonight was. Miguel Sapochnik did it again, in what may be the best episode he's ever done, possibly topping the Battle of the B*st*rds. The Battle of Winterfell/The Long Night was one thing, this was something else entirely. In a way, fulfilling Dany's dream sequence from season 2 at the House of the Undying, Dany will now walk into the Throne Room (not covered in snow, but rather, ash) after nearly the entire city of King's Landing gets burnt to the ground and thousands of civilians burnt to the crisp.
Much like the best battles this show has ever done, it rarely goes the way you think. Wildfire, The Vale appearing, Dany saving them beyond the wall, or Arya's last second strike, I was on the edge of my seat the entire night, and that goes to show you just how impeccable this episode is directed. We got Cleganebowl and Jaime dying in the arms of Cersei, both things fans wanted to see, and this is all amidst the destruction of King's Landing with Arya's trek through the streets.
In the words of the horrible Ramsay Bolton in season 3 "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention".
So what is that ending now? We have one episode left and half the main cast is gone. Does it come down to Jon fulfilling the Prince Who Was Promised prophecy (in a roundabout way) and kill Dany, with a sword through her heart? Like I was saying a few weeks back, does the power leave King's Landing now that it's in ash and go to the North? Does Jon ultimately sit on whatever's left of 'The Throne'? I would bet money he leaves it all behind and goes North, but who knows. That's why we love this show.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)
For some people, the PG-13 humor in Once Upon a Deadpool didn't work, but I actually thought it hit pretty well, proving that Ryan Reynolds is far more versatile of a comedic actor than perhaps given credit for. Detective Pikachu is rated PG, and he still finds a way to entertain with irreverent and risque humor, as the titular character himself. In what is essentially a universal building spin-off to begin a new franchise, Detective Pikachu is great light hearted fun perhaps a little cliche and isn't the first new 'Pokemon universe' film people wanted, but it certainly proves there is something here cinematically that demands more entries.
Long Shot (2019)
Never Thought I Would Believe a Theron-Rogen Romance, Until Now
After just declaring 'Booksmart' as the surprise hit of the summer, I may have spoken too early, as 'Long Shot' does just about almost everything right in a rom-com. Using some cliches - subverting others, while focusing hardest on developing the chemistry between its leads. Perhaps most unexpectedly, I completely bought into the romance between Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, and that's not something I ever thought I was going to say. Perhaps a little creepy at times, Rogen's 'Fred Flarsky' is far more intelligent than his other roles, and he's only *sometimes* the butt of the joke. It's only in the third act when things began to tip-toe into Seth Rogen's gross out raunchy style of humor, but at that point you're already invested in the characters enough to reach the end without too many complaints. Make no mistake, Long Shot is a must see.
For the Most Part - Opposite of What the Title Suggests
There's something about serial killers that we as an audience find undeniably fascinating. I don't really know what it is, other than putting yourself in a world that 99% of us will never come close to. Ted Bundy's story is among America's most notorious, vile, evil, and wicked. However, the film never dives deep enough to give the audience that type of reaction. And you can make the argument that doing so would be exploitive and off putting, and your more than likely right, but I expected to be more unsettled by Zac Efron's turn as Ted Bundy. The last 20 minutes are really well handled though, especially as Lily Collins' 'Liz Kendall' finally begins to invite us into her psyche, but perhaps all too late. Perhaps a story like this does ultimately work much better in a TV series/Documentary format. - i.e. the Netflix one earlier this year.
A Dog Year (2009)
Lacks a Punch, but It's About a Pup, a Really *Good* pup.
A dog movie that's not overly manipulative? That's one in a million. In all seriousness, 'A Dog Year' doesn't contain those certain scenes that most dog films too, or at least they don't play it off like something like Marley & Me. But it also doesn't necessarily have the heart that something like A Hachi's Tale or Megan Leavey do. So while it doesn't reinvent the genre in any way, it's a quick 80 minutes that gives you an enjoyable Jeff Bridges performances and plenty of good pup pup moments. I'll take it.
The Surprise of the Summer
It's not often I get to see movies early, but when I got the opportunity to see 'Booksmart' a few weeks before its release (being that the trailers were fantastic), I knew I had to jump at the chance. If it wasn't already obvious, Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein have impeccable chemistry, and always fill the screen with just the right amount of energy and heart, in what could be considered one of the best high school films of the last 15 years. Combining realistic drama with laugh-loud gut busting humor, 'Booksmart' (if marketed correctly) could be the surprise film of the summer. It felt like just the right combination of The Spectacular Now meets Superbad. And believe me, both of those tones work wonder for this movie.
How I Live Now (2013)
Go In Blind
I love going into a movie blind. Avoiding trailers for newly released movies is effective but inevitably I'll find myself stumbling upon a synopsis or tweet review. Luckily, when going back and watching older movies, it's much easier to avoid marketing material. That's the predicament I found myself in with 'How I Live Now', only knowing about it because Saoirse Ronan is one of my favorite actresses. Posing as a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, it's much more psychologically romantic than anything else. I wasn't necessarily on board with the romance however, for obvious reasons you'll know once you see the movie, it was nonetheless, an always interesting, always engaging watch. The way it manages to mix a handful of genres should be applauded, at the very least.
Missing Link (2019)
I really do wish I liked Laika's films more than I do. There's something so endearing about the way they make movies, but I can't seem to connect to the stories as much as Pixar/Disney animation. Missing Link is far better than the trailers made it out to be, containing even a few true laugh out loud moments. Anchored by strong voice-over performances from Hugh Jackman and Zach Galifianakis, Missing Link is a serviceable animated adventure in a very crowded 2019. I sure hope Laika can find a nice balance of the creative energy they always bring to the table, with a more universally welcoming story, something akin to what Pixar does.
Unicorn Store (2017)
Much in the same vein of 2017's Lady Bird with Greta Gerwig, this movie felt like a semi-autobiographical version of Brie Larson's life. And maybe that's because right off the bat, she uses real life footage of her childhood and the story certainly seems to have a personal touch to it as well. Sadly, the quirky tone and meandering plot don't do a whole lot for the end result, but it can still be enjoyed by even the most cynical folks. I'd like to see more from Brie behind the camera, we already know how good she can be in front of it.
Arrow: Living Proof (2019)
In the good seasons of Arrow, the penultimate episode has been among the shows best. I think back to season 1's Darkness on the Edge of Town, season 2's Streets of Fire, and season 5's Missing. It's always the episode that sets up the inevitable battle for Star City which used to claim the lives of a main character. That tactic is no more, as the show has spent more time trying to expand the cast, than expand on the characters already existing.
Alas, this year's penultimate episode was... just ....fine? I never found myself invested or paying close attention like I used to be, but it's not like I was telling at the screen with anger either. It's been more apathy of late. Who really cares anymore?
We spent almost the entire episode inside a broken building, as Oliver and the team tried to make their way out. Or course, in typical Arrow fashion, they used Tommy has a hallucination for Oliver/plot device. Basically to manipulate the audience a few times, only for it all to be a dream sequence. Some things will never change. That's all I got. Get me to the finale.
A Targaryen Alone in the World is a Terrible Thing
Wow. For all the people last week complaining about The Great War being over and that Game of Thrones was making the wrong decision about the real big bad of the show, this episode did a whole lot to swing the tide. Much like last week, my legs were shaking with angst and stomach constantly turning, waiting for the inevitable to happen. Waiting for characters I love to die. RIP Missandei and Rhaegal. Dany's team gets smaller and smaller as the weeks pass.
Dave and Dan (showrunners) are right, Dany is now at a similar point in her life to how she was at the start of the show, alone. And as Maester Aemon once said "A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing". That makes me really worried for her, although technically Jon is one too, but we all know where that situation stands.
I really loved the first 20 minutes or so, mourning the dead but also celebrating the fact that they actually won the great war. Tormund was his usual self, Gendry was proclaimed Lord of Storm's End, and even Tyrion got Jaime, Pod, and Brienne to play his drinking game. But the real thing of note here is how Dany feels during all of this. Everyone is getting praise and celebrating with their friends and loved ones while Dany sits alone and watches as her claim gets diminished in the process. I know we've all been hard on her the past few seasons, but I really felt bad for her tonight. Think about all she's gone through and lost, just within the last few episodes. She's the definition of a loner.
After Jon went against Daenerys' desire and told his family about his true heritage (which admittedly I really wanted to see on screen), the truth inevitably found its way to Tyrion and Varys. The latter of which I could of sworn was going to die this week. The truth about Jon gave those two a few scenes in which we're meant to believe they will eventually betray Dany to support Jon's claim, which of course means nothing because he simply doesn't want it. Even in this episode I keep flipping back and forth as to who I believe will die between Dany & Jon, or even both at this point.
I should probably mention just how nice it was to finally see Brienne and Jaime acknowledge their love for one another, even if the former surely loves him way more than he cares for her, which makes it even more devastating when Jaime decides to leave her at Winterfell and head south. I tend to believe he's going back to try and stop Cersei and fingers crossed kill her, but the scene could be interpreted multiple ways.
A few other goodbyes seem to indicate that Jon will never return North, he says goodbye to Sam, Tormund and even Ghost. That broke my heart, but at least Ghost is still breathing, I was a little worried after last week.
The only problem I had with the episode was that it didn't handle Danerys' arrival to King's landing all that well. So we're just going to ride the Dragons right up to the coast and risk getting them taken out, which Rhaegal did? Logistically it didn't seem to make much sense, though i guess at her emotional level, she may make some irrational decisions, much like Jon does when his emotions get the better of him. It was also a weird choice for her to walk that close to the walls of King's Landing with her *very small* Unsullied army and expect anything good to happen. But that final sequence was marvelous nevertheless.
A few other tidbits worth mentioning:
-The Hound and Arya back together again
-That Bronn scene actually had me very nervous
-Jon saying the dead heroes were the shield that guarded the realms of men was a nice addition
-Gilly and Sam naming their kid Jon was heartwarming
Triple Frontier (2019)
Assembling an all-star cast of prominent actors, Triple Frontier is a riveting action-heist film about a team of war veterans reuniting to pull "one last job" against a drug lord in Columbia. The first thing to note is that the camaraderie is easily believable between Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, Charlie Hunnam, and Pedro Pascal. In just a few scenes, director J.C. Chandor establishes a bond and a history between these five guys, and you never need to see a single flashback to do it. And really the entire first half of the film is about building up the team, whether that be through dialogue or action, only to enact a brutal second half. One that certainly has payoff, but never truly capitalizes on the building intensity of the first & second act. However, I really liked the last few scenes, which gave the entire film & mission extra weight.
Huge Win for DC
My initial concern about Shazam! is that it wouldn't take itself seriously enough. Whether it be Guardians 2, the Ant-Man Films, or dare I say the Fantastic Four films, I've never been a huge fan of the comic book films that lack earnestness and try to make a joke out of everything. The trailers for Shazam! were lackluster to say the least, and I never found myself excited for its release, which is perhaps a product of being merely a few weeks before Avengers Endgame. Alas, Shazam! is an utter blast. It's every bit as earnest and fun as something like Aquaman while displaying more heart than I originally thought. Zachary Levi was great as the titular hero, and I even liked Mark Strong as the villain, Dr. Sivana. Heck, it was even funnier than most Marvel movies, and for DC that's saying A LOT. Interested to see how The Rock's Black Adam factors into the sequel, that is, if that (6 year old casting) is still in play.
Arrow: Confessions (2019)
A Structural Change Can't Save This Season
This shouldn't come as any sort of surprise, being that we're 20 episodes into what is undoubtedly the worst year of the show, but this episode did next to nothing for the movement of the plot. I get it, they changed up the structure of the episode and tried to throw curve balls at us a few times, but ultimately don't we end up in the same place we started? Emiko is the villain, and I guess 'big bad' and our heroes are not on the same side as the police. Did we need an entire episode stressing that to us once again? Why not actually showcase Emiko doing something akin to Slade in season 2? Maybe show the ramifications of her actions? Perhaps she actually hurts Oliver in some way emotionally or physically? Disappointingly this show has fallen into the trap of telling it's audience how bad and evil their villains are without actually showing us anything we haven't seen. If this was the middle of the season I wouldn't be complaining this much, but we have 2 episodes left! Even with the attempt at changing up structures, there's not much to cheer about this week.
Game of Thrones: The Long Night (2019)
For all of the predictions I made about The Battle of Winterfell, the only one I was absolutely spot on about was that the episode would be titled 'The Long Night'. This show from the very beginning (and the books too for that matter) has always been about subverting expectations, so I really do appreciate the showrunners sticking to that notion for what may be their biggest episode of all time. I knew before the season based on the directors announced that episode 3 and 5 would be battle weeks (Miguel Sapochnik is directing after all), but I figured in some way shape or form, The Night King was going to be involved in both battles. I mean the show wouldn't miss out on the opportunity to bring 'Winter' to King's Landing right?
Rian Johnson's tweet last night summed up fandom pretty nicely as he said "god***it I had this whole amazing Night King theory", which is essentially a nod to Star Wars fandom overreacting to Snoke's death in Episode 8. Alas, they actually did it, they won The Battle of Winterfell and killed The Night King, in all its shocking glory. After seeing Hardhome so many times, I thought there was no way it would be anyone else but Jon to kill him, but the Arya twist was welcomed to me. Especially since they've pretty much been setting it up for awhile now. Arya sneaking up on Jon and getting the dagger she used (Catspaw) right in front of the tree, as well as her conversation with Melisandre all the way back in season 3, all leading to the moment where she did that bada** knife move.
The battle itself was nothing short of remarkable. Much like in The Battle of the Bastards, Sapochnik wants you to feel like you're in the heart of the battlefield. Whether it's seeing The Unsullied getting smothered by waves of walkers, the winter storm that blinds the dragon's sight, the oner's on the ground following several characters, or even Arya's haunted house moment, this was excellently shot. And yes, I'm acknowledging that those first 20 minutes were on the harder side to actually see what was going on. But that was entirely on purpose.
The fallen included Beric, Ed, Melisandre, Lyanna, Jorah, and Theon. All important characters in their own right, but the big ones were really Jorah and Theon. Both going out protecting the people they love and in beautifully tragic fashion. My heart breaks for Jorah who will never get to see Dany on the throne and Theon who finally got the acknowledgement of Bran that he was a good man. Yes, I certainly expected there to be even more deaths, but if you have too many, then it loses its impact.
There's so much more I could dig into, like the Sansa & Tyrion stuff, Jon charging The Night King, Grey Worm's survival, and all that Dragon on Dragon fight, but my overall thoughts were that I really enjoyed how this episode was handled. I legitimately can't remember the last episode of television that had me jumping up and down and yelling at the screen. But that's Thrones for ya.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Part of the Journey is the End
What's funny about Endgame is that it's actually the first Avengers movie where they do in fact 'Avenge'. After the Thanos snap, half the population of the universe disappeared and thus creating the biggest problem the team has ever had to fix. Luckily, Scott and Tony figured out a way to time travel, to undo the snap and attempt to bring back all the people they lost.
It's tough to comprehend just how good this film is. On one hand, I do have some minor issues with the middle act as well as questions about all this time travel and the lack of ramifications. However, on the other hand, (and I hate making this as an excuse) but it is a superhero movie after all. How much do you forgive a plot hole here or there? The answer lies with how well you like the 3rd act. Because I do believe the last 45 minutes is some of the best film ever put to screen. The amount of pay-off and satisfaction you get as all 22 films have led to that moment is something I will never forget. I've seen the film twice now, and I nearly teared up merely seeing the portals open, among about 10 other small moments that moved me as well.
Of course the MCU will go on and make more billions upon billions as the universe continues to expand, but it won't be the same. We'll never get another core Avengers movie with this cast, and no matter how much or little your invested in the MCU, that has to mean something to you. It made the middle act worth it when the heroes go back and have to relive certain events that we've seen play out in other MCU films. But naturally, that act of the film does play out slower and more plotting than anything else. You certainly feel the lack of Thanos during those sequences. And I think that was my biggest gripe, the antagonist (Thanos) is only really there in the beginning and end, so you never feel true danger that our heroes aren't going to recover the stones for use one more time.
With that said, I think the original crew truly give us their best performances yet, and that starts with Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., the heart and soul of this series. I'll admit I did not expect them to kill off only Tony and keep Steve alive, but their arcs are almost perfectly capped off here. Pepper says it perfectly to Tony "We're going to be alright, you can rest now".
There's not a whole lot to this review, it' mostly just initial thoughts, but if I can stress one thing over anything else, it's thank you. Thank you to Kevin Feige, the Russo Bros, and everyone involved in making this and the other MCU films. It's been one of the greatest pleasures of my life seeing this universe unfold the way it has and it's hard to imagine not having the next phase of films already in the pipeline but Endgame puts a stamp on the end of this series like not other. This was something special, and I don't think we'll ever see it again.
Mo Father's, Mo Problems
With last week focusing on Felicity and Laurel, this episode is centered around Diggle, who I feel like hasn't had his own arc in quite some time. Further cementing the fact that these shows are far too bloated with characters. The only real development we have season wise here is that Emiko killed Dante, which I guess would make her the "big bad" of this season, even tho this year has strayed so far away from it's typical formula, to its detriment. It's gotten to the point of me not necessarily caring how they get there, but I just want it to be over. It's time.