6 Gems to Keep in Mind While Watching ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (SPOILER WARNING)

After eleven years and twenty-two movies later, the “Infinity Saga” has officially come to an end.

Marvel President, Kevin Feige had an idea, to build a franchise that is all interconnected and would eventually culminate the longform story structure into a daring finale.

It’s easier to breakdown what happened and look over the MCU as a whole. So, here are the major clues from other films in the MCU, which will all make sense while watching “Avengers: Endgame”

The most important question after watching “Infinity War” is “What happened after the snap?”

Thanos believed that he restored balance to the universe by wiping out 50% of humanity. At the end of “Infinity War”, we see that half of the heroes have vanished and the original Avengers have stayed back.

Before vanishing, Doctor Strange went forward in time and saw all the possible outcomes before fighting Thanos. He then gave up the time stone to Thanos in order to carry out the proper plan to defeat him. As “Sorcerer Supreme” it was his duty to protect the time stone because it’s a power source for him, so when he gave up the stone to Thanos, in exchange to save Tony Stark’s life, there must have been a reason for him to do so. The time stone is a major player going into “Endgame” because of the one outcome that can save them all.

At the beginning of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Scott Lang is alive, as he pops out of the Quantum Realm. He has an idea to use the realm and pinpoint an exact moment in time so they can time travel. It’s a simple plan and it’s the only option the Avengers have to get everyone back. Scott Lang was actually one of the best characters in Endgame because he had a lot to lose, he DID NOT stop fighting for his family, even when he had to talk Tony Stark into conducting this “time heist”. The trials that they conducted with Bruce Banner made for quite an entertaining schtick before Tony jumps in and saves the day with his “time gps”. The original 6, plus Nebula, Rocket and Rhodie all enter the realm and travel back to specific moments from previous films in which the stones appeared in. This was such a beautiful idea from the Russo’s, to incorporate the important moments for their characters and memorable ones for audiences.

INFINITY SAGA PHASE 1 PODCAST
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The previous films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have all been perfectly placed to lead up to ““Endgame””, starting with the first ““Avengers”” movie. The “Battle of New York” changed the trajectory of all the characters, but most importantly Tony Stark’s character arc. In this film, Tony Stark is introduced to space for the first time. He battled Loki and the Chitauri, which were from another realm. These aliens completely destroyed New York and from that moment, Tony Stark made it a point to create more weapons to keep the entire world safe. The aftermath of this film affected Tony Stark’s mental health, which was carried out in “Iron Man 3”. He had post traumatic stress disorder and was obsessed with building more suits, so he would always be protected. It wasn’t until “Age of Ultron” where his ultimate fear was revealed, due to Scarlet Witch and her mind control. She made him see the fate of The Avengers and it was death by Thanos. Since “Age of Ultron” Tony Stark had a personal vendetta against Thanos because of how obsessive he had become in keeping his loved ones safe from the Mad Titan. Tony Stark’s character arc is the most important heading into “Endgame” because of everything that he has been through with Thanos. The Marvel Cinematic Universe began with Tony Stark, so it is only fitting that he avenges the lives that were lost.

One of the most powerful Avengers also undergoes one of biggest transformations and the God of Thunder changes after the events in “Thor: The Dark World”. In this film the reality stone is discovered by Dr. Jane Foster on Earth. Jane noticed that various portals have appeared around her area and the laws of physics had been suspended. She entered this abandoned building, where the power was at its strongest and she ends up entering another realm. After entering she is infected with the “Aether”, otherwise known as the reality stone. Thor’s father, Odin, then warns Thor that Jane is out of reach and he can no longer track her whereabouts. He then goes to save Jane and they have to remove the “aether” from her body. He brings Jane to Asgard in order to keep her safe because an enemy force wants the “Aether”. In order to keep her and the stone safe, Thor’s mother, Frigga ends up sacrificing herself in order to protect Jane from the Dark Elves. In this film, Thor loses his mother and renounces the throne. He becomes more humble and acknowledges his own faults. As Thor navigates his way through the other films he finally comes into his own in “Thor:Ragnarok”, he had a purpose to protect his people. In “Infinity War”, Thor is the one to attack Thanos with all the power he had gained from his axe “Stormbreaker” and he unleashed it in Wakanda. Thor took on Thanos on his own and went to stab his heart. Unfortunately, Thanos was still able to snap his fingers and complete his plan. Thor then becomes our discouraged hero and blames himself for not doing the right thing. Thor falls off the wagon into a depression that leaves him struggling to find out who he is instead of who he is supposed to be.

INFINITY SAGA 2 PODCAST
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The first sign of Thanos retrieving the infinity stones was during “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1”. The power stone was locked up on planet Morag and Peter Quill was able to retrieve it, not knowing the contents of the orb. In this film, Thanos sends Nebula and Gamora to go retrieve the orb. Gamora ends up making contact with Quill and the battle for the orb continues throughout the film. Gamora sees what her father, Thanos has done to the universe and ends up protecting the power stone, instead of giving it to him. At this point, Thanos loses Gamora to the Guardians and begins to search for the stones on his own. The Guardians ended up giving the power stone to the Nova Corps in order to keep it safe. Thanos began to recruit his own army, known as The Black Order, in order to retrieve the stones. They destroyed planets and many lives were lost while trying to uncover these stones.

Another issue ‘The Avengers’ face when they head into the Quantum Realm is that they were all clueless about the soul stone. Thanos is the only one who has ever ventured to Voromir and in exchange for the stone, he had to sacrifice his daughter. Clint and Natasha were sent there without any knowledge of the decision they had to make in order to retrieve the stone. This could have all been avoided if Nebula actually told the full story of her sister Gamora’s death. The soul stone is not easy to retrieve and even Scott Lang knew it was a bad idea, since he opted out. What is very unfortunate is that Black Widow was the most excited to get the stones and return back to the present and it didn’t happen for her. Black Widow’s ending made sense because she finally had a family and she would do anything for them, including sacrificing herself. We’re getting a Black Widows standalone anyway and I’m sure it will have better characterization than what she had in previous movies.

INFINITY SAGA PHASE 3 PODCAST
https://castbox.fm/x/15raO

The most important thing to take away from the “Infinity Saga” coming to an end is that Stan Lee was fortunate enough to watch his comic panels come to life. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby all contributed to this universe and their work will live on forever. From the writing, witty characters and special cameos, it’s a real treat to be a Marvel fan because of how dedicated everyone has been in doing these characters justice.

So in the words of Stan Lee,

Excelsior and enjoy Avengers: Endgame.

The Disney – 20th Century Fox Merger

Mark your calendars.

Today is the day.

At midnight tonight, Disney will become an untouchable monopoly in the film industry.

Disney has finally closed the deal with 20th Century Fox. At the surface many comic book fans are excited because heroes like The X-Men, Deadpool and Fantastic Four are returning “home” to Marvel.

Ryan Reynolds confirmed the merger this morning on Twitter. Posting this photo with the tweet – @VancityReynolds: “Feels like the first day of ‘Pool”

However, what does this mean for the other content in the 20th Century Fox library? What else has Disney acquired in this merger?

Well 20th Century Fox also has television programming. It will pick up Fox Animation titles such as The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob’s Burger’s. This also allows Disney to pick up Fox 21, which has The Americans, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and American Horror Story. No one realizes the amount of shows that the Fox library consists of and now Disney even owns series like Mash, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 24. Disney made this move with the streaming service in mind. The company just added major television series to their library ahead of its release.

Yeah sure, it’s great that Marvel is getting their characters back but it also destroys a lot of what they worked on for the past 14 years. Do we really want a fresh cast for the X-Men? How can you replace actors like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Hugh Jackman? It’s too soon. 20th Century Fox treated the X-Men so well and now all of that will be replaced in the next 10 years.

Disney has become a massive corporation that everyone should be afraid of. They will eventually own 70% of media consumption and will continuously knock down the competition. This merger means that there will be massive job cuts, unemployment and more control over creativity. Forget about the product for a moment and think about the thousands of workers who have worked for 20th Century Fox for years… where are they going?

Disney has become the production company bully and it feels like everyone has to love whatever they put out. The online critics are incredibly biased and have turned criticism and the average moviegoing experience into an unpleasant one. Disney used the excuse to buy back the X-Men for Marvel to cover up the fact that they were aiming for Fox’s TV catalogue for their own streaming service.

Disney will control creativity. Prepare for remakes and reboots in the next 10 years with the magical Disney touch. Prepare yourselves for a Deadpool that is marketed to children. Prepare for The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob’s Burger’s to change their brand. Disney also owns Avatar now, so be prepared for overly marketed sequels that NO ONE cares about.

This is where smaller production companies step in and take control of original content. Companies like Anna Purna, A24, EOne, NEON and Focus Features to name a few, all have to pay closer attention to the films they pick up. That’s why we as a film community need to appreciate and fight for Netflix as a streaming service because eventually Disney will buy it out too. Once Disney has steadied their streaming service, it will buyout the competition.

There’s going to be a massive shift in film content in the next decade and this merger is the start of something that could potentially ruin the industry as we know it.

Disney & Film Criticism

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This is what we’ve come to?

It’s acceptable to just claim that a movie is just “fine”?

There’s a reason why Captain Marvel can’t be critiqued as “fine” and the reason is because it’s the TWENTY FIRST superhero film in a franchise.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it’s a female led cbm or that it’s written by a female or that it’s CO-DIRECTED by a woman. The film as a whole was not up to par with other films in the MCU and they are in Phase 04.

So because it’s under Disney we’re supposed to give a mediocre Marvel film a free pass? No.

Captain Marvel should not have been as mediocre as it was at this stage in the MCU, especially ahead of Endgame. 

Please tell me why there was more pressure on Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman? The answer is blatantly obvious and it’s because it’s a DC film.

Captain Marvel did not reinvent the genre, it did not change the formulaic structure and it was extremely underwhelming. As a woman, there were moments where I understood Carol Danvers but I did not feel a connection to her. Also, how doesn’t it upset anyone that Captain Marvel was literally used as a stepping stone to Endgame? She’s being used as a device to further a narrative that is already in place because of the shared universe. The placement of Captain Marvel is odd and the only link to Endgame is the post credit scene which also makes this film disjointed among the MCU. I’m sure if you watch Captain Marvel before The Avengers it’ll fit better.

In the article from Variety, this is what Alicia Lutes says, “You’re still enabling the narrative that women have to be twice as good, all the time, to maybe get 1% of the pie. Whether you thought “Captain Marvel” or any of these movies was good, or even an affront, is entirely beside the point.”

I’m sorry but I don’t understand how any viewer has put women on a pedestal in regards to filmmaking? Women need more opportunities in the industry but when it comes to their work, they need to be critiqued like every other filmmaker. When you make claims that “it’s okay for this film, that is directed by a woman to fail because we need more of that”… no one wants their film to be mediocre or a failure, so why are we giving this film a pass?

You’ve already categorized Captain Marvel as a female led film and completely pushed aside the fact that it’s a DISNEY MARVEL MOVIE. It doesn’t matter who is behind the lens and that’s what people have to start realizing when critiquing films in the future. You have to be able to watch it for what it is and not put the film on a pedestal because it’s a female led film or directed by a woman. It’s damaging to female filmmakers, yes they struggle more than the average males in the industry but their content needs to be critiqued the same as everyone else.

How do we, as critics, say it’s acceptable that a movie is just “fine”? There have been thousands of films that have been mediocre and forgotten, where people have critisized every single aspect of the film, but this one, gets a free pass because female directors need to make some bad movies? Do people know what they’re saying?

This is proof that Disney owns the critics. Forget about Captain Marvel for a second and think about the critical acclaim Mary Poppins Returns received…. it didn’t deserve any of that hype and it was a disappointment in my eyes but it got plenty of nominations. Disney has known how to market their films since day one and now they’ve become greedy and power hungry. They own the box office year round and the critics are biased and fall to their knees as if they’ve made another masterpiece.

The new age of film criticism is not objective anymore, there is no singular voice that breaks down the film for what it is, there’s no balance. Ratings have become more important than reviews and critiques because a percentage from a consensus is more powerful than a credible writer expressing their opinion.

There should be no mediocrity when it comes to a Disney Marvel movie at this stage in the game because of it’s longevity. They have a “perfected” formula, so why not use it properly? That’s the issue with this kind of criticism for the film. At the end of the day, it’s not about female filmmakers at the box office but it’s about a standalone film apart of a larger universe.

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Marvel (SPOILER FREE) Review

The most powerful Avenger has arrived.

Thanos watch your back.

Captain Marvel finally has her moment in the spotlight and it was a good start to her story. Brie Larson perfectly embodied Carol Danvers and kicked ass as Captain Marvel. She really studied the character and she made it effortless, this was definitely the role for her.

Brie Larson’s chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson was so natural and lovely that their bond carried the movie. This was also Sam Jackson’s best performance out of all the movies in the MCU and I’m happy we got to see this side of him.

Captain Marvel played off of the Marvel nostalgia and found humour in the 90s. It was a lot of fun and the character dynamics were the glue that held everything together.

However, the first half was very messy and confusing. I had trouble getting into her story at the beginning because they dragged out the story on Kree, when the real focus should have been on Earth and her memories. The screenplay needed work but the humour was spot on and to be honest, it was kind of refreshing. The editing was very choppy and the flashbacks did not add much to her story because it was all over the place. Once Carol Danvers met up with her best friend Maria Rambeau played but the wonderful Lashana Lynch, the film began to feel natural.

The second act really picked up and I just wanted more of everything! Once she got control of her powers it was very exciting and Carol Danvers was having fun playing with what her energy can do. The origin story was solid but I just wanted more of her backstory, I just don’t think they did a good job in covering every aspect of her life.

It was a great film to go into Endgame with and that’s all I can say about Captain Marvel, it was just a stepping stone… it’s kind of like the character film was a plot device in order to push the greater picture.

The Stan Lee tribute at the beginning made me cry and his cameo was classic!

Stay for that post credit scene because it got my blood pumping more than the entirety of the film itself.

2018 Year in Review

As the year comes to an end, it is tradition that I assess the films that have come out this past year.

So I have made my very own TOP 10 list of films that stood out to me this year. There are some honourable mentions AND some that stood out in their genre.

Here are my TOP 10 Films of 2018:

A Quiet Place
dir. John Krasinski
screenplay. John Krasinski, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck
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08QUIET-PLACE1-articleLargeThe reason why this film is so unique is the fact that there was pure silence on screen. I’ve never experienced something like that. Normally, people think that having silence on screen is bad because it’s dead air but Krasinski utilized that and played off the tension and anticipation of sound. I also appreciated the fact that the score did not overpower those moments of silence and that it was used subtly throughout.

Annihilation
dir. Alex Garland
screenplay. Alex Garland

Annihilation
Natalie-Portman-in-Annihilation-Movie-Stills-natalie-portman-41052828-1200-518Annihilation is one of the best science fiction films to be released in the past 10 years. It’s an original piece from the mind of Alex Garland and he truly blew me away with this film. It had such a strong cast of actors and the story kept getting better, it had so many twists that I did not see coming and it really does make you reach maximum anxiety levels. The film is beautifully shot and has a powerful story. This made it into my top 3 sci-fi films of all time and I am definitely looking forward to his next film.

Aquaman  
dir. James Wan
story by. James Wan, Geoff Johns, Will Beall

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James Wan has been in the spotlight for his horror universe of The Conjuring and those films are all so incredibly unique to the horror genre. Wan has his own style and he definitely brought it in Aquaman. This film was simple and the visuals enhanced the story, making it one of the best DC films to be released. DC has such strong characters and they’ve been successful with their standalone films. The future is bright for DC because they are trusting their directors and they will be able to create unique worlds.

Ben is Back
dir. Peter Hedges
screenplay. Peter Hedges

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Ben is Back is such a heart-wrenching film and it depicts the harrowing truth of addiction. Lucas Hedges gives the performance of his career thus far and Julia Roberts is a knockout. Peter Hedges penned a brutally honest screenplay and made very powerful choices, especially the ending. This is an underrated film and it needs to be seen!

Blackkklansman
dir. Spike Lee
screenplay. Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

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maxresdefaultA Spike Lee Joint has never been so exhilarating and relevant, I have never felt so many emotions at once during a film AND I left this film absolutely enraged. This film is one of the best movies of the year and it deserves more recognition. Everything about this film was perfect and the way Spike Lee integrated every single piece of media that has been consumed by mainstream audiences was genius. This was a masterwork and it’s incredible that he was able to use this medium to speak about the corruption in the United States right now.

Black Panther
dir. Ryan Coogler
screenplay. Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole

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Black-Panther-PhotosMarvel’s 18th film in it’s universe had the first black superhero in the spotlight. Black Panther had such a massive cultural significance earlier this year and it became an instant phenomenon. This film, directed by Ryan Coogler meant so much more to the black community than any other Marvel movie and the reception proved that. Every single actor in this film did a a great job in telling T’Challa’s story and I know that Stan Lee was proud of this major accomplishment.

Roma
dir. Alfonso Cuarón
screenplay. Alfonso Cuarón

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44320-Roma_-_Alfonso_Cuaron__Film_Still_Alfonso Cuarón really delivered on all front with Roma. It’s a beautiful film because of how effortless he made everything seem. The story is simple and tragic but the love that is shown on screen mends those heartbreaking feelings at the same time. It’s beautifully shot and the visuals were so incredibly powerful that I didn’t need subtitles to understand what was happening. Yalitza Aparicio gave a beautiful performance and I felt everything with her.

Ocean’s Eight
dir. Gary Ross
screenplay. Gary Ross, Olivia Milch

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This cast of women truly saved 2018 and it was the best version of any Ocean’s movie. This film was so much fun and Sandra Bullock was excellent in this alongside Cate Blanchett. It was interesting from beginning to end and it was filled with many nods to the first Ocean’s film. I would like a trilogy with these lovely ladies! Also, Anne Hathaway stole show and I’m happy she’s back! The heist was extravagant and fun because it was taking place at the MET Gala and many audiences don’t know what goes on inside the Gala, so it was very refreshing!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
screenplay. Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman

spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-movie-slice-600x200
spider-man-spider-verse-animated-film-1Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the BEST Spider-Man movie that has ever been released. Not only was the animation superb but to have every single version of Spider-Man on screen showing the multiverse made it so unique! The best part about this film is that kids are introduced to the youngest Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Miles is half black and half Latino and it was lovely to see that representation on screen! Sony definitely has a universe of their own to expand on, especially with this character and this animation!

 
 Widows
dir. Steve McQueen
screenplay. Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen

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WIDOWSSteve McQueen and Gillian Flynn working together was truly a dream team and I loved every single second of this thriller. It was such an intense film and it kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time. This cast was phenomenal and I was amazed that everyone got enough screen time and each of their backstories flowed effortless through each scene. The standouts were Daniel Kaluuya and Elizabeth Debicki, pay very close attention to their performances!!

The two films that I have yet to see but I know would have been in my TOP 10 for 2018 are…

The Favourite
dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
screenplay. Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
Hop in for a free ride with

If Beale Street Could Talk
dir. Barry Jenkins
screenplay. Barry Jenkins 
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Both Yorgos Lanthimos and Barry Jenkins have created such beautiful films in the past and I’m always excited for their new projects!

 

The Honourable Mentions:

Best Action Movie: 
Mission Impossible – Fallout
dir. Christopher McQuarrie
screenplay. Christopher McQuarrie

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Best Comedy: 
The Spy Who Dumped Me 
dir. Susanna Fogel
screenplay. Susanna Fogel, David Iserson

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Best Kids Movie: 
The Incredibles 2 
dir. Brad Bird
screenplay. Brad Bird

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Best Coming of Age Film:
Eighth Grade 
dir. Bo Burnham
screenplay. Bo Burnham

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