Welcome To New Asgard!
“Move aside, there, Lebowski!” – Tony Stark.
Thor: “Do you know what is coursing through my veins right now?”
James Rhodes: “Cheez Whiz?”
This is the end, beautiful friend…
In a movie that is the culmination of eleven years and over twenty movies, thus transcending the rules and expectations of the superhero movie genre, where the whole objective is to conclude all super-business in a convincing and compelling closure, AND fire decisive repulsor-rayblasts to your mind, heart and – hoo-boy! – tear ducts, where do we begin?!
Tony Stark is marooned in space with the daughter of the fiend who fatally slew him; where do the original Avengers – survivors of the Snaptastrophe – go from here?
To undo the Mad Titan’s wrongdoings, and try and restore some sorta semblance of order back to the universe, before you can say: “TREE! Help me find the handle!” they have constructed a “machine” that can transport what’s left of the cast into their respective subplots…
And to that end, as expected, the following three hours deliver on so many winning levels in the best way possible.
The only way.
The MARVEL way! 🙂
PHOOEY to those critics who dared slate this gargantuan cinematic swansong as “preposterous”(!)
Look, this is a comicbook movie fer cake’s sake, where fans don’t bat an eyelid at such Stark Raving Hazelnuts stuff as a talking raccoon, a wizard’s cloak that has a mind of its own and a giant Peter Dinklage.
One can appreciate how (the best of) these MCU movies have been created by comicbook buffs who not only know how crazy, clever and cosmic these stories can be, but understand how they work. Essentially, Avengers: Endgame has been (ahem) assembled in such a meticulous, but oh so MARVELous way that it looks – and works – like a remastered Greatest Hits compilation, with a handful of iconic scenes from the last eleven years – including familiar faces we thought we’d never see again! – lovingly spliced in to add an always-welcome tinge of nostalgia to that unfailingly spectacular eleven-year mix of action, drama and humour.
Moreover, this time, we are presented with an unprecedented, but irresistibly intriguing premise in a superhero movie:
failure, and how (what’s left of) the team deal with that.
Just when you think the First Act would dissolve into something too morose to handle, and drag a tad, once again – thankfully! – writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are at the top of their (end)game, providing one of the best scripts of the year (and not to mention, as reliable as ever, a hefty wodge of rad quotable lines! 😉 )
The depleted number of protagonists means that Avengers: Endgame offers closer attention to character study, and even sends some of their story-arcs down paths that were (dare we say it!) hitherto undreamt of. One of them in particular highly uncharacteristically crawls into a bottle (Clue: it’s NOT Ant-Man).
At the end of the day, it’s so cool to discover that – like your fav cake-scoffing blogger 😉 – Clint is just as badass with a blade as he is with a bow.
Oh, and speaking of cool, that much-anticipated Stan Lee cameo is – how we remember The Man – real classy!
At three hours and one minute, this is the longest MCU instalment; kudos to its directors: Anthony and Joe Russo for not letting the pace slip at all, not once, during these epic proceedings. Against all odds, Avengers: Endgame manages to be a worthy and thoroughly enjoyable successor to Avengers: Infinity War.
However, once that sheer exhilaration settles down and those critical faculties kick in, a few niggles pop up preventing me from bestowing it the full quota of five perfectly balanced stars.
The biggest drawback here happens to be the biggest character: despite having a few cool scenes, Thanos is inevitably relegated to formulaic antagonist.
When Captain Larson shows up at Avengers HQ, nestling the Benatar on their front lawn, there are no gawps or gasps from Steve and co. Obviously, this universe is positively heaving with enhanced individuals of one sort or another, so “New Girl” is allowed to hang around the base, no questions asked, until the moment
the script has no further need for her she has to skedaddle to some distant planet to… do something for no discernible reason… She eventually returns, making a brief, but blistering impact during the Final Act which, incidentally, looks far too cluttered and chaotic. All in all, Captain Marvel’s appearance in this movie was not substantial or integral enough to have warranted her own lousy movie almost two months ago.
Personally, last year’s masterpiece – with its towering (and harrowing) central performance, a truly Mighty Marvel Team-Up in the unexpected groovy forms of Thor and Rocket, moon-throwing and THAT unforgettable ending – seared a more indelible mark on my memory, but this is still an incredibly engrossing piece of work, and provides a fitting finale to this frenetic franchise.
When The BIG Bradscribe MCU Countdown is due to be revised shortly, Avengers: Endgame should be riding high in the Top 10. It deserves to snap out of existence all box office records; after only three days, it’s officially become the Highest Grossing Movie Of All Time.
The enormous, exciting, and – oh yes – emotional effects have proved remarkable, and will surely never end – this really feels like the blockbuster to end all blockbusters.
Therefore, yours truly takes this opportunity to announce The End of my forty years of cinema-going. Let’s face it: during the next ten – perhaps twenty – years, methinks it probably unlikely that we will ever experience a movie, bigger, bolder or better than this…
At the very least, watching Avengers: Endgame is infinitely preferable to being stuck in a flying doughnut billions of miles from Earth with no backup…
“I like this one.”
Some people in this galaxy DON’T dig Marvel movies. 0_0
But not us…
Before unleashing my Review next week, this chattering animal will be posting – midweek – a few thoughts on the soon-to-be-revealed Avengers: Endgame, so hope you can join me for that!
Ha ha! We all wondered how we would manage to wait a whole year to find out how this monumental story arc could come to a satisfying MARVELous denouement – now we are only DAYS away.
So this is it? It’s all been leading to this…
Imagine my nightmare. If you can…
Stuck in a packed cinema, trying to keep awake during the latest MCU instalment. Amidst a rather bland action scene – in space – one of the most annoying pop songs in living memory – by that eternally-detestable combo: No Doubt, no less! – starts to play.
Yes, it did make my one good eye roll.
No, it did NOT put a smile on my face…
You know, Bradman is NOT one to skedaddle from a battle, but in this case, the urge to split almost consumed me.
Moreover, to compound the no-good-niggles tormenting my throbbing bonce, the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi throttled my mind:
“I’m getting too old for this sort of shit…”
‘0 _ 0’
After the jaw-dropping brilliance that was Avengers: Infinity War it seemed pointless going into Captain Marvel with any expectations. Nevertheless, confidence that we would get another top quality comicbook movie package remained fairly high.
The plot is your basic “origins” tale: Nick “Two-Eyes” Fury teams up with The Cat From Outer Space and they set out on a quest to find the memory of The Woman Who Fell To Earth, with the Jude Law and the Kree Order in hot pursuit.
Okey-dokey, methinks, so far, so groovy.
Before you can say: “Higher, further, faster, baby!” it descends into a dismal display of bland performances, incoherent narrative and some of the most lame and lacklustre lines heard in a long while…
And don’t get me started about the Skrulls: those nefarious shapeshifting aliens who look here like Trekkie cosplayers.
Quite naff Trekkie cosplayers…
Rather than the despicable race as depicted in the comics, the BIG twist here is that they are the repressed refugees of the galaxy. And we’re supposed to empathise with them? Don’t you know what they say? “Keep your friends close, your Skrulls closer.” DON’T listen to them, Carol – IT’S A TRAP…
And just why on C-53 is Ben Mendelsohn trying to do an Andy Serkis impersonation…?!
It comes as absolutely no surprise to learn that Roy Thomas – legendary Marvel writer who co-created Carol Danvers in 1968 – felt less than impressed with this movie.
“Actually, the one thing I really hated in the film was turning the Skrulls into a peace-loving race, with the Kree as the heavies.” he said in a recent interview. “As far as I am concerned, as the principal conceptualizer of the Kree/Skrull War, (and I suspect Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would agree with me) the Skrulls and the Kree are each as bad as each other, as they say. Having the Skrulls all mushy and family-friendly at the end left a bad taste in my mouth…”
The only aspect to please him was thus: “Still, Yon-Rogg turned out to be appropriately vile, and that’s all well and good.”
What about those 12-year old girls this film so desperately tried to impress and inspire? Incidentally, the number of that demographic in the audience at my screening could be counted on the “fingers” of MY gauntlet. And they looked bored to tears…
Wire sued Elastica for stealing their riff from Three Girl Rhumba. Nirvana lifted the bass-line from Killing Joke’s Eightites, which in turn “borrowed” from The Damned’s Life Goes On, and – hey! – here’s me slouching (nay, yawning!) in the middle of the latest MCU movie with my concentration drifting into such mundane musical matters, particularly wondering which alternative Kurt Cobain song would have sufficed instead, if at all…!
Is it any wonder that the only scene to actually move me happened to be the heartfelt tribute to Stan Lee over the Marvel logo? And the only cool scene was, of course, his cameo. He’s reading the script to Mallrats (also released in 1995), in which you can find the most extensive cameo of his illustrious acting career.
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have never made a comicbook movie before and, quite clearly, it shows. The montage of flashbacks from Carol’s early life are so fragmentary and ever-so-minimally informative (not helped by Skrull scientists jabbering over each clip!) that they look confusing, almost to the point of annoyance.
Imagine what a dramatic improvement we would have if allowed to see that key moment in the comics in which teenage Carol rebels against her overbearing Dad and walks out.
There should be a terrific performance by Lashana Lynch, as Carol’s best pal: Maria Rambeau, but, there again, the shoddy script deprives Maria’s role the chance to really shine. Moreover, the 1st Act needed a bonding moment between them – it would have instilled the emotional resonance this movie so sorely lacked.
The fact that three writers were involved proves yet again how:
The more names involved in concocting a major studio movie script = the more incoherent that script becomes.
Again, is this really the MCU we are dealing with here…?!
“Packed with action! Humour! And visual thrills!! With an origin story that makes effective use of the franchise’s signature formula!”
Uff, well, that’s a loada’ cobblers…
Allow me to suggest (mercifully briefly!) why this movie is regarded as “good, but not great.”
Apart from the obvious observation that Larson lacks charisma, consider how Captain Marvel is supposed to be an origins story. Despite countless versions of this theme – some produced, remarkably well, within the MCU itself over this past decade! – the only spectacular revelation to be had here is the way it fails in this regard.
Bafflingly, the core of this movie is mysteriously bereft of a hero(ine)’s journey, so no revelation, atonement, redemption, or moral/ethical self-discovery.
Wow, she had no misdeeds and failings to rectify; no life-changing lessons to learn; no knowledge to attain; no challenges to overcome; therefore, we feel no curiosity or compulsion to follow what happens to her. Subjected to the full blast of the Kree core engine does not count as a “personal transformation.”
Ultimately, this is all a meaningless spectacle.
Always appreciated the origins story of Marvel’s other Cap: the classic, compelling Captain America: First Avenger. Where was the stirring equivalent “world doesn’t need a perfect soldier, but a good man,” speech amidst this mess? We waited and waited again for something other than a perfect Power Lady (so she doesn’t need to learn great responsibility either, yay!) but the real good – i.e. relatable, compassionate, etc. – Carol Danvers failed to show up…
Yeah, but wasn’t Goose purrrfect?!
When the “cat” freaks out, tentacles an’ all, it suddenly felt like a Men In Black movie – truly, one of the most abhorrent experiences anybody could suffer in a cinema…
Can’t get over the fact that the script is unbelievably inept. The dialogue is so clunky – Captain Clunky!
Despite having the “Supreme intelligence” onboard, there are too many dumb moments; considering all that flying: in jets, spaceships or just as herself, her “character” never gets off the ground…
This blog has been honed to practice (and hopefully perfect) my story-telling skills, for when my movie/TV breakthrough eventually comes my humble way. And yet this esteemed gig goes to…
this gaggle of amateurs…?!
Behold: the Plight of the Livid Brad?
Not at all.
Yours truly is too tired to generate any antipathy towards anyone or anything these days. So to read about these ignorant trolls wasting their energies – and our time – spewing their, quite frankly, pathetic Caps-Lock-laden rants at something they haven’t even bothered to watch(!) makes for the most bewildering behaviour.
Have reached that stage in my life whereby the race, sex – or even sexual orientation – of a character has become irrelevant, how that character is developed (or not!) however, means everything to me.
Having watched her in a couple of TV promotional interviews, Brie Larson comes across as witty and charming, so it’s a shame that “Vers”/Carol is denied the chance to bring these qualities to this muddled mix.
Out of 21 movies, this is the first with a female lead…
…and yet, instead, we’re all raving about how cool and funny Samuel L. Jackson as a remarkably-undistracting-de-aged Nick Fury turned out to be…
Fortunately, this interplay between Brie and Sam is fun and entertaining to watch – they obviously got along fine and dandy whilst working on Kong: Skull Island (gee, remember that?!)
Considering how Brie has signed a SEVEN-movie contract with Marvel, ensuring this Cap’s prominent role in the MCU’s Next Phase, this movie should have delivered a more substantial, more distinctive, and, if you will, more thought-provoking introduction to supposedly the most powerful hero in the MCU. Up until now, this franchise looked, and felt, meticulously planned, years in advance – from its expansive plot-unfolding to those subtle Easter Eggs – and yet this movie feels too muddled, as if hastily thrown together at-the-last-minute just to appease the crowd who have been crying out forever for a female-led Marvel superhero movie. Thus, it does not present a suitable prelude to Avengers: Endgame, in which the hotly-anticipated rematch against Thanos may likely culminate in GOOSE GOING FOR THE HEAD.
Whatever’s in store, in the ever-reliable hands of the Russo brothers, Avengers: Endgame ought to be a more epic and engaging eyeful than what we got here…
Yep, Captain Marvel is now the most powerful hero in the MCU.
Can’t dispute that.
She single-handedly drained my will to write for at least ten days after my trip to the cinema. And almost depleted my enthusiasm for the upcoming Endgame (!)
One fan Comment summed it up perfectly: “If Captain Marvel has to fight Thanos, I’ll be rooting for Thanos…”
Sure, the Captain Marvel movie may help pass the time, but it’s not worth dropping into a Blockbuster™ for…
I remember all my life, raining down as cold as ice. Shadows of a man, a face through a window, crying in the night…
Heck, this man only happens to be Nicolas frickin’ Cage! Here he’s Red Miller, a lumberjack, but – hoo boy! – he’s NOT okay. “Crying?” Ha! That’s putting it mildly. Brooding in his bathroom, Cage is growling with grief and hollerin’ with hate in his own legendary, inimitable way, splashing vodka down his throat and over his wounds, ‘cos a wacko redneck hippy cult known as Children Of The New Dawn infiltrated the blissful, pine-scented haven in the Pacific Northwest which he had shared with his girlfriend, Mandy. Until they killed and cremated her...
From Panos (Beyond The Black Rainbow) Cosmatos, prepare for a blood-red phantasmagoria of ethereal imagery and INSANE violence.
Just one long horrific gonzo bloodfest, this most certainly is not.
No, in one of its most striking scenes, in order “to get the girl,” Brother Swan drives deep into the woods and blows the Horn of Abraxas, thus summoning a biker gang known as the Black Skulls – NOT your ordinary bunch of drug-addled Peter Fondas. This movie rams all logic and reality into the furnace, revelling instead as an almost-delirious, acid-drenched dark fantasy. Therefore these queasy riders just happen to be monstrous psychos in spiked leather gear – as if they chugged in from Mordor via the Mad Max wasteland – “speaking” with suitably deep and demonic drawls. Mercifully, we never get a proper butcher’s at their ugly mugs – perhaps it’s just as well! Once, apparently, they were normal men, but The Chemist cooked up “a special batch” of psychedelicacies, transforming them into the freakiest bunch of devilish antagonists since Hellraiser’s cenobites. They’re mostly depicted as menacing figures, eerily silhouetted against the thick, crimson smog…
As you just heard, the intense images herein are ably and effectively complemented by Johann (Arrival) Johannsson’s in turns blistering and breathtaking soundtrack. Sadly, Johann passed away shortly before the film’s release last October, so there is a message: “Dedicated to our friend Johann Johannsson” during the end credits – the only time this whole production presents something sane and respectful.
Arguably the outstanding track is the Love Theme; wonderfully evocative of Vini Reilly AND Robert Fripp at their sublime best- it’s uncanny. Even reminded me of Popol Vuh’s mesmerising score for Aguirre: Der Zorn Gottes (1974), itself a dizzying descent (down the Amazon river) into an ever-swirling madness.
If you go down in the woods tonight – hey! – you’re sure of Nicolas Cage being your BIG surprise! Having already played the Ghost Rider – Spirit of Vengeance – (twice!) Nasty Nic knows plenty about exacting big paybacks.
Here – by Jove! – he’s as cross as two sticks. And crazy?! Oh yes. Ol’ Rage Cage is – as we say in Blighty – a few Hobnobs™ short of a full packet…
Speaking of hobnobs, the leader of the New Dawn cult is Jeremiah Sand, a Manson-like, failed musician nutjob played by Linus Roache. Personally, it wasn’t his performance that unsettled me, but his uncanny resemblance to a disgraced ’70s UK children’s TV presenter…
Thou shalt not mess with an unbalanced woodsman who makes his living using a chainsaw. Well, really: you’d think those dozy Dawn dipwits would know that!
Straight after his beloved has been killed, Red staggers indoors; the Children forgot to switch the TV off: cue the movie’s most surreal moment: a bizarre (and thankfully FAKE) commercial for Cheddar Goblin, a horrendous puppet barfing cheezy chunks over a couple of giggling children sitting at their breakfast table!
In order to wreak his lunatic revenge spree against Sant, his New Dawners AND the Black Skulls, Red pays a visit to an old chum: Caruthers (played by Bill “Predator” Duke) a taciturn recluse who lives in a dilapidated trailer elsewhere in the forest. He’s been looking after “The Reaper”: Red’s CROSSBOW.
And that’s not all! Whoa, no!
Red even goes to the trouble of forging The Beast: his very own badass hippy-hackin’ AXE. Ah, those Dwarf-lords in their mountain halls would have been proud…
It’s very convenient that Red has someone like Caruthers with which to discuss his revenge-spree. At one point, Caruthers remarks: “These arrows cut through the bone like a fat kid eats cake.”
HELLO? DID ANYBODY SAY CAKE?! 😉
Mandy herself – played here by Andrea Riseborough – exudes a fragile and doe-eyed beauty, and uet there’s something creepy anout her otherwise innocent look. It’s like watching Shelley Duvall in The Shining all over again…
Although its never mentioned, Mandy seems to have suffered a shocking experience at some point in her past, for she has totally withdrawn from civilization, to nestle in the healing tranquility of nature, and while away her days producing comic book art. And reading dark fantasy novels. It would have been nice to see more of Andrea (Birdman) Riseborough and Nicolas (Birdy) Cage together, but let’s face it: this “visionary director” seemed far too eager to bring on this
If teenage Brad had gawped at this, he would certainly have squealed with delight at the numerous sequences of blood-spewing on display here. But these days…
Perhaps it’s a tad too excessive (for me).
Perhaps one has reached that stage in life where the flow of excellently-crafted words pouring forth is infinitely more preferable…
There’s no point in developing these one-dimensional cult members – everybody knows that gruesome ends await each one of them anyway! As to be expected, Red is haunted by disturbing dreams, but here, all those brief sequences are… animated.
And – oh yes – there’s a tiger. A live – not animated, LIVE – tiger. What’s it doing there…? Heck, not even yer ol’ buddy Brad can explain that one…
Apart from a President Reagan speech on the car radio, and a couple of retro football shirts, there is little indication to suggest that this “supremely unnerving horror dimension” is actually set in 1983. Retrobrad had half-expected an ’80s soundtrack(!), but: soz, folks, there’s no Cyndi Lauper or Kajagoogoo to bop along to here…
However, there is an intriguing assortment of retro-references. The chainsaw duel is reminiscent of the duel featured in The Texas Chinsaw Massacre 2 (1986). And these proceedings commence with the classic Universal Pictures logo from the 70s (a personal fav!)
At one point, Red mutters something about: the psychotic drowns where the mystic swims, alluding to the quote by mythologist Joseph Campbell (see above!)
Incidentally, the epilogue – considering the cram-packed cavalcade of chaos and carnage that preceded it – is a surprisingly pleasant, almost-incongruous, but very much appreciated, totally non-trippy bittersweet sequence. Having shattered our senses and churned our stomachs, Cosmatos sees fit to round it all off by well and truly rending our hearts. (If you can call it that, the post-post-credits scene is just a still image – a montage of Mandy‘s artwork).
Would Brad recommend this gvindhouse show?
Aww gee, that’s a toughie.
There are some unusual and truly astonishing visual flourishes here, but, as forewarned, you will have to endure truly disturbing images lurking within. If and when you decide to watch, make sure that Auntie Mary has left the room…
Stuff the sequels. Raze the remakes.
We need MORE unique works like this, but: less gore, next time… please?
And oh no, Brad will definitely NOT be sending Mandy away!
“Well you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
And I need you today, oh Mandy…”
Honestly, how can a “movie” as DEMENTED as this, offer such a hauntingly BEAUTIFUL Love Theme as this…?