I’m Not Crying…

I love to cry. I find it the most cathartic exercise. I don’t think a day goes that I don’t have a little blub – for any number of reasons. Nostalgia, joy, a stubbed toe – all that and more can threaten my mascara on the daily and I’ve become notorious for wearing my emotion on my sleeve.

Over the last few months it feels like I’ve done nothing but cry while being entertained. It started with Avengers: Endgame, which I saw three times and cried through three times and then, most recently, I’ve been haunted by a BBC drama.

Here are the last things to really tug at my heart strings.

*Minor spoilers if you aren’t up to date*

Avengers: Endgame

Historically, I don’t really like going into films that are clearly out to hit me straight in the feels. Obviously Endgame was always going to be a mixed bag of action, adventure, triumph and human sacrifice – and boy did it manipulate the tear ducts. But even though there were surprises, so much of it wasn’t that surprising – and it was glorious.

On first viewing I sobbed as soon as the film started as I thought about The Fallen, in particular Spiderman. “I don’t feel so good, Mr Stark” has followed me ever since Infinity War, a brutal reminder of the futility of life – and how shit Star Lord is because I blame him for everything (and Chris Pratt even more so).

Watching the remaining Avengers deal with the fallout from Thanos’ original finger click was heart-breaking, reminding us that it’s always the ones left behind who suffer the most. There was a plan though, obviously and I don’t think there was ever any doubt that we’d meet our favourites again – and Natasha, Steve, Tony and pals made sure of it.

I’m not going to dwell on the irreversible sacrifices made – if you know, you know – but my God, they were hard to come to terms with.

Game of Thrones – The End

I found Season 8 bittersweet. There were elements I really enjoyed of the final series but ultimately, the conclusion was messy and a lot of the foreshadowing we’d invested ourselves in for the best part of a decade came to nothing.

Regardless, I still got a lump in my throat when we lost key characters (looking at you, Giant Slayer) and the survivors, key characters we joined at the beginning and said goodbye to at the end. I cried for their collective loss and all the time they’ve been apart. I cried for Hodor, who didn’t even get a thank you for holding the door. I cried for Sansa, who outlived all her abusers.

I cried for all the dire wolves we’ve loved and lost. Ditto the dragons. Most of all I cried for the end of one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, notwithstanding Seasons 7 & 8 .

Years & Years

So I still have the last episode of this amazing show to go but the fourth was the real kicker. I don’t think I’ve ever ugly cried as much as I did watching that. Afterwards, I seriously contemplated calling in sick to work and I still can’t get it out of my head.

The show looks at so many relevant issues and one of those is refugees seeking asylum. It says a lot that we see real life images of the trauma caused to children and families on the news all the time, but it takes a well-loved fictional character in the same position to really drive the reality home.

This show is the nuts and I’ve been recommending it to everybody.

Pass the tissues, would you?

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel (2019)

Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Starring: Brie Larson • Samuel L. Jackson • Jude Law

*Minor Spoilers*

Vers is a Starforce member on Hala, the Kree Empire’s capital planet. Under the tutelage of her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), she is learning how to become a fine warrior. Which is all well and good but she’s haunted by nightmares that she doesn’t understand and a past she can’t remember.

Bestowed with special powers given to her by the Kree, Carol is urged by the Supreme Intelligence to think less with her emotions and more with her head, something she very much struggles with because she’s a fucking woman and what are we? That’s right: too sensitive.

“We have to arm wrestle, it’s the Law.”

During her first mission with Starforce, shit hits the fan when the team stumble into a Skrull ambush and Vers is taken hostage by their kingpin, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). Skrulls FYI are alien shape-shifters and the Kree’s arch enemy.

Anyway, Vers manages to escape their evil clutches and plunges to Earth where she promptly meets a very familiar face, Shield agent Mr. Nick Fury. While he’s skeptical about Vers’ very honest account of what she’s doing on this planet, he soon sees enough evidence for himself that she might just be telling the truth.

Carol was a pro at staring

What follows is a cute road trip for two as Fury and Vers search for the mysterious Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) who seems to hold the key not only to what the Skrulls are after but who Vers might really be.

I really enjoyed The Carol Danvers story. It’s female-centric in a way none of the Marvel movies have been so far (although there have been moments) but its done really well, without hammering the point home. I buy Brie Larson completely as a pilot and I absolutely love her chemistry with Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

Girls 4 eva

She’s a competent, likeable hero who can kick arse with or without her fiery fists – and she’s true to herself, learning that it’s okay to think with your heart and not your head if you damn well please. This is a battle I have constantly with myself so I really connect with that aspect of the narrative.

There are a few surprises along the way and it’s genuinely touching to follow Vers/Carol as she pieces together the life she had before she ended up on Hala. While I don’t want to give too much away to those who haven’t caught this movie yet, there is a ‘twist’ you can see coming a mile off. If I’m honest as soon as I saw Jude Law’s goddamn beautiful face, it was already planted in my mind. But I don’t think it ruins anything really.

Green with envy over that big gun

Comic relief in the form of Goose the cat (played by no less than three stunt kitties) is fun and there are moments it veers into Guardians of the Galaxy territory with its humour (which could never be a bad thing). I really like both Maria Rambeau and her daughter Monica (played respectively by Lashana Lynch and Akira Akbar).

There’s such sadness in Maria, who believed her best friend to be dead and now has to come to terms with the fact that she’s alive and doesn’t remember their former life and adventures together. But there’s hope too, of course and yey for that.

Flame emoji forever

Okay so this might not be the very best Marvel film ever made and sometimes it’s just little too spacey for my personal taste – I much prefer the fish out of water on earth aspect of the story – but it’s a strong start and a pleasing introduction to a character I knew little about (DC Girl, innit).

Carol’s presence in End Game is going to be very welcome and I’m extremely excited for next month.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Update: I can’t believe I hit Publish on this post without gushing about the soundtrack. It’s 90’s perfection and every tune is a bop. Special mention to the mighty Just a Girl by No Doubt which was my teen anthem.

Goose: the best Avenger?

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.

*Minor spoilers*

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest after his antics on tour with his band, The Avengers (in Captain America: Civil War, duh). Things aren’t all bad though as he’s able to spend lots of time with his daughter Cassie.

He’s no longer in touch with Hank Pym and his daughter Hope (Michael Douglas and beautiful Evangeline Lilly), who are peeved with his decision to ditch them for Cap – but his security business – X-con Home Security – run with pals Luis, Dave and Kurt is going (sort of) okay.

Hank and Hope have been forced into hiding but this hasn’t stopped them doing what they do best. Working on a tunnel to get them into the quantum realm, the pair believe there’s a chance they can find and save Hope’s mother Janet, who might still be alive down there. When Scott has a sort of vision/dream which he deciphers as Janet trying to contact him from the QR, he reaches out to Pym.

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Of course the gang are soon back together though there’s still some bitterness to work through. These squabbles are soon forgotten, however when Pym and co. realise they have bigger problems, namely a very nimble new nemesis called Ghost. Ghost is desperate to get her hands on Pym’s portable lab and therefore the tunnel to the QR for her own means. But what are those means, hmmm?

As with the last couple of Marvel films, we’ve been given a villain that doesn’t fit the usual mold and I like it. Ghost makes questionable, bad decisions and hurts people but she’s not all bad and not unsympathetic. This helps you actually care about her character when push comes to shove – and her arc is an interesting one that raises the question of whether we’ll see more of her later on in the franchise. I hope so, Hannah John-Kamen is a hottie.

With another bad guy and his henchmen on their tail, Ant-Man and Wasp are forced to fight to keep the lab in their possession – which is easier said than done. In addition, is Janet really still alive in the Quantum Realm and will Hank be able to bring her home unharmed?

ant-man-and-the-wasp-michael-douglas

While Ant-Man is never going to be as strong as some of the more serious Marvel contenders, I do enjoy these movies. They feel old-school in comparison to the big boys and they perfectly balance the MCU. After the intensity of Infinity War earlier this year, Ant-Man was a fun breath of fresh air.

Paul Rudd never disappoints but I do feel as though this is Evangeline Lilly’s movie. She commands the screen and brings a practical strength to the role of Wasp. I wasn’t all that fussed to begin with but now I’m looking forward to more from her. The way this movie plays with scale is a lot of fun and harks back to Honey, I shrunk the Kids from the eighties.

As for support, Michael Peña is brilliant as Luis (the truth serum gag is a scream), while I really enjoyed both Bobby Cannavale and Judy Greer as Scott’s ex-wife. Also, I haven’t mentioned a very big name because when I went into the film I didn’t even know she was in it so I won’t spoiler it. But she’s kind of a big deal and I love her.

Oh, and while we’re here I bet you’re wondering how all this fits into Infinity War and that cliffhanger, huh? Well, it’s not until the post credit scene that this becomes clear but let me tell you, it makes the movie – and opens up a lot of questions.

So many questions – can Avengers 4 just hurry up already?

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My Rating

3.5/5.

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and many more

IMDB Synopsis

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Where: Odeon Brighton
When: Saturday 28th April
Snacks: Popcorn and drink combo

*Spoilers*

My Review

Well this one is going to be a doozy to recap but I’ll do my best. Not all heroes wear spandex and hang out with Thor, you know?

In two words I think I could sum up Infinity War – “My heart” – but since this is a supposed film blog, more words are required. Here goes…

This film blew my tiny mind, made me feel excited once more to be immersed in the MCU (though to be fair this had already started with the first Guardians movies and from Homecoming to Black Panther) – something I never saw coming. Marvel Fatigue is an actual thing, a new sickness sweeping the nation but the fever’s broken and all is well again – that’s how I see it.

I want to be part of the action again and have strong feelings for so many of our protagonists – so you can imagine that this was a hard one to stomach given the way it leaves things.

Yes, yes – so many theories about the future of our favourites, I know but let’s just grieve for a little while.

Infinity War has so much going on that I won’t got through the plot bit by bit as I might normally, instead I think I’ll pick out the bits I super loved and scratch away at the tiny bits that didn’t work for me (there’s not much).

Best Bits

  • Literally everything and everyone in Wakanda, obvs. From Okoye (Danai Gurira) to BP himself (Chadwick Boseman) by way of Shuri (Letitia Wright) and M’Baku (Winston Duke) and his crew – it’s spot on. Wakanda forever indeed!
  • All the Guardians (not you Quill, see below) – particularly Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper).
  • Special shout out to teen Groot (Vin Diesel) who dominated his scenes in the most subtle way – and the teenager stereotype wasn’t overdone here, even though it is so accurate (step mum of a 13-year-old, yo).
  • Thanos (Josh Brolin) the super villain with an actual heart and an almost understandable agenda, even though it’s evil and obviously hugely misguided. As with Killmonger’s raison d’être in Black Panther, there’s a social commentary being made and it’s refreshing that these motivations are a grey area. It also allows us to feel something for our antagonists, if not total understanding – and I like that feeling, frankly.
  • Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), surprisingly. He featured way more than I expected and I like him, I really like him.
  • Spiderman’s (Tom Holland) scenes were all top-notch but I really enjoyed his film references and particularly replicating a scene from Aliens to save the day (temporarily). It would also be remiss to not mention his final scene which broke my heart cleanly in two.
  • Rocket and Groot teaming up with Thor (Hemsworth), the “Pirate Angel” – this new dynamic kept things fresh and really showcased Rocket’s comic timing. See also Rocket on the battle field with Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Groot’s initial meeting with Cap (Chris Evans): “I am Steve Rogers”. PERFECTION.
  • Cap’s beard – also perfection.
  • Peter Dinklage as Eitri. I loved the whole forging of the axe segment on Nidavellir. Glorious and funny as Hell.
  • Girl power on the front line – when Okoye and Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) rock up to fight alongside Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), I cheered and then got a lump in my throat. Female unity hasn’t exactly been a thing like this before (or before BP, that is) and I’m here for all of it – more please Marvel. Also, the line: “She’s not alone”, pass the fucking tissues.
  • Hulk in hiding is a new exploration of PTSD and I liked this too – plus we get more Ruffalo screen time and the contrast between Bruce Banner and Hulk is really interesting – I look forward to seeing the jolly green giant again but for now: oh hai, Mark!
  • Also the awkward reunion of Romanoff and Bruce – so many emotions in one simple, brief exchange.
  • We got more from Scarlet Witch and her skills which I’m here for, as well as more Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) – although I don’t think Gamora can come back, I’m hopeful they’ll find a groove for Nebula somewhere and evolve her character more.
  • Dat post-credit scene, man. “Motherfu…”
  • And so many other scenes and little details that I’ve probably forgotten to mention.

Still-of-Scarlet-Witch-from-Avengers-Infinity-War-Trailer

The Not So Best Bits

  • Could take or leave the Scarlet Witch/Vision (Paul Bettany) love-in. Wishy-washy as fuck. Also, how does he get into human form, is this a thing now?
  • Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) at the best of times but in this his petulance really came through and irritated me, not least because he fucks things up for the others. I get he’s got some grieving to do but look at the bigger picture, dude.
  • Not enough Wong (Benedict Wong) – where did he go, off to make a cuppa while the universe imploded? (Actually, fair play, that’s where I’d be).
  • It did seem just a teeny bit easy for Thanos to get all those Infinity Stones one by one (sacrificing his daughter aside).
  • No Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) or Korg (Taika Waititi)? Criminal!

So all in all, I am one happy fan-bunny (and I’m seeing it again tomorrow). While I had initial reservations about keeping up with so much, I think it was handled perfectly with little splinter groups mixing things up. Introducing new dynamics and building new relationships was a stroke of inspiration and one of my favourite elements. I can’t wait for Avengers 4 now.

All that build up over a decade and we get this: if not a masterpiece, then pretty blimmin’ close.

My Rating

5/5.