action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 11th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 6: A Cold Day In Hell

tremors 6

2018 was kind of a disappointment on the sci-fi front. See, there had been talk of a reboot of the Tremors TV series, with Kevin Bacon returning to star in it. They even made a trailer for the show but then Syfy decided to pass on it. The only bright spot on this bit of sad news is that we did get a new movie in the franchise. As soon as I heard that this movie was being made, I immediately made plans to purchase it as soon as it came out. So let’s see what new horrors are in store for us with today’s movie, Tremors 6: A Cold Day In Hell.

The plot: At the Nanavut Province in northern Canada, 3 scientist (Aussie, Yankee, and Dutch) are taking core samples of some ice when their drill hits something under the ice. As Yankee and Dutch work on the drill, a yellowish fluid starts seeping up, just as Aussie detects a seismic anomaly, as if something living was moving under the ice. Suddenly, a large graboid burst out of the ice and swallows Aussie, while whatever was struck by the drill begins moving, dragging Yankee with it. As the graboid burrow under the snow towards Dutch, he starts running and falls down an embankment, only to have the graboid kill him. Some time later in Perfection, New Mexico, Burt Gummer is approached by Special Agent Dalkwed of the U.S. Treasury Dept. Dalkwed tells him that due to Burt’s not paying taxes, the government is putting a lien on his property. As Dalkwed leaves, Burt’s son Travis shows up with supplies that he had gone to get and he argues with Burt over his not making more of an effort to work with him. Back in the arctic, Dr. Rita Sims, the head of the research team, heads out to the site of the attack with team members Valerie McKee and Aklark and when they see the carnage, Valerie recognizes what has happened. Back in Perfection, Burt is taking a nap on the roof of Chang’s store but is plagued by painful nightmares of the time he was swallowed by a graboid. As he falls out of his hammock, Travis tells him he has a phone call from a woman saying they have a graboid problem. Burt picks up the phone and speaks with Rita but when she tells him where they are located, he says that it can’t be a graboid attack as they are desert/tropical creatures. Valerie gets on the phone and tells Burt she is a graboid enthusiast, impressing him with her knowledge of the creatures, and tells him the site has all the markings of an attack and convinces him it is worth coming out there to investigate as it would be a new phenomenon for him to explore. Burt packs up for his trip and Travis packs to go with him, which Burt objects to his coming but Travis convinces him that he needs to teach him how to hunt and kill graboids for when the time comes that he is unable to do it anymore. The two head out to Canada and as they are flying to the site in a single prop plane piloted by Mac, they are attacked by an ass-blaster, which runs into the prop and forces them to land. On the ground, they are approached by Mr. Cutts, who is in charge of a DARPA facility next to the research station. Cutts confiscates the alcohol that Mac was smuggling into the area and warns Burt to stay out of his way, while Burt warns him that he should take his team and leave the area. As Cutts leaves, Valerie and Aklark show up and Valerie rushes up to hug Burt. Burt chastises her for not telling him about the ass-blasters and when she learns they saw one, she says her parents aren’t going to believe it, then reveals that she is the daughter of Valentine “Val” McKee and Rhonda LeBeck, whom Burt lost track of after they left town following the first Graboid attack. The head out to the Boite Canyon Arctic Research Facility, towing Mac’s plane behind them so she can repair the engine. They are approached by Rita and Dr. Charles Freezze, who is upset to learn that the plane is broken as he wants to leave as quickly as possible. Rita introduces Burt and Travis to the rest of the staff and Burt tries to tell them of the dangers they are now facing. Burt then asks Rita to step aside and asks her about Cutts and the DARPA facility and she tells him it is a joint US/Canada project but they are being secretive about it. Suddenly an ass-blaster appears at the site and kills a security guard while trapping Freezze underneath the communications tower, which it destroys while trying to get to him. Burt heads out to rescue Freezze, handing him an insulated pancho to hide his body heat from the ass-blaster when Burt suddenly has a seizure and collapses to the ground. As the ass-blaster flies towards Burt, Travis and Rita head out and start shooting at it and Burt recovers enough to shoot as well and they eventually kill the ass-blaster, but Burt passes out. When Burt regains consciousness, Valerie tells him he had surgery and the two talk for a bit before she leaves as Travis enters the room. Travis asks Burt how he is doing but Burt angrily asks him where he got the HK that he was using when they are interrupted by Rita, who says she has something Burt needs to see. Meanwhile, the DARPA team is at the Meltwater Hot Springs 8 miles from the camp taking reading of the water when they detect a high level of formic acid in the water. Suddenly, the scientist in the water hears something just before a graboid appears and kills her. Back at the research facility, Burt is told that he has a parasitic organism in his blood that is killing him and when they tell him that it came from a graboid, he figures he was infected when he was swallowed and had to cut his way out of one. Travis suggests that they kill a graboid to get the antibodies but they tell him they need a live graboid, which Burt says is impossible to catch. Suddenly, graboid tendrils snake through the window and grab the doctor, yanking her outside to be swallowed  by the graboid. Burt orders everyone to secure the area and since they can’t get any seismograph readings due to their comm tower being down, he asks for a satellite phone only to discover that Freezze has taken it and fled. Travis radios Mac and Aklark, telling them to stop their work on the plane, just as the graboid moves under the lab and away from the area. Realizing that it is chasing after Freezze, they look outside to see him heading for the nearby truck. Hart rushes off to try and stop him but the graboid knocks the truck over and kills Freezze while Hart climbs up a nearby tower. Burt has everyone else get back inside and they try to come up with options. Swackhammer says they have some dynamite and supplies to rig up a bomb to feed down the graboids throat but Travis comes up with a better idea, using the generator to fashion an underground electrical fence to keep them away from some of the buildings. As Burt splits the group into teams to head out, Cutts and his men show up and Burt taunts him, believing that they were somehow responsible for this. Cutts tells Burt that they aren’t creating bioweapons, but are trying to access the water and figure out a way to transfer it to cities. Suddenly, the graboid breaks through the floor and attacks them, killing one of Cutts’ men. Burt tells the other to head out according to their plan and Burt tells Cutts to get somewhere on high ground and stay there. Travis sticks a makeshift fuse into the gas can on Aklark’s ATV and drives off to create a distraction and as the graboid chases after him, he jumps to safety while it swallows the ATV, only to be blown up. Burt yells for everyone to head to the hangar but when a second Graboid appears, they are forced to take shelter, with Burt and Swackhammer heading to the tower Hart is on while Travis and Rita are on the flipped over truck. Burt has Hart pee on the ground to lure the graboid towards them, then tells everyone to continue towards the hangar but as he makes a run for it, Burt suffers another seizure. Valerie and Vargas spot a third graboid heading towards Burt and he manages to make it onto some rocks before he collapses. Swaghammer manages to make the makeshift electric fence, which stops a graboid from entering the hangar but it instead heads over to the DARPA facility, attacking the building and people in there. While it is gone, Burt recovers enough to make it to the hangar and tells everyone to start prepping the bombs. Travis argues with Burt about their needing to capture one of the graboids in order to save him, then reveals that he had gone to see Heather, which is where he got the HK from. When the core sampler starts up automatically, the graboids approach the tower that Hart is on and Valerie rushes over to shut it off. Burt tells Swackhammer to shut off the fence while everyone else uses powertools to make some noise and lire the graboid towards them, then Swackhammer turns the fence back on, killing it. Valerie manages to shut off the fence as the third graboid takes off and they head towards the base. Inside the hangar, the generator gives out just as Burt has another seizure and collapses into a coma. Travis takes the lead and tells Mac to get the plane ready while they head to medical but before they leave, they hear Cutts calling out for help. Travis tells Rita and Aklark to get Burt to medical and keep him alive while he and Swackhammer head out to rescue Cutts. When they get there, Cutts demands that they get a ladder so he can get down but Travis refuses to do so unless Cutts arranges to remove the lien on Burt as well as ensure that neither Burt nor Travis have to pay federal taxes ever again and Cutts reluctantly agrees to it. Travis and Swackhammer return to the base with Cutts and he goes to see Burt, who tries to get out of bed but Travis argues with him that he needs to stay down and let him handle this as he has a plan. Travis has Swackhammer cut out the ends of a shipping container, fashioning a trap for the graboid. They then set some bait and as the graboid grabs it, Mac is able to use her plane and it’s own momentum to steer it into the container, where everyone pushes some steel bars through the slots to trap it in place. They then open the other end of the container to reveal steel bars are keeping it from closing it’s mouth and they attempt to sever the three proboscis tentacles, with Burt shooting them from the base camp before passing out again. Travis crawls inside the graboid’s mouth and extracts the venom from it’s gland sac and they take it back to medical to fashion the antibodies needed to save Burt’s life. With Burt fully recovered, he and Travis prepare to leave and Cutts shows up with the signed paperwork ensuring that Burt is clear of any tax penalties or owes any taxes ever again. Cutts then comments about the graboid being a good bioweapon but Burt has Hart fly one of his RC planes carrying a bomb into the graboid’s mouth, then detonates it, killing the graboid. Valerie says goodbye to Burt and comments about how she is going to have a great story to tell her parents and he tells her to tell Val and Rhonda he said hi. Travis and Rita, who had become attracted to each other, say goodbye, with Rita telling him she will be back in the states in 6 months. Travis kisses her on the cheek and as he joins back with Burt, Burt chastises him for simply kissing her on the cheek, prompting Travis to go back and fully embrace and kiss Rita, to the cheers of the other staff. As Travis rejoins Burt, Burt tells him it was better and that they should head back to Perfection.

One thing I like about these movies is that even though the basic premise is the same, they manage to add a new twist to make things interesting. This movie was a lot of fun to watch. Michael Gross and Jamie Kennedy did great jobs reprising their roles of Burt and Travis respectively, and I liked that they still had the clash or personalities as Burt still struggled to accept Travis as his son. Tanya van Graan (Rita) and Jamie-Lee Money (Valerie) also did great jobs in their roles and I loved the interactions between them and Travis and Burt respectively. The story was good, with the new location being a nice twist, while also being a not so subtle nod to the climate change debate. Aside from the introduction of Valerie, there were also a couple of other nods to the original movie that were pretty funny if you caught them. The special effects in the movie were good and I liked that they used the new designs from the previous movie for the graboid and ass-blasters, as it felt like the right versions to use, as they were frozen in ice millennia ago and never thawed until the temperature warmed up along the Arctic, allowing them to move about. So a great entry into a fun franchise and hopefully they will continue on with the it, either with more movies or another attempts at a TV show.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 10th, 2018 Movie – Toxic Shark

toxic shark

I am nearing the end of my movie collection but at least I will get to review one more shark movie in the process. This movie was one of the new movies that debuted during the Sharknado Week last year and if I am to be completely honest, that was probably the best year of new shark movies in it’s 6 year run. While this was not my favorite in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed today’s movie, Toxic Shark, and when I saw it was available digitally, I decided to go ahead and buy it.

The plot: At a singles retreat on a tropical island near Puerto Rico, Maggie and Vince are racing on some ATV’s when Vince crashes on something buried in the sand and falls into the ocean. As Maggie goes to help him up, they end up being attacked and killed by a mutated shark. Later, Sam, Zane, and Ryan show up on the island as part of a guy’s weekend in order to help Sam take his mind off of breaking up with his girlfriend Eden. Meanwhile, Eden arrives on the island with her friends Audra and Gabriella for the same purpose and are told of the various things that are offered at the resort. On the dock, Reese, the resort’s owner, is talking with an EPA inspector that had been checking his island due to complaints of former guests getting sick. Reese asks if he passed and the inspector says that he did pass, then tosses Reese a water testing kit before he leaves, telling him to test the water every day before letting anyone swim just as a precaution. Elsewhere, the resort’s chef Damiano and his assistant Gregory are attempting to catch some fish, with Damiano commenting how the area was filled with fish a week ago and now there is nothing there, when they are attacked by the mutated shark, which kills Damiano while spraying Gregory before killing him. Later, Reese goes to the main hut looking for Damiano and Gregory but when he can’t find them, he asks Jesse and Erin to cook something, but they refuse to do so after he leaves. Meanwhile, Sam hits the beach with Zane and Ryan and while Ryan starts flirting with a girl, Sam and Zane bump into Eden, Audra, and Gabriella. Sam and Eden begin arguing about the other being there and both refuse to leave so their friends attempt to get them to keep the peace as they are stuck there for a week and suggest they just steer clear of each other. Reese greets the guests at the resort and tries to get them all hyped up to be there. Meanwhile, Jesse is on the dock attempting to fix Reese’s boat when something strikes it and he sees something in the water but quickly gets off the dock before anything else happens. On the beach, Sam, Zane, and Ryan see Eden, Audra, and Gabriella, and both exes are trying to make the best of things in spite of how uncomfortable they feel. Gabriella goes into the water to flirt with some guys when something hits her leg, leaving a large wound in her leg and she is carried out of the water and into the medical hut. Inside, Jesse treats her wound, telling her that it was probably a broken piece of fire coral. Gabriella insists that Audra take Eden and go have some fun and they speak with Erin, who suggests they join her exercise class. Before she leaves, Jesse speaks with Erin, asking if she has seen another coworker, and tells her he thinks something is wrong as the various people have disappeared. On the beach, the yoga class is finishing up their exercises and the instructor suggests going into the ocean to cool off but while they are there, the shark kills them all. Elsewhere, Eden and Audra attend the exercise class to find that Sam had also signed up and as Erin has the group pick out partners, Sam and Eden end up paired together. Erin has them doing team exercises but Sam and Eden end up arguing and leave the class. Meanwhile, Jesse is looking for the missing staff with Hayden and Liam when they discover that the phone cable to the main land has been bitten in half and a short while later, they discover Damiano’s severed arm. Eden and Audra are at the bar when Gabriella approaches them and tells them that she is going to go lie down but as she heads to their room, she collapses on the beach. Erin goes to help her, calling out for Reese and as they get her to the medical hut, Jesse approaches to tell Reese of the problem. Reese doesn’t want to panic the guests and tries to pass everything off as being fine, which shocks Erin and Jesse and they go to warn the guests to stay out of the water. Sam, Eden, Audra, Zane, and Ryan are competing in a tug of war game in the water when Erin and Jesse yell at them to get out of the water. Suddenly, the shark attacks the group, eating some of the competitors, including Ryan, and injuring others before swimming off. As Reese and the staff work on tending to the wounded, Sam, Eden, Zane, and Audra try to figure out how to get off the island. Audra goes to check on Gabriella and when she doesn’t find her in their room, she tells the others and they find her in the medical hut, as Jesse is still tending to her. Gabriella appears to be suffering form feverish delusions, causing her to react violently, and Reese tells them he will take her, and some others, to the mainland for medical help then come back with help to evacuate the others. They carry Gabriella to the boat and try to get her in it when she suddenly bites Jesse, then attacks Sam. Sam pushes her away as he tries to avoid her and she ends up being eaten by the shark. Reese starts the boat and leaves, with Audra the only one that was on board with him, but the boat stalls out and the shark kills Reese and the boat explodes when the shark’s acid hits the engine but Audra manages to swim to safety. Sam carries Audra to the medical hut, where she is already showing the same symptoms that Gabriella was showing. Jesse theorizes that whatever toxin the shark has on it is acting like rabies, and since Audra’s exposure is closer to her brain, it is infecting her quicker. Sam, Eden, Zane, and Erin discuss what they should do while Jesse bandages his arm from where Gabriella bit him. Erin goes to get all of the other guests to stay in their huts, enlisting Liam and Hayden to help her. As they all meet back at the medical hut, Sam suggests fixing the other boat and going for help and Hayden and Liam show some spear guns that they brought in order to defend themselves against the shark. Eden suggests getting the phone lines fixed so they can call for help instead and Zane, who works for the phone company, reluctantly agrees to take a look at the lines. Sam asks Erin and Jesse to show him the other boat so he can try to fix it, then comments on Jesse not looking too good but Jesse says he is fine. Sam tells Eden to stay with Audra and watch over her and Eden asks him to hurry, as Audra continues to show signs of dementia. On the boat, Sam tells them that the engine is an easy fix but that they will need to repair the hole in the boat and pump out the water. Erin finds the pump and starts working on that when Sam notices the damage to the boat appears corroded, and Erin says that whatever the shark is spraying into the water must be doing it. Not finding a repair kit on the dock, Sam radios Eden to look for one, unaware that Jesse is showing signs of becoming fully infected. Eden looks for the repair kit in the medical hut and finds the water testing kit that the EPA investigator gave to Reese and, telling Audra she will be back, she heads out to test a theory. Meanwhile, Zane, Hayden, and Liam go to where the phone cable is only to find it had floated back out into the water. The three head out to repair the line when the shark shows up and attacks Liam. Hayden shoots it with a spear gun and Zane fires his but accidentally hits Hayden and he helps her back onto shore. Eden heads to the beach and tests the water at various sites, discovering high levels of arsenic in it and tries to figure out where it came from. Back in the medical hut, Audra is suffering the full effects of the infection and, hearing some of the other guests outside, quickly leaves the medical hut. On the dock, Jesse attacks Sam and Erin but Erin is able to knock him out and Sam ties him up so they can take him back to medical. When they get there, they find both Eden and Audra gone when Zane shows up with the wounded Hayden and Erin has Zane help her tend to Hayden’s wound while Sam goes looking for Eden. Elsewhere on the island, Eden notices some debris floating in the water and goes out to see what it is when the shark appears and swims towards her. Sam shows up to save her just as the shark suddenly swims away, with Eden explaining it was because of her shark band. Sam chastises Eden for going in the water and Eden explains what she was doing and Sam apologizes to her, both for yelling at her and for their break up and Eden apologizes as well. The two head back to the medical tent, and Sam asks Hayden if Reese had a repair kit and she tells him where it is. Eden tells them about the arsenic in the water and says that is what has mutated the shark and is causing the infection in people. Sam and Zane go to repair the boat so they can leave but the shark attacks the boat, knocking Zane into the water. Sam goes to pull Zane from the water but not before the shark injures him and they are forced to drive off in the boat to get away from the shark, while trying to figure out how to get back to the others. Eden and Erin go looking for Audra but find no sign of her. When Erin comments about the boat not being a match for the shark, Eden asks her where they keep the yoga equipment. They head to the storage room and Eden has Erin grab all of the magnets, saying that they might work to repel the shark like her shark band did earlier. As they head back to medical, they see Audra eating one of the guests and they quickly run for it while Audra chases after them, joined by other infected guests, while inside the medical hut, Jesse gets free of his bindings and kills Hayden. Eden and Erin reach the beach and contact Sam and Zane, who tell them to run for it as they see the infected mob chasing them. Eden and Erin swim for the boat and the mob follows them, only to be killed by the shark. Eden and Erin reach the boat and they start heading for the mainland, with Eden and Erin using some of the magnets to drive the shark away but it only returns and spews acid on the engine, destroying it. With Erin warning that it will be dark soon, Zane worries that they will wind up like Reese’s boat, which is directly below them. Eden suggest diving down to retrieve the flare gun in Reese’s boat, saying that Arsenic is highly flammable and so she dives down with Sam, leaving Erin and Zane to keep watch for the shark. Eden and Sam find the flare gun and start swimming back to the boat only to see the shark approaching them. On the boat, Zane succumbs to the infection and tries to attack Erin and she ends up knocking him in the water, which attracts the shark’s attention and it kills him. Eden and Sam use the distraction to reach the boat and Sam is upset about what happened to Zane but Eden tells him to focus and worry about the shark right now. Opening the case, Sam sees they only have 3 flares and as he goes to load the gun, the shark strikes the boat, causing one of the flares to drop into the water. Sam fires the second flare and it hits the shark, wounding it but not killing it. Sam fires the third shot but misses and the shark hits the boat, knocking Erin into the water. As the shark charges at them again, Eden hands Sam the bag of magnets, which he throws into the sharks mouth, causing it to react violently. Sam and Eden are forced to jump from the boat when the shark leaps out of the water and crashes onto the boat. As the shark thrashes in pain, Erin surfaces with the last flare cartridge and Eden loads it and fires it into the shark’s mouth, causing it to explode. Eden, Erin, and Sam celebrate the shark’s death, then grab onto some floating debris and start swimming for the mainland. When they reach the mainland, Sam and Eden collapse on the beach together and Sam moves to kiss her but Eden tells him they should take it slow if they want to start a new relationship. Sam agrees but before they can say anything else, Erin suddenly exhibits signs of being infected and the two quickly back away from her as she approaches them.

This was a fun movie to watch but I will admit that they kind of went a little out there with the plot. The acting was good, with Kabby Borders (Eden) and Bryce Durfee (Sam) doing great hobs in their roles. I also thought that Michelle Cortes (Erin), Sean Samuels (Zane), Eric Etebari (Reese), and Jaime Wallace (Hayden) did good jobs in their roles as well. The story was interesting but it was lacking in some set-up. I mean, the shark was mutated by arsenic but they never explained where the arsenic came from, which could have been used for a more detailed opening scene, or better sub-plot. The idea of the people injured by the shark becoming arsenic poisoned, rabid, zombie like people was a nice little side effect but it wasn’t really necessary as it took away from the killer shark, which is what you don’t really want to happen in a killer shark movie. The special effects were ok and I did like the idea of it being able to spray out acid as a result of the mutation but I wish the special effects were a little better in showing it. A fun bit of shark movie goodness if you are in the mood for some B-movie fun with a bite to it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 8th, 2018 Movie – Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

star wars episode vii - the last jedi

It’s funny, but I just realized that it is almost exactly 1 year since I started reviewing the Star Wars movies, and I now find myself watching the most recent one. Now there was a lot of buzz about this movie but the biggest surprise was what happened after it came out. People went absolutely ape-shit on the internet over this movie, for all sorts of reasons. I can kind of understand the one bit about Princess Leia but the trolls that attacked Kelly Marie Tran really took things too far. Anyways, all of the negative media buzz concerning this movie weighed in on my mind when I finally went and saw Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, but I refused to let it ruin my day and set back to enjoy the movie.

The plot: After the destruction of the First Order’s Starkiller base, General Leia Organa orders the Resistance base on D’Qar to evacuate but a fleet of First Order Star Destroyers arrives before they can flee. General Hux, the former leader of Starkiller base, prepares to open fire on the base when Poe Dameron approaches his flag ship and opens a communication with it. As Hux speaks with Poe, Poe acts like he can’t hear him in an effort to stall for time, then he makes an attack on the First Order’s dreadnought, taking out it’s surface cannons. The ruse works as the Resistance is able to escape the base before it is destroyed and Leia orders Poe back to the fleet but Poe disobeys her orders, saying that they need to destroy the dreadnought while they have the chance. With the last of the dreadnought’s surface cannons destroyed, Resistance bombers head towards it, with Poe and other fighter craft covering them. As the bombers get close to the dreadnought, most of them are destroyed when a tie fighter crashes into one of them, causing it to explode and take most of the others with it. The last surviving bomber makes it over to the dreadnought and though badly damaged, manages to drop it’s bombs and destroy it, which brings a cheer to the Resistance members but Leia is saddened by the massive loss of life that the victory cost them. As the fleet escapes into hyperspace, Finn awakens from the injuries he sustained fighting Kylo Ren and wanders out of the med bay, only to be spotted by Poe and as Poe goes to help him get dressed, Finn asks where Rey is. On the planet Ahch-To, Rey hands Luke Skywalker his old lightsaber and he stares at it before tossing it over a cliff. Rey is shocked by his actions and after retrieving it, goes to try and speak to Skywalker but he refuses to open the door to his cabin. Rey gets Chewbacca, who knocks down the door and roars at Luke and when Rey says that Luke is coming back to the Falcon with them, Luke asks where Han is. Elsewhere, Supreme Leader Snoke hears Hux’s plan for how they will destroy the Resistance and is pleased to hear what it is. As Hux leaves to carry out his plan, Kylo Ren approaches Snoke and Snoke admonishes him for his defeat against Rey, causing Kylo to get upset after he leaves the throne room. Back on Ahch-To, Rey explains why she is there to Luke but he refuses to help her and goes about his day. Rey refuses to give up and follows him around but after a bit, she senses something with the Force and is drawn to an old tree, where she finds some ancient books inside. Luke confronts her and reveals that the books are the original Jedi texts and then questions Rey again about why she is there and when she tells him about what is happening with her, Luke tells her that she needs a teacher but he refuses to teach another generation of Jedi as he had come to the planet to die. The Resistance fleet comes out of hyperspace and as Leia chastises Poe, then discusses what their next plan should be, the First Order fleet appears behind them and starts opening fire. Finn says they should do another jump but Leia realizes that they tracked them through hyperspace, which should have been impossible, and if they did another jump they will be stuck with no fuel and at the First Order’s mercy. Poe goes to lead an attack squad against the Star Destroyers but Kylo and his squadron attack the Resistance flagship, destroying their fighter bay and all of the fighters in it. Kylo then goes to attack the bridge but when he senses Leia’s presence on board, he hesitates but his wingmen don’t and blow up the bridge, sending Leia hurtling into space. Kylo is called back as the Resistance ships have moved out of range for the Star Destroyers to cover him, but they continue chasing the fleet, picking away at their shields. Meanwhile, Leia uses the force to head back to the flagship but the effort leaves her exhausted and she is taken to the medbay, while Finn picks up the signal/tracking device Leia had to contact Rey. Back on Ahch-To, Luke sneaks onto the Falcon and is surprised to see R2-D2 on board. When Luke tells R2 that he won’t be going back, R2 plays the old message of Leia begging Obi-Wan Kenobi to help her, and Luke reluctantly agrees to train Rey. Back on the Resistance flagship, with Leia incapacitated and the rest of the leadership dead, command of the fleet has fallen to Vice Admiral Holdo and when Poe approaches her to find out what the plan is, she refuses to tell him. Meanwhile, Finn attempts to escape with the biotracker in an escape pod but he is stunned by a technician named Rose. As Finn recovers, Rose is taking him to the brig when they start arguing about the First Order being able to track them through hyperspace, which causes them to come up with an idea. Finn and Rose tell Poe their idea about sneaking on the lead Star Destroyer and taking out the tracking system long enough for them to get away. Poe contacts Maz Kanata to see if she can help them crack the First Order’s security codes but she is tied up in a labor dispute but recommends a first class hacker that can be found on Canto Bight. Meanwhile, Rey wakes up to begin her training only to see a vision of Kylo, who is also able to see her. Rey tries to attack Kylo and Kylo speaks to her but when Luke appears, the connection is severed. Luke takes Rey up to a cliff and teaches her the first lesson about the Force but as she opens herself up to it, a darkness within the island calls out to her, causing her to react via the force. As Rey stops her efforts, she comments that Luke has closed himself off from the force and Luke tells her that he has seen this much power once before and he wasn’t scared then but he is now. Meanwhile, Finn, Rose, and BB-8 head to Canto Bight to locate the master hacker but as they search for him, they end up being captured for illegally parking their shuttle on a private beach. Back on Ahch-To, Rey has another vision of Kylo, who wonders why the Force is connecting them and when she tells him she found Luke, he taunts her by asking her if he told her what happened the night the temple was burned. Luke continues the lessons and tells Rey how in the end, the Jedi were failures due to their own pride in their abilities with the Force. Rey disputes the notion but Luke tells her about how the Jedi allowed Darth Sidious to rise to power and create the Empire, and how his own pride allowed his nephew Ben to become Kylo Ren and slaughter his students. Back on Canto Bight, Finn and Rose try to figure out a way out of the cell when DJ, a hacker who is in the cell with them offers to help them. They refuse his offer but when DJ picks the lock and leaves, they leave as well, escaping into the sewers, while DJ encounters BB-8, who is knocking out the guards with coins he acquired. Finn and Rose find themselves in a stable and as the kids working in the stable move to sound the alarm, Finn and Rose tell them they are with the resistance and the kids help them escape by opening the stables and letting the racing fathiers out. Finn and Rose ride on the back of one through the city and out to the beach but the police blow up their shuttle before they can get on board so they continue riding up the cliffs. They manage to elide the police and set their mount free when BB-8 appears in a shuttle, driven by DJ, and they quickly get on board and speed off. Back on Ahch-To, Luke finally opens himself up to the Force and uses it to reach out to Leia, who calls out his name. Meanwhile, Rey continues to have conversations with Kylo and he tells her that Luke had attempted to kill him because he feared Kylo’s strength in the Force. Shaken by what Kylo told her, Rey heads to the hole that is strong in the Dark Side of the Force and ends up falling in. Inside, she finds a strange, cracked mirror, which shows myriad reflections of herself and when she tries to see her parents, she only sees herself again. Rey talks with Kylo about her experience and as they continue talking, they tell each other they are not alone and touch each other through the Force. Luke enters Rey’s cabin and seeing what is happening, yells out for them to stop, destroying the cabin in the process. Luke angrily yells at Rey to leave the island and Rey asks if what Kylo told her is true. The two end up fighting and Rey ends up besting Luke when she uses the Force to grab Anakin’s old lightsaber and uses it on him, causing him to stumble and fall to the ground. Luke tells her that he had sensed a darkness in Kylo and when he looked into his mind, realized that Snoke had already turned him. Luke reacted on instinct and activated his lightsaber but couldn’t bring himself to kill Kylo but Kylo realized Luke’s initial intention and struck down Luke and destroyed his school. Rey tells Luke that she had sensed Kylo’s turmoil and feels that she could bring him back to the light and despite Luke telling her not to leave, she takes off with Chewie and R2-D2. After they leave, Luke goes to destroy the ancient Jedi texts and the tree/temple when he sees the Force Spirit of Yoda watching him. When Luke can’t bring himself to do it, Yoda summons a lightning bolt to destroy the tree and texts and when Luke argues about it, Yoda tells him that they offered nothing that Rey didn’t already know. Yoda then tells Luke that he needed to pass on what he had learned, and that included his failures as they were more important to learn from. Meanwhile, Finn and Rose are making their way to the First Order fleet and when DJ tells them he expects to be paid for his services, they tell him the Resistance will pay him when they are done and Rose gives him her necklace as a down payment. Elsewhere, the Resistance fleet has lost both of it’s escort craft and when Poe goes to see Holdo to demand to know what their plan is, he discovers that she is fueling the escape craft and plans on having everyone abandon ship. Poe is angry that she is willing to risk everyone’s lives in unarmed ships and tells her about his plan with Finn and Rose and when Holdo refuses to change her plan, Poe leads a mutiny and takes command of the ship. As Finn, Rose, DJ, and BB-8 sneak onto Snoke’s ship, Rey tells Chewie to jetison her in the escape pod and wait for her signal to return, then leaves the ship and heads to Snoke’s ship as well. She is met by Kylo, who places her in manacles and takes her up to see Snoke. Finn, Rose, DJ, and BB-8 make it to the tracking system but are captured by Captain Phasma and as Poe, who was in contact with them, despairs over their capture, he is shocked to see Leia break through the door to the bridge and stun him. Lei has Poe loaded onto one of the escape shuttles and as she discusses the plan with Holdo, Holdo says she has to stay aboard and pilot the flagship to make sure the shuttles are able to escape and though Leia is saddened by the sacrifice, she knows Holdo is right. When Poe recovers, Leia points out the nearby planet Crait and explains that there is a former Rebellion base on the planet that is heavily fortified and should allow them to contact their allies in the Outer Rim while the First Order passes them by. On Snoke’s ship, Snoke reveals that he had facilitated the connection between Rey and Kylo, as he knew Rey would fall into his trap so he could either kill her or turn her. Meanwhile, DJ is revealed to have cut a deal with the First Order and told them of the Resistance’s plan and they begin firing on the escape shuttles. Meanwhile, Snoke continues to taunt Rey and reveals the Resistance shuttles being destroyed. Snoke orders Kylo to kill Rey but as Kylo moves to do so, he secretly maneuvers Anakin’s lightsaber so that it is facing Snoke, then activates it, cutting Snoke in half. Rey and Kylo then proceed to fight off Snoke’s guards and after killing them, Rey tells Kylo to call off the attack on the shuttles but he refuses, saying that they should get rid of the old and she should rule at his side. Rey refuses and they end up fighting over Anakin’s lightsaber, eventually causing it to be split in two, knocking them both out. Meanwhile, Holdo maneuvers the flagship towards the First Order fleet and jumps to light speed, sacrificing herself by crashing into Snoke’s ship and destroying or damaging several of the smaller Star Destroyers while buying time for the remaining shuttles to make it to the surface. Finn and Rose, who were about to be executed, attempt to escape in shuttle but are forced to deal with Phasma and her stormtroopers but manage to escape with BB-8’s help, who had taken over an AT-ST. Meanwhile, Hux heads to the throne room and sees Snoke dead and Kylo lying unconscious on the floor. Hux moves to kill Kylo when Kylo regains consciousness, saying that Rey killed Snoke and demanding to know where she is. When Hux tells Kylo that she escaped in Snoke’s escape pod, Kylo orders their troops to the planet’s surface to finish off the Resistance and when Hux questions Kylo’s authority, Kylo force chokes him into accepting Kylo as the new Supreme Commander. On Crait, the Resistance prepare to hold off the First Order, Finn sees that the First Order has a battering order cannon with them and warns that it will crack open the shield door in seconds. The Resistance starts to lose hope, especially when they learn the shield door is the only way in or out, but Finn says they have to have hope that their allies will come and they should hold out until then. The Resistance forces head out to the surface, while Poe, Finn, and Rose lead a squad of pilots in ancient Rebellion speeders to take out the battering ram cannon. AS Kylo orders the support Tie-Fighters to take out the speeders and ground troopers, the Tie-Fighters come under fire by the Millennium Falcon, with Rey and Chewie on board, and the fighters all go after it. Poe leads the speeders towards the cannon but as they start getting picked off, he tells everyone to break off the attack. Finn refuses to listen and continues towards the cannon, intending to sacrifice himself to destroy it, but Rose crashes her ship into his, knocking them both out of the way as the cannon fires and blasts a hole in the door. Finn rushes over to Rose’s ship to see if she is still alive and asks why she did that and she tells him that the way they will beat them is not by destroying what they hate, but saving what they love. Inside the base, the Resistance learns that their distress signal has been received in numerous systems but nobody is coming to help them and Leia says that they must have finally run out of hope. Suddenly, Luke appears in the base and speaks with Leia, apologizing for what happened to Ben (Kylo) and saying that he is there to face him. Luke heads outside to confront Kylo and when he sees him, Kylo orders his troops to open fire on him but Luke is seemingly unfazed by their attack so Kylo orders his shuttle to land so he can confront him. Poe and the remaining Resistance troops watch Luke and Finn wants to help him but Poe realizes that Luke is stalling so that they can escape. As Poe tells everyone to try and find another way out, he notices that the crystal foxes that were in the base have vanished. Bringing that to everyone’s attention, they all see one last fox staring at them before making it’s way down a tunnel and they all follow after it. They eventually catch up to it at the site of a recent landslide and Poe starts to give up hope when Rey, who had been searching for them, uses the Force to lift the boulders away, allowing the Resistance to escape. Meanwhile, Luke and Kylo are fighting when Luke suddenly stops, as he knows his stalling has worked, and when Kylo moves to kill him, his blade goes right through Luke, revealing that Luke was simply a Force projection all along. As Luke disappears, Kylo realizes he has been tricked and sends his forces into the base but they find it empty. On Ahch-To, Luke ends up dying from his exertion battling Kylo, with both Leia and Rey feeling him pass. Kylo senses Rey and the two stare at each other through the Force before Rey closes the door to the Falcon and they leave. As the surviving members congratulate each other on surviving, Leia and Rey speak about feeling Luke’s passing, With Leia saying that the Rebellion is reborn. On Canto Bight, The children that helped Finn and Rose escape are reenacting Luke Skywalker’s stand against Kylo and the First Order when the stable manager yells at them. As they rush off to get back to work, one of them uses the Force to summon a broom to his hand and starts sweeping before staring up into the stars.

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi honors the saga’s rich legacy while adding some surprising twists — and delivering all the emotion-rich action fans could hope for.” When filming, Laura Dern said “pew” every time she shot her blaster. Although not audible, one such instance even made it into the finished film. It can be noticed in the close-up shot when Holdo is stunning her opponents. With the passing of Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels is the only actor to appear in all 8 of the main Star Wars films. Though it didn’t earn as much as it’s predecessor, the movie was a box office smash, earning $1.333 billion off of a $317 million budget.

Here’s the deal. When you watch any of the new Star Wars movies, you have to ask yourself one question before you start; Was this movie worse than Episode I? With that being said, this wasn’t what I would consider a great follow up but it was a good movie, and definitely better than The Phantom Menace. The acting was good, with Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe), and Adam Driver (Kylo) doing good jobs reprising their roles. I also thought that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were good reprising the roles of Luke and Leia respectively, while Kelly Marie Tran did a good job as Rose. The story was honestly a little disappointing because you had so many side things going on at once. Granted, the movie seemed to resemble Empire Strikes Back in some regards but while George Lucas did a good job keeping the different sub-plots flowing smoothly, the sub-plots in The Last Jedi seemed to keep jumping around at random in such a way that they felt disjointed with each other, until the last 30 minutes or so where they started to rejoin each other. Speaking of resembling Empire, the last battle on Crait really did feel like it was the Battle of Hoth, just with different equipment. Now, for the scene that brought about so much anger. Seeing as how she was the daughter of Anakin Skywalker, there was always a chance that Leia would be Force sensitive. In fact, she showed her abilities starting to emerge at the end of Return Of The Jedi. So to assume that in the years after the fall of the Empire, that she would not have undergone at least some basic training with Luke is pretty silly notion (in the old Star Wars books, Leia was actually trained by another Jedi, as she felt Luke was going to soft on her). Now, I will admit that the scene itself was quite a bit over the top, okay it was REALLY over the top, but it wasn’t as far fetched of a thing as the haters claimed it to be. The special effects were incredible and the colors and imagery in the scenes were amazing to see. I loved the battle in Snoke’s throne room, where Kylo and Ren fight the guards against the solid red backdrop of the walls and curtains, with the curtains catching fire and falling among them adding to the raw emotion in the scene. I also liked the sand that turned red on Crait, as it made for a nice way to liven up the otherwise barren battle scene. So it is a good movie and did do a good job in being the midpoint in a trilogy but it needed to nail down a couple of issues to be considered truly great.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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October 29th, 2018 Movie – Ant-Man And The Wasp

ant man and the wasp

Ok, I feel kind of bad for this but for the first time since 2008, I did not see one of the MCU movies in the theaters. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Ant-Man quite a bit but when the sequel came out, there was just too much going on in my life for me to take the time to go see it. So I had to wait patiently for this movie to come out on video before I could watch it. As soon as I got it, I had to put it in because there was one burning question that needed to be answered; how does this movie tie in to Avengers: Infinity War. Well, let’s find out as I watch today’s movie, Ant-Man And The Wasp.

The plot: Sometime after Scott Lang stopped Darren Cross (Yellowjacket), Hank Pym is talking with his daughter Hope about when her mother had gone sub-atomic to stop a missile and never came back. When Scott did the same thing to stop Cross but came back, Hank wonders if maybe his wife Janet is still alive, and shows Hope some old plans he had developed for a Quantum Tunnel, which he plans on building to try and find her. In the present, Scott Lang is finishing up his last days on being under house arrest for his role in helping Captain America. As he entertains his daughter Cassie, he is also helping his partner Luis go over the plans for their security system proposal when he accidentally triggers the perimeter alarm for his house arrest. FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and his team search the house, as part of the terms of the deal Scott signed. As his team searches the house, Woo asks if Scott has had any contact with Hank or Hope, as it was his tech that Scott used, but Scott tells him that Hank hates him for getting involved with the Avengers and neither of them have spoken to him in the past two years. That night, Scott has a dream where he is back in the quantum realm and sees Janet, then finds himself in one of Janet’s memories. Waking up, Scott uses a secret phone to contact Hank and leaves a message about the dream but realizes how stupid it sounds and hangs up, then breaks the phone. The next day, Scott is eating when something buzzes by him and stings him, causing him to pass out. When he comes too, he finds himself in a car with Hope driving. Hope explains that they have left a decoy with his ankle monitor to fool the FBI, then explains that they are still mad at him but the only reason they are talking is because they need what is in his head. Hope takes Scott to their secret lab, and Hank explains that they had been building the tunnel for the past two years and had tested it the night before when a part overloaded. % minutes after the tested it, Scott called them which makes Hank believe that Janet had placed a message inside his head that they need to get. Scott still thinks it was just a dream he had but when Hope says the dream he described was how she and her mom always played hide and seek, Hank and Hope get excited. Saying Hank owes them for going to Germany and destroying the Ant-Man suit, Hank and Hope shrink down the lab and go to see a man named Sonny Burch, with Scott reluctantly going along but as they drive off, an almost invisible figure is watching them. When they reach the meeting spot, Hope heads inside, with Hank and Scott watching via ants that Hank is controlling, but as Hope speaks with Burch, he reveals that he knows who she really is and wants to change the deal they have. Burch figured out that they are involved in quantum technology and, knowing that it is the future in energy, has arranged for some buyers for their lab but when Hope refuses, he refuses to give her the part. Hope leaves but as Burch goes to leave, Hope returns wearing he Wasp armor and begins attacking Burch’s men, reclaiming the part they needed. As Hope goes to leave, the mysterious figure appears, constantly fading in and out of sight and tangibility. Realizing Hope is in trouble, Hank gives Scott a prototype Ant-Man suit and Scott goes in to help Hope but the figure disappears, then reappears in Hank’s van and steals his lab. Needing a place to hide, Scott takes them to his business office and they discuss what they can do. With all of the equipment they could possibly use to find the lab inside the lab, Hank says there is only one man that might be able to help; his former partner Bill Foster. Meanwhile, Ghost, as Scott and the others called her, takes the lab to an abandoned house, then gets inside a special chamber to help stabilize her condition. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the college that Bill teaches at and meet with Bill, who continually makes snide remarks to Hank while they talk. When Scott notices that Woo is there, he realizes someone must have spotted them and they leave but Bill tells them a way to find the lab as they leave. In the car, Hank says that the problem with Bill’s idea of using their suit’s regulators is that he got rid of the regulators in the new suits but Scott reveals that he did not destroy his suit like he originally told them. Scott had mailed it to Luis before he was imprisoned, then placed it in a trophy that Cassie had gotten him but when Luis can’t find the trophy, Scott realizes that Cassie had taken it for show-and-tell. Scott and Hope head to Cassie’s school but while they are there, Scott’s suit malfunctions, causing him to change sizes randomly. Scott and Hope are able to retrieve the suit and after trying Bill’s idea, they get a signal from the lab and track it down. As Scott and Hope prepare to head inside, they discuss their former relationship and Hope tells Scott that had she been there, he would not have been captured. The two head inside the house and discover the lab, as well as Ghost in her chamber, but when they go to grab the lab, Ghost awakens and knocks them out. Scott comes too and finds himself strapped to a chair, with Hope and Hank still unconscious and tied up next to him. The ghost appears and says her name is Ava and she won’t hurt him but needs what is in his head. As she goes intangible again, she gets upset and wakes Hope and Hank up, just as Bill appears and reveals that he was working with Ava. Ava explains that her father was a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist that was working with Hank but when they had a disagreement, Hank had him fired and discredited. Her father continued his work to restore his name but due to thae lack of proper safeguards, there was an explosion and her parents were killed while Ava was left in her noncorporeal state. Bill was still working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and worked to help Ava, but S.H.E.L.D. wanted to use her as a spy and assassin, then kill her. When S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed, Bill helped Ava escape, and they had been watching Hank to see if he could help them when they learned of Scott’s message from Janet. Bill says that he wants to harvest the quantum energy that Janet has been soaking up to restore Ava’s body but Hank says that it will kill her if they do that. Bill goes to leave but Hank fakes a heart attack and Hope says his medicine is in the altoids container her carries. Bill goes to get the altoids container but when he opens it, a bunch of ants pop out and grow to human size. Then ants free Scott, Hope, and Hank, who are able to escape with the lab. As Hank, Hope, and Scott prepare to activate the tunnel and learn where Janet is, Ava wants to use Cassie to get Scott to get the lab back but Bill refuses to help her if she hurts Cassie so she says there are other options and leaves. Meanwhile, Burch shows up at Luis’ business and gives him some truth serum to learn where Scott is, only for Ghost to show up and disable his vehicle. Burch calls his contact at the FBI to tell him where Hank, Hope, and Scott are but tells him to give him the lab. At the lab, Hank and Hope activate the machine and Janet’s consciousness takes over Scott’s body, allowing her to help them locate where she is but she warns them that they only have 2 hours or else it will be another century before they will be able to try again. Luis calls and warns Scott about what happened and Scott tells Hank and Hope, who are upset and quickly work on powering down the lab so they can shrink it and leave while Scott grabs the Ant-Man suit and heads home so Woo doesn’t catch him. At Scott’s house, Cassie, along with her mother and stepfather, show up at Scott’s house and Cassie discovers the giant ant pretending to be Scott but keeps it a secret. When Woo shows up, Cassie stalls him and Scott is able to get back in time but Hank and Hope are captured. As they are being placed in a car, Burch’s man grabs the lab and puts it in the trunk of his car but Ghost appears and knocks him out and steals the lab. At Scott’s house, Cassie talks with Scott and asks if he is going to help Hope and Hank and Scott says he wants to but doesn’t want to hurt her and she tells him that he should help them. At the FBI office, Hope picks the lock to her and Hank’s restraints and they try to figure out a way out of there when Scott uses some ants to bring Hope’s Wasp suit, as well as an FBI uniform for Hank, and then cover the camera so they can escape, unaware that Burch’s men are following them. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the lab, thanks to Hank placing a new tracker on it. When they get there, Hank tells them that he will be the one to head into the tunnel, as he needs them to protect the tunnel and deal with Ghost. Scott uses the ants to disrupt the machine, drawing Ghost out and Hank heads inside, using some large ants to keep Bill at bay. As Bill explains his reasoning, Hank tells him that he will help Bill find a cure as soon as he gets back from rescuing Janet and Bill wishes him luck. Ghost attacks Scott and as she does, Hank heads through the Quantum Tunnel while Hope shrinks the lab, allowing her and Luis to grab it. They go to leave but Burch and his men show up and they are forced to drive from them, with Hope shrinking and growing the van to deal with the pursuers. Scott catches up to them while Hope deals with the last of Burch’s men but Ghost shows up and steals the lab, while causing Scott to crash the van. Hope and Scott work on getting the lab back but as they deal with Ghost, Burch manages to grab the lab. Hope chases after her and Scott, still having issues with his suit, follows after them. Meanwhile, Hank makes it to the quantum realm and goes searching for Janet but as he collapses from the strain of the realm on his mind, Janet shows up and helps him but as they go to return to the surface, the learn that the lab is still shrunk down and they can’t ascend. Back on the surface, Luis finds the remote for the lab in the van and grabs another car to drive and meet with Hope and Scott. When he comes under fire form Burch’s men, Hope rescues him while Scott continues chasing after Burch. When Burch gets onto a ferry to escape, Scott grows to giant size in order to get the lab back from him but as he places it back on the dock, he passes out from the strain on his body. Hope and Luis arrive and Hope dives into the water to save Scott while Luis goes to get the lab but Ghost shows up and knocks him out, then enlarges the lab. Seeing the lab has returned to normal, Hank and Janet begin the journey back, unaware as to what is going on. Luis is confronted by Burch and his men but Kurt and Dave show up and uses tasers to incapacitate Burch’s men while Luis knocks out Burch. Inside the lab, Bill tries to talk Ghost out of harvesting Janet’s energy but Ghost shoves him aside and starts the process, which starts tearing Janet apart. Scott and Hope enter the lab and stop Ghost, then begin fighting with her until Hank and Janet return, with Scott rescuing Hope while Ghost is struck by the vehicle. Hank, Janet, and Hope all embrace each other and when Janet sees Ghost, she approaches her and gives her some of her energy to temporarily stabilize her. When Luis warns them that the cops and FBI are approaching, Scott uses his suit to create a decoy so that they can get away, while he rushes home, where a suspicious Woo can’t prove he had left and takes off the ankle monitor, warning him that he will be keeping an eye out for him. Burch and his men are arrested, and since Luis, Kurt, and Dave were credited with the arrest, their company gets a huge contract that they had been working on. Ava tells Bill to leave her, as she had hurt so many people trying to save her life, but Bill says he won’t leave her and she embraces him. Hank and Janet are shown to be on a tropical beach, where Hank reveals he had shrunk their house and brought it with them for them to live in. Scott, Hope, and Cassie are enjoying a makeshift drive-in movie night, where Cassie reveals to Hope that Scott wants her to be his partner. Some time later, Hank, Hope, and Janet have made a smaller Quantum Tunnel and Scott travels into it in order to get some quantum healing particles for Ava but as they prepare to bring him back, Hope, Hank, and Janet are disintegrated, courtesy of Thanos and the Infinity Stones, leaving Scott stranded in the quantum realm.

Ant-Man And The Wasp met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.” During the scene where Hank, Hope, and Scott first meet with Bill Foster, Bill says that he worked on the “Goliath Project” with Hank and had grown to 21 feet. In the comics, Bill Foster was Hank Pym’s assistant and would indeed become a super hero known as Goliath, who took part in Civil War as one of Cap’s allies but would be killed by a robotic version of Thor. The movie was a box office success, earning $622.4 million off of a $195 million budget.

I really feel bad for not seeing this in theaters because this movie was just as funny as the original. The acting was good, with Paul Rudd (Scott), Evangeline Lilly (Hope) and Michael Douglas (Hank) doing great jobs in their roles. Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet) and Laurence Fishburne (Bill) were also good, while Hannah John-Kamen and Walton Goggins (Burch) made for some interesting villains in Ghost and Burch respectively. The story was pretty good as, aside from the aspect of Scott bing under house arrest, it was essentially a stand alone movie that did not need to rely on anything from the other movies. There was simply the part at the end where the Hank, Hope, and Janet disintegrated that showed the events were occurring roughly at the same time as Thanos’ attack on the universe. One thing about the movie I did like was the various moral decisions that constantly came into play during the movie. I mean, you had Scott wanting to stay on the straight and narrow so he wouldn’t get his chance at probation revoked and losing the chance to spend time with his daughter, but also wanting to help Hope and Hank rescue Janet. Then you have Bill Foster, who wants to save Ava but in the end, doesn’t want her to risk harming Janet, though Ava is willing to do whatever it takes to save herself, including threatening Cassie until Bill warns her against it. The special effects were great, with the constant size changing during the fight scenes, as well as the car chase scenes, were incredible to watch and really well timed. The visual imagery during Hank’s journey into the quantum realm was also incredibly beautiful, even the tardigrades (water bears). A fun movie to watch and a good way to ease back from the emotions of Infinity War.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 28th, 2018 Movie – Avengers: Infinity War

avengers infinity war

This is it. This is the movie that has been 6 years in build up and anticipation. Ever since Thanos first appeared in the post credits of The Avengers, this is the movie that everyone knew was going to happen. Now I have to admit that while I was always a comic book reader back in the day, the Infinity Gauntlet story line was the one that really got me into some hardcore collecting back then. I mean, this was a three year story arc that was spread out over dozens of titles, not including the main 6 issue mini-series for the main story arcs, and that was an awful lot of comics to be buying. So I was really curious to see how they were going to be translating this movie onto the big screen. Surprisingly, I did not rush out to watch this opening weekend but would wait a few weeks before I went to see it in theaters but I bought it almost immediately after it came out on video. Now, let’s get our hearts ripped ut once again with today’s movie, Avengers: Infinity War.

The plot: Out in space, the Asgardian refugee ship has come under attack by Thanos’ flagship. Thanos teleports on board with his acolytes (Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive) and they kill all of the Asgardians and wound Heimdall. Loki is left alone and he watches as Thanos grabs Thor and reveals that he has the Power Stone, which he had taken from Xandar. Thanos approaches Loki and demands that he turn over the Tesseract or else he will kill Thor and Loki tells him to kill Thor but as Thanos proceeds to blast him, Loki relents and reveals the Tesseract and moves to give it to Thanos, only to pull it back and rescue Thor as the Hulk leaps out and attacks Thanos. Obsedian goes to help Thanos but Maw holds him back as Thanos, using the Power Stone, is able to overpower the Hulk and beat him down. Heimdall uses his sword to summon the Bifrost to transport Hulk back to Earth to warn them of Thanos’ coming and Thanos kills him for that. Trapping Thor within some wreckage of the ship, Thanos breaks the Tesseract to reveal the Space Stone within it and places it in his gauntlet. He then orders his acolytes to go to Earth to retrieve the two stones that are there, then bring them back to him on Titan. Loki volunteers to help them on Earth but as he approaches Thanos, he tries to stab him only for Thanos to stop the attack and break Loki’s neck, dropping the body in front of Thor. Thanos then uses the stones to destroy the ship and teleport himself and his acolytes back to their ship and, with his bonds broken, Thor crawls over to Loki’s body just before the ship explodes. On Earth, Dr. Stephen Strange and Wong are discussing getting lunch when the Hulk is dropped through the ceiling of the Sanctum and as he transforms back into Banner, he tells them Thanos is coming. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are walking in Central Park when Strange appears before them and says he needs his help, bringing Bruce with him to prove the seriousness of the situation. Stark goes with them back to the Sanctum, where Strange and Wong explain the history of the Infinity Stones to Stark, and how they are the protectors of the Time Stone. When Banner says that they have to find Vision, Stark admits that Vision has turned off his transponder and been missing for 2 weeks. He says that Steve Rogers might be able to find him and when Banner says to call him, Stark tells him that they are no longer speaking and about the Avengers breaking up. Banner tells Stark that Thor is dead and Stark reluctantly pulls out the phone that Steve had given him when they notice something happening outside, only to find a giant spaceship has appeared over the city. Peter Parker is on a field trip with his class when he sees the spaceship and while his classmates are all staring at it, he quickly changes into his Spider-Man costume and goes back to the city. Maw and Obsidian appear on the street and demand the Time Stone and Stark, Strange, and Wong prepare to face them but when Banner tries to change into the Hulk, he refuses to come out so Strange teleports him away to safety. Stark ends up facing Obsidian, with Peter arriving to help him while Strange and Maw face Maw. Maw easily knocks Wong aside and manages to capture Strange but finds Strange has placed a protective enchantment on the Eye of Agamotto, which holds the Time Stone, preventing him from grabbing it. As Maw attempts to leave with Strange, his Cloak of Levitation flies him away and as they pass by the battle with Obsidian, Stark tells Peter to help him. Peter attempts to rescue Strange but Strange ends up being beamed aboard Maw’s ship, with Peter clinging to the side of it. Stark tries to get away from Obsidian to help Peter, with Wong teleporting Obsidian to another part of Earth so he can do so, and as he flies after the ship, he orders his computer, Friday, to activate a set of armor. The ship rises above the atmosphere and Peter starts to pass out when the armor attaches itself to him, becoming a nanotech version of his spider suit, and Stark orders Friday to send him home while he breaks inside the ship but Peter manages to stay on the ship and sneaks inside as well. Back on Earth, Wong returns to the Sanctum to guard it while Bruce picks up the flip-phone that Stark had dropped and calls Steve. Out in Space, the Guardians of the Galaxy had heard the Asgardian distress call and go to help only to find the wreckage and bodies scattered in space. Thor’s body lands on their ship and when they see he is still alive, they bring him on board, where Mantis revives him. Thor tells them what happened and says that Thanos will be going to Knowhere next, as that is where the Reality Stone is being held. When they ask why he will be going there next, Thor says that Thanos has the Power and Space stones, the Time and Mind stones are safe on Earth with the Avengers, and nobody knows where the Soul Stone is (which causes Gamora to get a sad look on her face). Thor then says he needs to borrow their scout ship so he can go to Nidavellir, so he can have Eitri the Dwarf make a new weapon so he can kill Thanos. Rocket agrees to go with Thor, telling Groot to come with them, leaving the others to go to Knowhere to stop Thanos from getting the stone. Back on Earth, Vision is in Scotland with Wanda Maximoff, as they have secretly been seeing each other for 2 years. As they walk along the city, Vision asks Wanda to stay with him when they see the news footage about the events in New York. Suddenly, they are attacked by Midnight and Glaive and they try to fend them off but find themselves outmatched but before they can finish off Wanda and retrieve the Mind Stone, Steve shows up, along with Sam Wilson and Natasha Romanoff. The three manage to wound Glaive so Midnight teleports them away and Steve helps Vision onto their ship and tells Sam to take them home. Back in space, Gamora remembers her first meeting with Thanos, where he had slaughtered half of her people, including her mother, then adopted her. When Peter Quill approaches her, she asks him to kill her if Thanos looks like he is going to win, as she knows something that Thanos can never find out, and Quill reluctantly agrees to do so and Gamora kisses him. The group arrives at Knowhere and find the place is deserted but as they make their way to the Collector’s room, they find Thanos questioning the Collector about the Reality Stone’s whereabouts. Seeing Thanos, Drax wants to attack him in revenge for his family and when he doesn’t listen to reason, Mantis puts him to sleep. Gamora attacks Thanos and seemingly kills him but as she breaks down in tears over killing her adopted father, Thanos reveals that he already has the Reality Stone and had used it to make a false reality. Thanos grabs Gamora, then uses the Stone to tear apart Drax and Mantis, leaving only Quill to face him. Gamora reminds Quill of his promise and he reluctantly points his gun at her, with Thanos taunting him over it, and after they both admit their love for each other, he pulls the trigger only for bubbles to come out of his gun. Thanos smiles, telling Quill he likes him, then disappears with Gamora, leaving Quill with the restored Drax and Mantis on the ruins of Knowhere. Back on Earth, Rogers and the fugitive Avengers return to Avengers HQ, interupting a meeting that James Rhodes is having with Secretary of State Ross. After Rhodes shuts off the meeting, disobeying Ross’ orders to arrest them, he greets Steve and the others. Steve and Natasha are surprised to see that Banner is there and after he tells them what is going on, he asks about Clint and is told that both he and Scott Lang had signed deals to protect their families. Vision tells them that they need to destroy the Mind Stone as it is the only way to ensure Thanos doesn’t succeed in his plan but Wanda refuses to do it. Bruce suggests finding a way to remove the Stone without killing Vision and Steve says there is only one place where they have a chance of doing that. In Wakanda, T’Challa and Okoye are discussing their resources for the upcoming fight, with T’Challa saying they should send a message to M’Baku and the Jabari for help, as they approach Bucky BArnes and give him a new cybernetic arm to use in the fight. Back in space, Maw is torturing Strange to try and force him to give him the Time Stone. Stark discovers that Peter had stowed away and is upset with him for not listening but agrees to let him help him rescue Strange. Stark blasts a hole in the side of the ship, sucking Maw out into space while Peter, and the Cloak of Levitation, rescue Strange. Strange wants to turn the ship around and return to Earth but Stark refuses, as he wants to take the fight to Thanos rather than let him do any more damage to Earth. After arguing for a bit, Strange relents but warns Stark he will let him and Peter die in order to protect the Time Stone and Stark says he is ok with that, then tells Peter that he is an Avenger now. On Thanos’ flagship, Thanos and Gamora argue about his plans and how he wants to right the cosmic imbalance he sees. He then says he knows she lied about not finding the Soul Stone and takes her into a room, where Gamora sees Nebula has been captured and pulled apart while still alive. Thanos begins torturing Nebula and Gamora tries to lie but when he accesses Nebula’s memory banks and plays a file showing that Gamora had found the map and burned it, she reluctantly tells Thanos where the Soul Stone is in order to spare Nebula. Elsewhere, Thor, Rocket, and Groot continue towards Nidavellir and, after Rocket talks with Thor and gives him a cybernetic eye to replace his missing one, they arrive only to find the massive forge has gone cold. Heading inside, they find the place empty and Rocket sees a mold for a Gauntlet similar to Thanos’, just before they are attacked by Eitri. Thor gets him to stop attacking them and Eitir blames Thor for not protecting them but when Thor tells him that Asgard has been destroyed, Eitri says that he made the gauntlet in order to save his people, but Thanos killed them anyways, then poured the molted metal over his hands, ruining them. Back on Thanos’ ship, one of Thanos’ soldiers works on repairing Nebula only for her to kill him, then send a message to Mantis telling her to have the Guardians meet her on Titan. Stark, Strange, and Peter crash land on Titan, only to be attacked by the Guardians, who mistake them for working with Thanos but after a brief standoff, the Guardians realize that they are the people Thor was talking about. Knowing that Thanos will be coming to them, Stark tries to come up with a plan, arguing about it with Quill when the Guardians seem uninterested. They notice Strange doing something and as the approach him, he tells them that he had been using the Time Stone to look through future outcomes of their fight with Thanos and of the over 14 million futures he looked through, there was only one in which Thanos loses. Meanwhile, Thanos and Nebula arrive on Vormir and are confronted by the Red Skull, who is the Keeper of the Soul Stone. The Red Skull tells them that in order to obtain the Soul Stone, he must sacrifice what he loves most. Gamora laughs, saying that Thanos doesn’t love anything, but the Red Skull says that isn’t true, and Gamora realizes that Thanos did love her as a daughter. Gamora tries to kill herself but Thanos wills the knife away, then throws Gamora off the cliff to her death and as he sheds tears for her death, he is given the Soul Stone. Back on Earth, The Avengers arrive in Wakanda and are greeted by T’Challa, Okoye, and Bucky and as they take Vision into Shuri’s lab, she says she should be able to remove the stone but it will take time. The Acolyte’s ship arrives and sends a landing party outside the country’s borders and while Steve tells Wanda to blow up the Stone as soon as it is removed from Vision, T’Challa marshals his army and tells them to bring Steve a shield. Back on Nidavellir, Eitri explains that there was a weapon called Stormbreaker that was to become Thor’s when he became King and it would be strong enough to kill Thanos but with the rings frozen, he won’t be able to forge it. Thor has Rocket help him restart the rings and when the mechanism fails, he holds it open long enough for the metal to heat, but passes out from the pain and Rocket saves him and brings him back to the forge. Eitri manages to pour the molten metal into the mold, then looks for the handle, as the axe is the only thing that can save Thor’s life. Groot uses his own arm to form a handle for the axe, then breaks it off and as it clatters to the floor, Thor’s fingers start sparking with electricity as the axe moves towards him. Back on Earth, the Avengers, with Bruce wearing Stark’s Hulkbuster armor, stand beside the Wakandan army and watch as the landing craft descend. Steve, T’Challa, and Natasha approach the barrier to speak with Obsidian and Midnight and when Natasha asks about Glaive, Midnight says they will pay for his life. Midnight summons her amry of creatures to attack the barrier and the creatures kill themselves forcing their way through, with the Wakandans picking off the stragglers. When the creatures move to flank them, T’Challa orders a section of the barrier to be opened, then he leads his army forward to face the creatures, with the Avengers joining in. The Avengers and Wakandans try to hold off the creatures so Shuri can finish removing the Mind Stone but they find themselves being overwhelmed when Thor suddenly appears with Rocket and Groot and they join the fight. On Titan, Thanos arrives to find Strange waiting for him and they talk briefly, with Thanos explaining his plans but Strange was merely a distraction as Stark pushes one of Titan’s destroyed satellites onto Thanos. Quill, Drax, Peter, Strange, and Mantis join in the fight as they try to take the gauntlet from Thanos. As Thanos appears to get the upper hand, Nebula appears and distracts him long enough for Mantis to try and put him to sleep. As she struggles with Thanos, Drax and Strange hold him down while Peter and Stark try to take the gauntlet off of him. Quill asks Thanos about Gamora and when Mantis says he is mourning, Nebula realizes Gamora is dead and an enraged Quill begins hitting Thanos in the face. When Stark tries to calm Quill down, Thanos recovers and is able to send everyone flying then knock out Mantis, Drax, Quill, and Nebula, leaving Peter, Stark, and Strange to fight him. Back on Earth, the battle continues and when Midnight summons some war machines onto the field, Wanda leaves the lab to help her friends and Midnight, seeing her on the field, contacts Glaive and tells him to make his move. Glaive, who had managed to sneak into the palace, kills the guards and knocks out Shuri but Vision grabs him and shoves him out the window, falling out as well. Falcoln sees what is happening and tells Steve, who yells out for someone to help Vision. Banner shows up and ends up fighting with Obsidian and when he tries to summon the Hulk again, Hulk still refuses so Banner is able to kill Obsidian by using the Hulkbuster armor to send him into the barrier, killing him, then says that he and Hulk have a lot to figure out. Wando goes to help Vision but is knocked down by Midnight and as Natasha and Okoye fight with her, Wanda recovers and uses her powers to send Midnight into the path of the war machines. Steve reaches Vision’s side and fights with Glaive, telling Vision to get out of there, but as Glaive overpowers Steve, Vision stabs him with his own spear. Back on Titan, Thanos is able to overpower Stark and the others, stabbing Stark with his own armor, and as he moves to finish him, Strange offers him the Time Stone in exchange for Stark’s life. Thanos takes the Stone and as Quill recovers and fires at him, he teleports away. Stark asks Strange why he did that and Strange tells him that they are in the end game now. Back on Earth, the Avengers and Wakandans are winning the battle when Thanos appears on Earth. Steve and the Avengers work on fighting him but he is easily able to overpower them so Vision tells Wanda to destroy the Stone. Wanda manages to do so but Thanos uses the Time Stone to turn back time, then grabs the Mind Stone from Vision’s head, killing him. As Thanos places the Stone in the gauntlet, Thor attacks him and manages to stab him in the chest with Stormbreaker, but Thanos tells him he should have aimed for his head, then snaps his fingers, causing a massive flash of light to appear. When it subsides, Thor asks Thanos what he did, as Thanos stares at the damaged gauntlet before teleporting away. As Steve asks where he went, Bucky calls out to him before he disintegrates, as does T’Challa, Wanda, Groot, Sam, and many of the Wakandans. On Titan, Stark and everyone regroup when Mantis senses something has happened just before she disintegrates. Drax and Quill disintegrate and Strange tells Stark it was the only way, just before he and Peter disintegrate, leaving Stark and Nebula the only two left on Titan. As the heroes left on Earth try to come to terms with what has happened, Thanos is seen on a distant world, recovering from the injury he received from Thor. In New York City, Nick Fury and Maria Hill are driving when they see vehicles crashing as their drivers are disintegrating. As Maria disintegrates, Nick races to his bag and grabs a special pager from his bag and sends out a signal just before he disintegrates and the pager falls to the ground, with a star atop a red and blue background showing on the screen.

Avengers: Infinity War met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.” Tom Holland was not allowed to read the script for this movie, since he revealed too many secrets for Spider-Man: Homecoming. In one of the promotional videos for the movie, several of its cast members are in an interrogation room refusing to reveal any spoilers, and Holland’s mouth is conspicuously taped shut.The movie was a box office success, earning $2.05 billion off of a $400 million budget, making it the 4th movie to break the $2 billion mark and the first superhero movie to do so while breaking several other box office records in the process.

As much as I hate to say it, perhaps there is some truth to the old saying that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. This was a great movie to watch but because there was so much going on, I feel like they weren’t able to give it quite the justice it deserved. The acting was great, with everyone doing great jobs reprising their roles from the previous movies. I really liked the interactions some of the characters had with characters from different movies, such as Thor with the Guardians or Stark with Dr. Strange as well as his interactions with Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The story was pretty good in the way it explained Thanos’ motivation for wanting to find the Infinity Stones. It also did a good job in explaining how the different heroes managed to come together to fight Thanos and his acolytes, and how some of the Earth heroes ended up fighting Thanos in space Rocket and Groot ended up on Earth. One thing I wish they had done a better job of is clearing up some plot holes, such as what happened with Valkyrie, as well as Korg and the surviving gladiators that were on the ship at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. Were they killed as well or were they not on the ship when Thanos attacked them? Also, I wish they had shown Thanos collecting the Power Stone from Xandar. I mean, you kind of see him get the Reality Stone but your first appearance of him is with him already having the Power Stone and you just casually toss out that he destroyed Xandar to get it. That’s it? Every other stone was a fairly decent scene but the Power Stone was reduced to just a casual line that Thor blurts out? That is lame. The special effects really were incredible and they went all out with this movie. From the various planets and locations to all of the battles, this was a true special effects extravaganza. A fun movie to watch and while not perfect, did a good job in tying the MCU together against a single enemy.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 27th, 2018 Movie – Black Panther

black panther

Back in the 90’s, there was talk that Wesley Snipes wanted to do a movie based on Black Panther, but it never came about and he ended up starring in Blade. However, the idea never truly went away as in the 2000’s, with the success of the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Blade movies, Marvel announced Black Panther as one of the characters that would be involved in a movie deal with Paramount Pictures, which would end up becoming the MCU. Ever since he appeared in Civil War, there was a lot of talk about how the Black Panther’s solo movie would turn out and the trailers for it only made people want to talk about it even more. I know it got me wanting to go see it and shortly after it hit theaters, I went early one Sunday morning and watched Black Panther, and am excited to watch it again.

The plot: Millions of years ago, a vibranium meteorite crashed to Africa. Centuries later, after mankind developed on Earth, 5 tribes settled in the area, calling it Wakanda, but the tribes were constantly at war with each other. When a shaman warrior receives a vision of the panther goddess Bast, which led him to a heart-shaped herb infused with the meteorites powers, he eats the herb, granting him superhuman abilities, and became the first Black Panther. The man then united 4 of the tribes together but the 5th tribe, the Jabari, refuse and isolate themselves in the mountains. With peace settled, the Wakandans uses the vibranium to advance their civilization but as wars and chaos occur in the outside world, the countries leaders decide to keep themselves hidden in plain site by pretending to be a third world country while hiding their nation’s true power. In 1992 Oakland, California, a Wakandan native called N’Jobu is planning an arms heist with his partner James when he receives a visit from King T’Chaka. After greeting N’Jobu, T’Chaka embraces him, as N’Jobu is his baby brother, and asks how he is doing. He then tells N’Jobu that a man called Ulysses Klaue had somehow broken into Wakanda and stolen some vibranium from their storehouse. When N’Jobu denies T’Chaka’s accusations that he helped Klaue enter Wakanda, James reveals that he is another Wakanda spy named Zuri and reveals that he was helping him, and T’Chaka orders N’Jobu to be taken back to Wakanda to face the council for his crimes. In the present day, one week has passed since King T’Chaka was killed at the United Nations bombing. As his son T’Challa watches news reports talking about his becoming the new king, Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje (Wakanda’s elite special forces unit), pilots him towards a convoy, where one of Wakanda’s undercover operatives is being held captive. Okoye moves to go with T’Challa but he tells her he can handle things on his own and Okoye relents but tells him not to freeze when he sees “her”. Donning his helmet, T’Challa drops from their ship and throws some EMP beads at the convoy, shutting down the engines of the vehicles. T’Challa then begins attacking the guerillas but freezes when Nakia, his former lover, stops him from killing one of them, as he is just a boy that had also been kidnapped. The last guerilla uses the opportunity to grab another hostage but he is killed by Okoye, who admonishes T’Challa. T’Challa explains to Nakia why they are there and they leave, sending the other captives back to their villages while they head back to Wakanda. In London, Erik Stevens is looking at the artifacts in the African wing of the British Museum, discussing them with the curator, when he comments that one of them is from Wakanda and he plans to steal it. The woman starts to call security when she collapses due to a poison in her coffee and Klaue and his partner, disguised as paramedics, arrive and kill the security guards. Klaue breaks open the display case and grabs the artifact, confirming it is made of vibranium and tells Stevens that he already has a buyer for it and Stevens warns him that the Wakandans will come after him but Klaue isn’t concerned and they leave, with Stevens grabbing a mask from another display as they do. Back in Wakanda, Zuri leads the coronation ceremony and after T’Challa’s powers are stripped from him, the offer is made for any tribe to challenge him from the throne. The 4 tribes say they will not challenge for the throne but before Zuri can declare T’Challa king, the Jabari tribe, led by M’Baku, arrive at ceremony. M’Baku says that the Jabari have watched and can’t stand for how Wakanda is being run now and challenges T’Challa for the throne, which T’Challa accepts. The two men fight, with M’Baku getting the upper hand but T’Challa is able to overcome him but instead of killing him, he forces M’Baku to yield, saying his people need him. T’Challa has his powers restored and as he is healed of his wounds, his mind is taken to the ancestral plane, where he is visited by his father and T’Challa asks him for advise on being a king. The next day, T’Challa tries to convince Nakia to stay in Wakanda but she tells him she can’t as she wants to do more to help people in the other countries and tries to get him to have Wakanda do more as well. As he talks with his friend W’kabi about Nakia’s wishes, they are both contacted by Okoye and head to a council meeting. In the meeting, Okoye tells them about the theft of the Wakandan artifact and Klaue selling it in South Korea and T’Challa decides to head out to South Korea to capture or kill him. After heading to his sister Shuri’s lab so she can give him some new equipment, he heads to South Korea with Okoye and Nakia. The three head to an illegal casino that Nakia knows about during her undercover days, and as they scope out the place, T’Challa recognizes CIA agent Everett Ross and tells them that there may be some complications. T’Challa approaches Ross and asks him if he is there to buy the vibranium and when Ross doesn’t deny it, T’Challa tells him that he is leaving the building with Klaue. When Klaue arrives, he as several men with him and T’Challa realizes that Klaue expected them to show up. When Okoye’s cover is blown, Klaue has his men attack everyone and he manages to stun T’Challa with his hidden sonic blaster when T’Challa confronts him. Klaue and his men leave, with Okoye and Nakia chasing after them and T’Challa eventually follows, riding atop a car that is being remotely driven by Shuri. Klaue’s men split up and T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia split up to chase after them, taking out all of Klaue’s subordinates but Klaue is able to destroy Okoye and Nakia’s car. T’Challa catches up to Klaue and disables his car, causing it to wreck and moves to kill Klaue but Okoye and Nakia, who had been given a lift by Ross, tells him to stop as there are too many people there filming the encounter. Klaue is taken to a CIA holding facility and Ross questions him about his arm cannon but Klaue tells him that it is nothing compared to the weapons that Wakanda has, explaining the history behind the country. As Ross questions T’Challa about the truth of Klaue’s claims, Stevens and his team show up and break Klaue out of the cell and escape, severely wounding Ross in the process. Realizing that Ross will die if they don’t help him, T’Challa decides to bring Ross to Wakanda so Shuri can hela him, much to the chagrin of Okoye. After taking Ross to Shuri’s lab, and T’Challa breaking the news to W’Kabi that they did not capture Klaue, T’Challa goes to see Zuri and question him about his uncle N’Jobu, as Stevens was wearing a ring just like T’Challa’s. Zuri is reluctant to speak but when T’Challa demands answers, he tells him the truth about N’Jobu, who had a son while in America, and that T’Chaka had been forced to kill N’Jobu when he attempted to kill Zuri for betraying him. Meanwhile, Stevens kills Klaue and his team, then transports Klaue’s body to Wakanda and shows it to W’Kabi, who asks who Stevens is. Ross regains consciousness and is shocked to see the lab that he is in, as well as the mountain of vibranium. As he talks with Shuri, Okoye contacts her to ask where T’Challa is and tells her about Stevens and Klaue and when Shuri sees the image of Stevens she is shocked when Okoye says he is Wakandan but Ross says that Stevens is an American Black Ops member. T’Challa is with Nakai, discussing what his father did to his uncle when Shuri contacts him and he heads to the palace. Ross tells T’Challa and Shuri about Stevens, who had gone by the code name Killmonger in his unit, and when Killmonger is brought to the Council, T’Challa says he knows who he is. Killmonger reveals that he is the son of N’Jobu and exercises his right to combat for the throne and T’Challa reluctantly accepts. T’Challa is stripped of his powers and fights Killmonger but Killmonger is able to beat T’Challa and moves to kill him but Zuri stops him, saying that he is the reason that N’Jobu is dead. Killmonger kills Zuri and as T’Challa reacts in grief, Killmonger chastises T’Challa’s capabilities to the Elders before throwing him over the waterfall. Nakia gets Shuri and her mother Ramonda to safety, as well as Ross, but when she tries to get Okoye to come with her, Okoye reluctantly tells her that the Dora Milaje serve the throne, no matter who is on it. Killmonger undergoes the ritual to gain the powers of the Black Panther, instead of the Ancestral Plane, Killmonger finds himself in his father’s old apartment, where N’Jobu tells him that they are both lost but Killmonger rejects that idea. Regaining consciousness, Killmonger orders the garden of the heart-shaped herb to be razed so nobody else can get the power of the Black Panther but Nakia manages to sneak down and steal one of the herbs before they are destroyed. Once he is on the throne, Killmonger tells the Council that they should send vibranium weapons to their “war dogs” so that they can arm revolutions and overthrow the various governments and set themselves up as rulers. Okoye says that is not the Wakandan way but W’Kabi says that the old ways are no longer practical and now they should embrace Killmonger’s idea. Meanwhile, Nakia, Ramonda, Shuri, and Ross travel to Jabariland, where Nakia intends to give M’Baku the last of the herbs so that he might overthrow Killmonger. M’Baku has them follow him to a hut, where they find T’Challa half buried in snow, and M’Baku explains that one of his fishermen found him on the river and brought him there, where he has been in a coma ever since. Ramonda gives the herb to T’Challa, who is transported to the Ancestral Plane again but instead of going with his father, he tells T’Chaka and his ancestors that their policies led them to this and he must go and right their wrongs. After T’Challa regains consciousness, Ross tells him about Killmonger’s training and he realizes that Killmonger is planning on doing exactly what his father wanted T’Chaka to do. Deciding that they need to stop Killmonger, T’Challa thanks M’Baku for saving his life, who says that he owed T’Challa for sparing his own but refuses to help T’Challa when he asks him to help stop Killmonger. Killmonger oversees the first shipment of weapons to his war dogs but the plane is brought down by T’Challa, who tells him that the challenge is not finished. Killmonger order W’Kabi to kill T’Challa and, despite Okoye telling him not to, W’Kabi orders the border tribe to attack. Okoye tells Killmonger he is not fit to be king and sends the Dora Milaje to help T’Challa while she attacks Killmonger with three other soldiers. Inside Shuri’s lab, Shuri tells Ross that they are going to remote hijack a ship for him to fly and shoot down the ships carrying vibranium weapons and while he does that, they attack Killmonger when he knocks Okoye and her warriors down the hill. Killmonger beats Nakia and is going to kill Shuri but T’Challa sees him and attacks him, knocking him down into the mine. T’Challa tells Shuri to activate the train on their level, as the sonic resonators will deactivate the suit that Killmonger is wearing, even though it will deactivate his own suit as well. On the surface, W’Kabi’s border tribe is winning and tells Okoye to surrender when M’Baku and the Jabari arrive and begin fighting them, and Okoye finally is able to get W’Kabi to surrender while Ross is able to destory the ships transporting the weapons. Back in the mine, T’Challa and Killmonger continue fighting and T’Challa is able to stab Killmonger, and after they talk briefly, T’Challa takes Killmonger to see the sunset over Wakanda and offers to heal him but Killmonger refuses, choosing to die rather than live in bondage. T’Challa returns to the throne, adding M’Baku to the Council of Elders so that all of the tribes of Wakanda are now represented. He then speaks with Nakia and asks her to stay, saying that he has a way of fulfilling her calling and they kiss. Later, T’Challa and Shuri travel to Oakland and T’Challa explains that he bought the building where N’Jobu died, as well as the two buildings next to them, and is making them the first Wakanda International Outreach Center, with Nakia and Shuri running it. Some time later, T’Challa, accompanied by Nakia, Okoye, and another guard, attends the United Nations and reveals Wakanda’s true power to the assembly. Meanwhile, in Wakanda, Shuri is shown to be helping Bucky Barnes, whom the children call “White Wolf”, recover from Hydra’s brainwashing.

Black Panther was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU’s most absorbing stories — and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.” The Wakandan language is an actual language called Xhosa, a South African language that is native to Nelson Mandela. John Kani, who played T’Chaka, is from the region and speaks the language and it was agreed during his filming of his role in Captain America: Civil War that it would be the language of Wakanda. The movie was a box office success, earning $1.347 billion off of a $210 million budget, garnering several award nominations and accolades, and a sequel has been announced.

This is a fantastic movie and probably one of the most complete movies that the MCU has released to date. The acting was incredible, with Chadwick Boseman doing a stellar job as T’Challa. Michael B. Jordan was equally good as Killmonger and was probably one of the most well written villains that the MCU has shown. Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Winston Duke (M’Baku), and Andy Serkis (Klaue) were also good in their roles, with Letitia somewhat stealing the show in several of her scenes. The story was great, picking up shortly after the events of Civil War and showcasing the doubts that T’Challa has in his new role as king and trying to determine what is best for Wakanda. I also thought that Kilmonger’s story arc, where he was angry at Wakanda for his father’s death but also felt like they could do more to help their race across the world if he was in charge and his desire to prove that at any cost is his driving purpose in life. The locations in the movie were incredible and the special effects were really good, except for a couple of scenes during the final fight between T’Challa and Killmonger that looked a little hokey. That part aside, this was an icredible movie and one that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 25th, 2018 Movie – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

jurassic world fallen kingdom

Yay, I get to watch another dinosaur movie. Was there any doubt that I was going to be buying this movie as soon as it came out on video? I mean, I have the other movies in the franchise, as well as dozens of other dinosaur movies, so this really should come as no surprise. Now I will admit that as much as I wanted to see this in theaters, I never did. I can’t really make any excuses about it, I just never went out to the theater and saw the movie. So let me make up for my oversight and get right into today’s movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The plot: 3 years after the incident at Jurassic World, two mercenaries pilot a submersible towards the lagoon, with a tech support man on the island opening the gates for them. Once inside, they locate the remains of the Indominus Rex and retrieve one of it’s fangs, which they send to the surface. The tech support man tells the mercenary team in the nearby helicopter to pick up the tooth and once they retrieve the tooth, he tells the sub team to leave the lagoon to close the gate but they are eaten by the Mosasaurus. As the tech support guy tries to regain contact with the sub, the helicopter pilot notices something moving through the jungle towards him. As they shout out a warning, the man looks up and sees the Tyrannosaurus heading towards him and he runs for the helicopter, grabbing on to the emergency ladder they drop for him. As the helicopter lifts off, the Tyrannosaurus bites down on the ladder and attempts to pull them down but the ladder breaks off and as the man cheers his good fortune, the Mosasaurus leaps out of the water and swallows him. As the rest of the mercenary team contact their boss to tell him they have the tooth, the Mosasaurus swims out of the now open gates and into the open ocean. In Washington D.C., a Senate panel is convened to discuss whether the dinosaurs on Isla Nubar should be saved from the volcano that is set to erupt, or if they should be left to die. Dr. Ian Malcolm is called in to testify and he tells them that they should let the dinosaurs die out to correct the mistaken John Hammond made in cloning them. Meanwhile, Claire Dearing, former operations manager for Jurassic World, has started a nonprofit called the Dinosaurs Protection Group to try and save the dinosaurs when she hears the senate panel say they won’t try to save the animals. As she tells everyone to keep working, she receives a call from Benjamin Lockwood, Hammond’s former partner, who invites her to his mansion. When she arrives at the mansion, she meets with Lockwood and his assistant Eli Mills, who tell her that they have purchased an island, which they call Sanctuary, and intend to transport as many dinosaurs as they can to the island. As Lockwood is wheeled out by his caretaker Iris, Mills tells Claire that they need her help reactivating the tracking system so they can easily track the different species but he also needs her help in trying to capture Blue, who is the last Raptor alive. Claire says that Blue will know they are coming miles before they get close to her and he asks if she can figure out a way to get her. Claire goes to see Owen Grady, Blue’s former trainer and her ex-boyfriend. and after arguing over why they broke up, Claire tries to convince Owen to help her save the dinosaurs, including Blue, and when Owen says he won’t help, she tells him that her charter flight leaves in the morning and she hopes he will reconsider. That night, Owen watches videos of his time training Blue when her and the other raptors were newly hatched and he decides to join Claire’s team. Claire is surprised to see Owen on the plane and she introduces him to her coworkers Zia Rodriguez (a paleo-veterinarian) and Franklin Webb (a former park technician) and they head off to Isla Nubar. When they reach the island, they are greeted by Ken Wheatley, leader of the mercenary team that Mills hired to capture and transport the animals. As the volcano continues to threaten to erupt, They head to the old command center and Franklin is able to get the systems running again. As Claire unlocks the tracking software, they see a large concentration of dinosaurs on the east dock and Wheatley says that that is where there boat is, saying they already captured several of the larger herbivores. After finding Blue’s location, Owen heads out, with Zia, Wheatley, and some of his team following. When they get close to where she is, Owen goes ahead on foot and encounters Blue after a little while. Blue growls at him but Owen is able to get Blue to recognize him when Blue is struck by a tranquilizing dart. As Wheatley and his men circle Blue and Owen, Owen tells them to stand down while he tries to calm Blue down. When Blue sees a man behind Owen raise his gun and attacks him, only for the man to shoot her with his pistol. Owen yells at Wheatley, who shoots Owen with a tranquilizer dart and when Zia grabs a gun and threatens Wheatley, he takes her with them as she says she is the only one that can keep Blue alive. Back in the control center, Claire and Franklin are locked in just as the volcano begins to erupt, while Wheatley contacts Mills and tells him they have the dinosaurs, including Blue, and he wants his money when he gets there. Meanwhile, Owen sees the lava approaching him and manages to shake off the effects of the tranquilizer and get to safety, then starts running back to the command center. Claire and Franklin try to find a way out of the center when they are confronted by a Baryonyx, who had entered a tunnel to escape the oncoming lava. They manage to escape out a ladder as Owen appears and tells them to run, as a stampede of dinosaurs is rushing towards them to escape the lava. They manage to take shelter behind one of the old gyrospheres and Claire and Franklin get inside just as a Carnatosaurus appears. IT’s attention briefly turns to a Chasmosaurus and it begins attacking it but during the struggle, the gyrosphere’s door is closed and Claire and Franklin are trapped inside. The Carnatosaurus is killed by the Tyrannosaurus and the gyrosphere is sent rolling down the hill and into the ocean below, with several dinosaurs falling off after it. Owen dives down and manages to rescue them and when they reach the shore, they see Wheatley’s men using a helicopter to carry the Tyrannosaurus to their boat. The three head to the dock and after stealing a truck, drive it onto the boat just as it is leaving, then watch as the island is covered with lava, as a lone Brachiosaur bellows out at them from the dock before it is consumed by the lava and smoke. Back at Lockwood’s Estate, Mills meets up with Gunner Eversol, an high stakes auctioneer, and tells him the dinosaurs will be there tomorrow and then discusses the latest creation that Dr. Wu has designed, a creature that combines the DNA from the Indominus Rex and Blue that they call the Indoraptor. Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie overhears them talking and goes to tell Lockwood but he tells her she probably misheard them and that he will find out in the morning. Back on the ship, Owen and the others find Zia tending to Blue and she tells them she needs a transfusion from another carnivore and the only one that matches what they need is the Tyrannosaurus. Owen and Claire head to the container with the Tyrannosaurus, which is still tranquilized, and they manage to get the blood but it wakes up and they quickly leave before it can get them. At Lockwood Estate, Maisie sneaks down to the genetics lab in the basement and as she looks around, she sees video of Owen working with Blue. Suddenly, Maisie hears Mills entering the lab, arguing with Henry Wu about Blue being shot and his need for Blue in order to ensure the next generation of Indoraptor has the same traits as Blue. As Maisie tries to hide from them, she backs up to the cage that holds the indoraptor and screams when it tries to grab her. Mills discovers her as she tries to run and locks her in her room, telling Iris to keep her in there when Iris tells him that Lockwood wants to see him. Back on the ship, Zia is able to remove the bullet and stabilize Blue when they arrive at their destination. Owen and Claire manage to sneak out of the truck but Franklin gets caught and mistaken for deck crew and told to help them to leave. Owen and Claire manage to get into another truck and drive off the boat, following the other trucks towards Lockwood’s Estate and try to make a break from it but Wheatley is alerted to their presence and captures them. At the estate, Lockwood berates Mills for his deception and tells him to call the police but Mills tells him that Hammond was right about what Lockwood had done, then smothers him with a pillow. Owen and Claire are placed in a cell in the basement with the captive dinosaurs and Mills talks to them briefly before leaving to see the guests arrive for the auction. Maisie sneaks out of her room through the window and heads to her grandfather’s room only to discover that he is dead. Hearing Mills approaching and calling out for Iris, Maisie hides in a dumbwaiter and overhears as Mills tells her that Lockwood is dead and she will no longer be needed to look after Maisie. In the basement, Owen and Claire are talking when Owen discovers that the dinosaur next to them is a Stygimoloch and he begins irritating it so that it smashes into the wall connecting their cells, eventually breaking through, then has it smash the door so they can escape. On an upper level, the auction is commencing and several of the dinosaurs are being sold for millions of dollars, then taken away. Back in the basement, Claire and Owen discover Maisie and when she runs off, they convince her to get out of the dumbwaiter and after she tells them that Lockwood is dead, they convince her to come with them so they can find their friends and get out of there. They manage to see into the auction room just as the Indoraptor is brought out to show what a future creature will look like. After showing how the Indoraptor has been trained to target and hunt specific targets, the buyers begin bidding and Mills agrees to sell it even though it is a prototype, much to Wu’s chagrin. Realizing how dangerous the Indoraptor is, Owen goes to stop them and uses the Stygimoloch to disrupt the auction. Mills orders the Indoraptor to be evacuated but Owens stops them and rips the power from the cage, leaving the Indoraptor on the auction floor while he goes after Mills. Wheatley sees everyone fleeing the estate and heads inside looking for Mills when he sees the Indoraptor. Wanting to grab one of it’s teeth for his collection, he tranquilizes it and heads inside the cage only to discover that the Indoraptor was playing possum and it quickly kills him, then leaves the cage, killing Gunnar and several other buyers who were trapped in the elevator. Meanwhile, Owen meets up with Claire and Maisie but as they try to leave, Mills stops them. When he tries to get Maisie to come with him, she hides behind Claire and Owen and Mills tells them that Maisie is not Lockwood’s granddaughter, but a clone of his dead daughter, which is what causes the falling out between Lockwood and Hammond. Suddenly, one Mill’s men is killed by the Indoraptor and as Mills run off, Owen tells Claire and Maisie to run as the Indoraptor chases after them. In the lab, Wu is having all of his research and samples evacuated and wants a sample of Blue’s blood but when Zia tells him that Blue’s blood is contaminated by the transfusion, Wu is startled long enough for Franklin to use a tranquilizer dart on him. Two guards show up and as one of them gets Wu out of there, Zia releases Blue form his cage and Blue attacks the guards, allowing Zia and Franklin to escape but during the fight, Blue damages some gas tanks and hydrogen sulfide begins leaking into the lab. Elsewhere, Owen, Claire, and Maisie are still being chased by the Indoraptor but manage to escape in the display cases, with Owen turning off the lights in the room so they have a better chance at staying hidden. Zia and Franklin see the gas and when Franklin notices that the ventilation system is off, he has to restart the system, which inadvertently turns the lights back on in the display cases. Seeing them, the Indoraptor crashes through the display case to get at them and Caire tells Maisie to run and hide but the Indoraptor chases after her. Owen tends to Claire but she kisses him and tells him to go after Maisie and he grabs a gun that was on the floor and heads out after her. Maisie managed to take the dumbwaiter up to her room and hides in her bed but the Indoraptor climbs up onto the roof, then climbs down and enters her room through the window. As it goes to attack her, Owen bursts into the room and fires at the Indraptor but the bullets don’t seem to faze it. Owen realizes he is out of ammo and the Indoraptor approaches him when Blue shows up and begins fighting with it. Maisie tells Owen to follow her and they head out the window and along the edge of the house but the Indoraptor, having stunned Blue, follows them. Owen and Maisie walk along the top of the glass ceiling of the display room and almost fall off but Owen manages to grab onto a weather vane to stop them. The Indoraptor approaches them but Claire distracts it, then uses the laser sight and sonic signal on the gun she has to send it after Owen, who tricks it into jumping through the glass ceiling . The Indoraptor holds on and manages to climb back up but Blue leaps at it from another roof and drags it down into the room, where it is impaled on the skull of a Triceratops. AS Blue runs off, Frankling and Zia show up and tell the others that they have a problem in the lower levels. Explaining about the gas and how it will kill the dinosaurs unless they are freed, Claire moves to push the button to open the gates but can’t bring herself to do it. As Owen goes to comfort her, Maisie pushes the button, telling them that she had to as they are alive like she is. The dinosaurs burst out of the basement and escape into the forest, with the Tyrannosaurus killing Mills and destroying the Indominus Rex tooth as he tried to escape with it. Owen and the others head outside and encounter Blue and as Owen moves towards her and tells her he will take her to a safe place, Blue looks at a nearby container, then backs away from Owen and runs off into the woods. As the dinosaurs that were sold and successfully taken from the estate are transported to their new locations, Owen and Claire are heading back to Owen’s cabin, with Maisie coming with them. Malcolm is speaking before a new senate panel about the dangers that are now upon them as humans and dinosaurs are not brought together, calling it a new Jurassic world.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom adds another set piece-packed entry to the blockbuster franchise, although genuinely thrilling moments are in increasingly short supply.” Director J.A. Bayona and writer Colin Trevrrow revealed that the Brachiosaur left behind on Isla Nublar as it gets destroyed is actually the same Brachiosaur that Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler first saw in Jurassic Park. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $1.305 billion off of a $187 million budget, with a sequel scheduled to be released in 2021.

This was a good follow up movie but I feel like it could have been better. The acting was good, with Chris Pratt (Owen) and Bryce Dallas Howard did great jobs reprising their roles, as were Jeff Goldblum (Malcolm) and BD Wong (Wu). I also liked Daniella Pineda (Zia), Justice Smith (Franklin), and Ted Levine (Wheatley) but felt that Rafe Spall was a little weak as Mills. The story was interesting but honestly, didn’t really feel that original. I liked the idea of the island’s volcano (which was in the novels) being a plot element in the movie and how they were in a race against time to get the dinosaurs off the island before the volcano erupted, but the whole mercenaries capturing dinosaurs bit was essentially the plot of The Lost World. I’m not sure how I really felt about the whole Maisie story line but it did bring up an interesting debate in regards to if clones should be treated the same as other living things. The special effects were really good in this movie, both the CGI and the animatronics. One scene in particular that was absolutely incredible was the scene with the Brachiosaur on the dock as the boat was leaving, with it bellowing out to them and then, as it is enveloped in the ash cloud, you see it’s silhouette highlighted by the lava as it continues crying out while raising up on it’s back legs, as it tries to get some fresh air, which really did make for an emotional scene. Weak plot not withstanding, this was still an enjoyable movie and one worth watching if you enjoy the franchise.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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