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

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 23rd, 2018 Movie – Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

jumanji welcome to the jungle

At this point, I don’t think anyone can argue that Dwayne Johnson has succeeded in Hollywood just as he did in the WWE. I mean, in 2017 he starred in 3 movies that made over $2 BILLION combined at the box office, granted one of those movies was Baywatch so it was really the other 2 movies that made up that amount. One of those movies was today’s movie, the sequel to 1995’s Jumanji. Now when I first heard that a sequel was being made, I will admit that I was a little hesitant to get on board with it, as Robin Williams really made the original movie special. Still, they were assembling a good cast to take part in it and the premise sounded pretty good so I decided to give it a shot. Needless to say, I enjoyed it and decided to buy Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle when it came out on video, which is what brings us to today.

The plot: In 1996, a man is jogging along the beach in Brantford, New Hampshire when he discovers the Jumanji board game buried in the sand. He takes it home to his son Alex Vreeke, who sets the game aside and continues playing the video game he had paused. That night, a strange green glow appears in Alex’s room and the drums starts beating, causing Alex to wake up. When he examines the board game, he discovers that the board has changed into a video game cartridge, which he decides to play and he ends up getting sucked into the game. 20 years later, Spencer Gilpin is writing an essay for his friend Anthony “Fridge” Johnson so that Fridge can stay on the football team and after he finishes, he gets a text from Fridge telling him to meet at the “Freak house”. When they get there, Spencer hands Fridge the paper and tries to invite him to hang out during the weekend but Fridge blows him off and Spencer feels hurt at the fact that they don’t hang out anymore. Suddenly, Spencer is startled by the appearance of Old Man Vreeke, who tells him to loiter somewhere else. During school, Bethany Walker is making a video call during a quiz and ends up getting detention. As Spencer is in gym class, he sees Martha Kaply get detention for not participating and thinks she is “bad ass” when he is suddenly called into the principal’s office. When he gets there, he find Fridge in the office along with Principal Bentley and Miss Mathers, Fridge and Spencer’s history teacher. Miss Mathers says she knows that Spencer wrote the paper as it has several sentences and key words that he used in other papers and Spencer tries to pass it off  as all his doing but they both end up getting detention. Principal Bentley takes them to the school’s basement and has them removing staples from old magazines so they can be recycled, telling them that they will finish on Saturday what they don’t get done that afternoon. As Spencer and Martha work on removing the staples, Bethany keeps trying to get a cell signal on her phone while Fridge looks around the room. When he finds an old video game console with the Jumanji cartridge in it, he shows it to Spencer, who hooks it up to a TV. After turning it on, they see the character select screen and when Fridge tries to pick Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough, he finds he can’t choose that character so he chooses Franklin “Mouse” Finbar. Stephen chooses Dr. Smolder Bravestone and then he and Fridge convince Bethany and Martha to play. After Bethany chooses Professor Shelly Oberon and Martha chooses Ruby Roundhouse, they press start only to have the sound of drums and jungle noises fill the room. When the game system starts sparking, Spencer unplugs it but it turns back on, then sucks all four kids into the game. The four kids fall out of the sky into a jungle and as they try to figure out what happened, they discover that they are all in different bodies. Spencer realizes that they have somehow become the avatars they chose in the game. with Spencer being a muscular explorer, Fridge being a dimunative man with an oversized backpack, Martha is a martial arts expert, while Bethany is an overweight middle-aged man. Martha discovers a strange tattoo on her arm, with Spencer and Fridge saying they have the same tattoo, but before they can figure out what it means, Bethany is eaten by a hippo. As Spencer, Fridge, and Martha react in shock over what happened, they see Bethany fall out of the sky, seemingly unharmed. When more hippos chase after them, the group runs away from them until they encounter Nigel, who tells them to get in his car. As they drive away, Nigel introduces himself and tells them he is glad they have arrived as they are the only ones that can break the curse. When Spencer asks about the curse, Nigel tells him to read the letter he sent them and Spencer suddenly finds a letter in his hand. As he reads it, the four kids find themselves in a cutscene within the game, where they see Van Pelt, Spencer’s character’s former partner now turned bitter rival. Van Pelt stole the Jaguar’s Eye, a magical emerald that is essential to Jumanji’s well being and allows the user to control the wild life in Jumanji. Nigel, who was Van Pelt’s guide, stole the jewel from Van Pelt, then wrote the letter to “Bravestone” asking for his help. Back in the present, Nigel hands the gem to Spencer, then tells them that the only way for them to return home is to finish the game and lift the curse. After Nigel hands Spencer a map, he tells him to head to the bazaar to find the missing piece, then drives off. Spencer manages to access his player menu, learning his character’s strengths and weaknesses, and the others do the same for their characters. Spencer can’t see anything on the map but Bethany, whose character is an expert in cartography, is able to see it and tells them what it says and where they should go. Suddenly, they are attacked by a motorcycle gang and they manage to get away by jumping off a cliff and swim to shore. As they recover from what happened, Martha reveals that she had been shot and suddenly disappears, only to drop down from the sky onto Fridge. As Martha gets off of him, Spencer looks at her tattoo and notices it is now 2 bars instead of three and tells them that it is their life bar. When they ask what happens if they run out of lives, Spencer says it means game over, and that they could die for real in the game. Meanwhile, the motorcycle gang return to Van Pelt’s camp and when he learns that Bravestone and the others escaped, he says he will have every creature and soldier in Jumanji search for them, telling a vulture to go find them. Elsewhere, the group starts heading out, with Martha and Bethany starting to bond a little over their situation. Meanwhile, Fridge and Spencer are arguing about why they are no longer friends and Fridge gets mad and pushes Spencer off a cliff. When Spencer returns, he and Fridge fight some more before Spencer stops Fridge from falling off a cliff, telling the group they can’t waste lives and have to work together. The group reaches the bazaar and start to look for the map but when they hear a man calling out rations, Bethany and Martha go over to get some food. Fridge gets some as well but when he learns that it is pound cake, he suddenly explodes as one of his character’s weaknesses is cake. After Fridge reappears, a small girl approaches them and leads them to where the missing piece is. Inside the room, they find a large basket and when Spencer lifts the lid, a snake pops out. Fridge recognizes it as a black mamba and Bethany, thinking of what the kid said, thinks it must be a staring contest. Spencer lifts the lid and Bethany tries to stare down the snake but the snake hisses at her, then lunges at Martha. Spencer manages to catch it before it can bite her and Fridge defangs the snake to make it harmless. Bethany reaches into the basket and finds a wrapped package containing an elephant token and a note saying “when you see me, begin the climb”. Suddenly, Van Pelt and his soldiers show up and Spencer begins fighting them but when they are about to get shot, a masked figure throws a smoke bomb into the bazaar, then leads the group into a sewer tunnel. As the man leads them through the tunnels, they realize that he is the 5th player and after making it out of the tunnel, he introduces himself as Alex. Alex takes them to the tree house that he has been living in, which was Alan Parish’s home when he was stuck in Jumanji. Spencer asks Alex how long he had been there and he tells them at least a few months, then explains how he couldn’t get past the transportation shed, which is the next level in the game, and when he was down to 1 life left, he stopped trying. Spencer tries to convince him to work with them to finish the game and Bethany realizes that Alex was the missing piece they were supposed to find, as they now have a complete team. Alex takes them to the transportation shed and as they try to figure out how to distract the guards, Bethany suggests having Martha flirt with them and after they convince her to try, Bethany works on teacher her how to flirt. Alex finds a side door and as Martha goes to flirt, Bethany joins the others to sneak inside when they learn that Alex thinks it is 1996. Realizing that Alex is Alex Vreeke, they tell him that he has been in the game for 20 years. Martha manages to distract the guards long enough for the others to sneak inside but when Fridge knocks over some motorcycles, she is forced to beat the guards unconscious before they can investigate. As Van Pelt’s men return to the shed, Alex gets scared about flying, as his previous attempts didn’t work out well but Martha and the others convince him to fly the helicopter. They manage to escape from the shed but some debris from a missile damages the rotors and they find themselves falling down into a canyon. As a stampede of albino rhinos starts chasing after them, Alex says they can’t fly up until the piece is repaired. Spencer climbs out and fixes the rotor but as they are flying out of the canyon, Fridge accidentally drops the gem. Circling back around, they find the rhinos forming a protective ring around the gem and Spencer shoves Fridge out of the helicopter to act as a distraction for the rhinos while he grabs the gem, then saves Fridge when he dies and respawns. As they land the helicopter, Alex is stung by a mosquito, which is his weakness, and starts to die but Bethany does CPR and sacrifices one of her lives to give to Alex. As they rest for a bit, Spencer and Martha admit that they have feelings for each other and start to kiss when Fridge interrupts them to tell them that he found the jaguar statue. As it starts getting dark, they reach the path for the jaguar statue and realize it is most likely a trap. Seeing the elephant statue nearby, Spencer thinks it means he should climb the trees to get to the statue but he is scared by a squirrel and falls to the ground, where a jaguar kills him. After he respawns, he talks with Fridge and tells him that he can’t do this but Fridge convinces him that he can and as Van Pelts men get closer, he comes up with a plan. While Martha works on slowing the men down, Bethany, Fridge, and Alex work on distracting the jaguars so Spencer can reach the statue. Martha ends up being snagged by a rope dragged behind a motorcycle but Spencer saves her, then he uses the motorcycle to continue towards the statue but when he reaches it, he finds Van Pelt there holding Bethany hostage. As Alex and Martha join Spencer, Van Pelt demands that he hand over the gem but Spencer says that he doesn’t have it, just as Fridge appears atop an elephant, holding the gem. Van Pelt has the jaguars attack Fridge but the elephant bats them away. Van Pelt then fires at Fridge but Bethany disrupts his aim, causing the bullet to miss but the elephant gets scared and causes Fridge to toss the gem up the hill. As Bethany and Alex struggle with Van Pelt, Martha tells Spencer to head for the statue and she will get the gem to him. Spencer rides up the hill and Martha looks for the gem and finds it in the middle of a field full of black mambas. Martha manages to get the gem just as Van Pelt appears and demands she hand it over but Martha allows a mamba to bite her while she is holding the gem, killing her, and she then respawns and falls to the ground, passing the gem to Spencer as she does. Spencer places the gem in the jaguar’s eye but nothing happens until Bethany remembers that you have to call out Jumanji, and they all scream it out, causing Van Pelt to fall apart into a mass of rats and insects. As the group celebrates lifting the curse, Nigel shows up and says their time is done in Jumanji. Nigel then says goodbye to everyone and shakes their hand, causing them all to fade away into the gem. When he gets to Martha and Spencer, Spencer asks her if they could stay there, as he likes the person he is in the game, but MArtha tells him to be the person in the real world and come home, and Spencer reluctantly follows her. The kids all find themselves back in the school’s basement but there is no sign of Alex. As they head to the Vreeke house, they find it is no longer rundown but in good condition and decorated for Christmas. Just then, a car pulls up and a family emerges to visit Old Man Vreeke but as the man goes to get the Christmas tree off his van, he sees the kids and approaches them. As He names them all, they realize that it is Alex and he says that he is happy to see them again and says that the game sent him back to 1996, allowing him to live his life. He then introduces them to his baby, Andy, and tells them his older daughter is named Bethany after the girl that saved his life. The next day, Spencer and Fridge show up at school, their friendship restored, and see Bethany trying to convince her friend to go backpacking with her. As Bethany joins them, they see Martha approaching and Spencer approaches her and kisses her. Suddenly, they all hear the sound of drums beating and they take the game out back and Fridge smashes it with a bowling ball.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle fared much better with the critics than it’s predecessor, holding a certified fresh rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material.” In a bizarre coincidence, both Jumanji films have a connection to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Director Jake Kasdan, who directed Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, is the son of Lawrence Kasdan, who was the writer for Raiders, while Joe Johnston, who directed the original Jumanji, worked on the visual effects. The movie was a box office hit, earning $962.1 million off of a $90 million budget with a sequel scheduled to be released in 2019 with the 4 stars all returning for the sequel.

This was such a funny movie to watch and definitely a great sequel to the original. The acting was good, with all 4 of the main characters doing great jobs in their roles, but Jack Black honestly stole the show with his portrayal of Bethany. The story was pretty good, doing a great job of revamping the game to a more modern age, by turning it into a video game instead of a board game. I really liked how they acknowledged the original movie, by showing the house that Alan lived in during his 26 years and making it a new safehouse for Alex while he was trapped there. I also liked how the different characters showed a lot of character growth throughout their adventure, taking some of the aspects of their avatars with them when they returned to the real world. The one thing I didn’t really like was how they had Van Pelt portrayed. In the original movie, he was the quintessential “great white hunter”, but in this one he was more of a mercenary that was essentially nothing more than a collection of rodents and insects. That was honestly disappointing. The special effects were really good and while I liked the fact that they showed Jumaji as it’s own world, I wish they had more animals in it more consistently, instead of just a scene or two every now and then. A great movie that did a fantastic job of expanding upon the world that was created back in 1995 and is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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

November 22nd, 2017 Movie – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

guardians of the galaxy 2

First off, I learned a valuable lesson last night/this morning that I should do a better job of NOT leaving an app running on my phone, which drained my battery and ended up causing me to oversleep. Thus, I find myself being late in getting today’s movie reviewed. Now, the first Guardians Of The Galaxy became a surprise hit in the MCU and I absolutely loved it. So I was hoping for a sequel to come about and sure enough, a sequel was announced and I eagerly awaited it. The fact that it came out on Cinco de Mayo made it even more fun, as my friends and I went out for Mexican and had some margaritas before going to watch the movie, with some more beverages during the movie as well (got to love how movies have changed now-a-days). So it’s time to have some more laughs with today’s movie, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.

The plot: In 1980 Missouri, an alien named Ego had fallen in love with Meredith Quill and he takes her into some woods to show her a plant he had planted in the ground, saying that one day the plant will cover the universe. Meredith embraces the alien, saying she doesn’t understand what he is saying but loves him, and the two kiss. 34 years later, the Guardians Of The Galaxy (Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot) have been hired by the Sovereign race to defend their super batteries from an interdimensional beast. When the beast appears, Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket begin attacking it while Groot finishes hooking up Quill’s stereo and begins dancing around the area until Drax is thrown into the stereo and breaks it. Drax, saying that the creatures hide is too thick to pierce from the outside, decides to try attacking it from the inside and leaps into the creature’s mouth, despite Gamora trying to stop him. Quill and Rocket begin distracting the beast and making it look up, allowing Gamora to exploit a cut on the beast’s neck and slice it down to it’s stomach. The creature falls over and dies and Drax emerges from the wound and starts laughing, claiming to have defeated the beast single-handedly. The Guardians head to the throne room, where Ayesha, the ruler of the Sovereign race, thanks them for saving the batteries and gives them their agreed upon reward, Nebula (who the Sovereign had captured attempting to steal their batteries). As the Guardians start to leave, Ayesha asks Quill about his heritage, sensing something reckless within his genetic makeup. The Guardians leave the Sovereign homeworld but are soon attacked by a Sovereign fleet, as Rocket had stolen some of the batteries himself. Trying to evade them, they head towards the nearest jump point, which happens to be on the other side of a quantum asteroid field, but Quill and Rocket argue over who should pilot the ship and they end up taking damage. While Drax takes out the last of their pursuers, they make it out of the asteroid field only to find that a second fleet had gone around the field to cut them off. They start taking massive fire when suddenly, a strange man riding on top of a ship destroys the entire fleet, allowing the Guardians to make it through the jump, where they end up crashing into a forest. As Gamora chastises Quill and Rocket for not working together to get through the asteroid field, the strange man lands his ship and reveals that he is Ego and he is Quill’s father. Meanwhile, Yondu and his Ravagers are taking some R&R on a planet when Yondu spies his old teammate Stakar Ogord and attempts to speak with him. Ogord tells the establishment owner that he has lost the business of serving 99 of the 100 Ravager guilds for serving Yondu and his men, as Yondu was exiled from the Ravagers for taking part in human trafficking. As Yondu stares at the retreating Ogord’s back, one of his men, Taserface, comments about how Yondu has grown soft, but goes quiet when Ayesha approaches Yondu and offers to hire him to locate and capture the Guardians. Back in the forest, Ego attempts to explain to Quill about hiring Yondu to bring him to his planet after Quill’s mother died and offers to take Quill there and try to be the father he wanted to be. Quill and Gamora walk off to discuss the situation and Gamora convinces Quill to at least give Ego a chance, as he had wanted a father all his life. Meanwhile, Ego’s assistant Mantis is speaking with Drax and starts bonding with him. Quill, Gamora, and Drax agree to go with Ego and Mantis, leaving Rocket behind to repair the ship and watch over Groot and Nebula and as they leave, Rocket continues to insult Quill. That night, the Ravagers arrive on the planet to capture the Guardians but Rocket, who had set traps around the perimeter, manages to hold them off but gets captured by Yondu. As the other Ravagers surround Rocket, Yondu says he isn’t going to turn the Guardians over, planning on just taking the stolen batteries and selling them. This angers Taserface and he begins to organize a mutiny against Yondu, causing a standoff to occur between those siding with Taserface and those loyal to Yondu. Suddenly, Nebula, whom Groot had set free to help Rocket, shoots Yondu’s control fin, knocking him out, then shoots Rocket before taking control of the Ravagers. Returning to their ship with the prisoners, Taserface jettisons the Yondu loyalists into space and prepares to kill Rocket and Yondu but Nebula convinces him to turn them over to the Kree for the bounties on them. She then grabs a new robotic hand and takes a ship so she can go after Gamora, who she blames for all the suffering she endured at the hands of Thanos. While in their cell, Yondu and Rocket start to bond and they get Groot to help them escape, sending him to retrieve a prototype fin out of Yondu’s chest in his room. After returning with several mistaken items, Groot is helped by Kraglin, one of Yondu’s supporters who had sided with Taserface during the mutiny but didn’t expect his friends to be killed, and returns with the fin. After Rocket attaches the fin onto Yondu’s head, Yondu is able to control his arrow again and uses it to kill the Ravagers attempting to stop them. As Yondu ignites some explosives to detonate the ship, Yondu, Groot, Rocket, and Kraglin head into the forward section and jettison it to go after Quill but Taserface relays their coordinates to the Sovereign before he is killed. Back on Ego’s planet, Ego explains to Quill and the others that he is a celestial and had fashioned the planet himself but wanted to experience more and see if there was other life out there. He created a human form and set off into space, meeting Meredith shortly afterwards. When Quill asks why he left or didn’t come back, Ego explains he has to return to the planet to recharge in the light or else he becomes mortal and dies and he was too heartbroken to go back to Earth after Meredith died, which is why he hired Yondu to bring Quill back to him. Ego then starts trying to train Quill in using his celestial powers, showing he can make and reshape matter if he tries. Meanwhile, Drax and Mantis grow closer and Mantis starts to tell him something but stops when Gamora appears. When Gamora asks her what she was going to say, she refuses to say and shows them where they will be staying. Gamora voices her suspicions about Ego to Quill and her concerns about not reaching Rocket but Quill, who has finally started accepting Ego as his dad, argues with her and says she is jealous that he finally found his family. Gamora goes to be alone when she is attacked by Nebula, who ends up crashing her craft into a cave chasing after Gamora. Gamora save Nebula’s life by dragging her out of the wreckage but Nebula continues the fight and starts to choke her before releasing her and the two sisters end up reconciling. As they make their way out of the cave, they find a cavern filled with hundreds of skeletons, causing Gamora to worry about Quill. Meanwhile, Ego talks with Quill and explains that he had a plan and needs Quills help to fulfill it. Mantis sees them leaving together and wakes up Drax, telling him that Quill is in danger. Drax and Mantis head to the chamber and are met by Nebula and Gamora, who attacks Mantis but Mantis uses her empath abilities to make Gamora release her and explains what is happening. Ego explains to Quill his plan for the “Great Expansion” and says he needed another celestial to help him, which is why he attempted to create a hybrid to have someone help him but Quill was the only one of his children to have the celestial gene in his body. When Ego tells Quill that he had put the tumor in Meredith’s brain, Quill attacks Ego but Ego regenerates and then attacks Quill and uses him to help power the Expansion, causing the flowers he had planted across the galaxy to start expanding and absorb the planets they are on. Rocket and Yondu arrive and head down to the planet’s surface with Groot to rescue their friends, severing Ego’s connection with Quill. Quill and the others head onto the ship but instead of leaving, Quill has them head to the planet’s core so they can destroy Ego’s power and save the universe. Drilling down to Ego’s core, they attempt to destroy it but come under attack by the Sovereigns. Drax, Gamora, and Mantis are knocked out of the ship and when Ego starts to manifest, Mantis uses her powers to put him to sleep and try and keep him that way as long as she can. Quill, Rocket, and Groot head down to the core, where Rocket fashions a bomb but they are unable to make their way down to the center. Quill says Groot is small enough to make his way down there so Rocket attempts to teach Groot what to do but Groot keeps motioning to the wrong button and when Rocket’s attention is turned, Groot grabs the bomb and heads into the core. Nebula helps Yondu destroy the Sovereign fleet but some of the debris knocks Mantis unconscious and Ego manifest in the cavern and begins attacking the Guardians. Yondu’s ship is destroyed and Gamora is knocked down a crevice but Nebula leaps after her and saves her. Kraglin brings the main ship down and Quill gives Drax his rocket disk and has him take Mantis and get on the ship. Gamora and Nebula make their own way up while Quill, Yondu, and Rocket begin attacking Ego. Ego manages to capture Quill again and start absorbing the rest of the Guardians, while his flowers across the galaxy start growing and threaten all of the various planets. Yondu yells out to Quill and helps him control his powers and Quill begins attacking Ego, distracting him enough to release the Guardians. Gamora and Nebula make it to the ship and Groot manages to activate the bomb and make his way out of the core. Rocket grabs Groot and goes to get Yondu and Quill but Yondu tells him to get Groot out of there while he stays behind to rescue Quill. Rocket looks at him sadly and says he only has one rocket disk and space suit left and hands them to Yondu, then flies off. When Rocket gets on the ship, Gamora asks where Quill is and when Rocket doesn’t answer while Groot points back to the planet, Gamora starts to head back to the planet but Rocket stuns her, saying he can only lose one friend today, then tells Kraglin to blast off. The bomb goes off and Ego’s human form dissolves and Yondu uses the Rocket disk to carry him and Quill up into space, putting the space suit on Quill so that he survives as Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill. After the Guardians pick up Quill and Yondu’s body, the hold a funeral for him before casting him out through their engine into space. As Yondu’s body burns up and the dust starts to drift out of the ship, Quill and the others are surprised to see Ogord and all of the other Ravager guilds arrive to offer their respects and send Yondu to the next life in a blaze of colors and Rocket explains that he got in touch with Ogord and told him what Yondu had done, causing Ogord to reinstate him as a Ravager. Nebula leaves to go hunt down Thanos and Gamora hugs her sister, which Nebula eventually returns. Kraglin stays with the Guardians, taking over Yondu’s control fin and telekenetic arrow but he has trouble mastering it, stabbing Drax in the throat at one point. Ogord, touched by Yondu’s sacrifice, decides to get his old team of Ravagers together in Yondu’s honor. Back on the Sovereign home world, Ayesha says she isn’t finished with the Guardians as she has fashioned the ultimate being, dubbing him Adam, which she plans to use to get her revenge. Elsewhere in the galaxy, a group of beings known as the Watchers, are listening to stories from their agent on Earth and the eventually take their leave of him, leaving the man stranded on an asteroid in space.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘s action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that’s almost as fun — if not quite as thrillingly fresh — as its predecessor.” According to Visual Effects Artists, Ego’s planet consisted of a trillion (yes, trillion with a T) pixels and is considered to be the biggest visual effect ever made. The movie was a box office hit, earning $863.6 million off of a $200 million budget.

The first movie was fantastic and while it didn’t quite catch that same magic, this movie is no less entertaining. The acting was really good, with all of the returning characters doing a great job reprising their roles. I also liked that the started to do a bit more with evolving the relationships between the characters, doing a great job in making them more like a dysfunctional family than a random group of people. The story was pretty good, though there were some changes made to some of the new characters from their comic book counterparts. I liked that they had the brief cameo of Howard the Duck (who was shown in a post credit scene in the first movie) but my favorite cameo was the Stan Lee one, as they basically wrote in an explanation for why this man is all over the MCU. The special effects were pretty good and very vibrant and colorful while the soundtrack was just as good as the first movie and in some scenes, really added to the emotion in some of the scenes. One of these days, the MCU may have a bad movie on their hands but this is definitely not one of those days.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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