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September 8th, 2019 Movie – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

spider-man spiderverse

My apologies for the lack of a post last week. I was at Dragoncon over the holiday weekend and while I normally try to have a review pre-written so I can post it, I did not manage to get it done in time this year. Anyways, in the spirit of Dragoncon, I decided to review the award winning movie featuring everyone’s favorite web-swinging, quip slinging superhero, Spider-Man. Now I am pretty sure that just about everyone knows who Peter Parker is, but not that many people outside of those that regularly read comic books knows about Miles Morales. I will admit, I did not know who he was at first, as I had stopped being a regular comic reader for several years, but several of my friends are still regular readers and have frequently commented on how much the enjoy reading his stories. So when I heard that there was going to be a new Spider-Man movie that featured Miles, well I was intrigued enough to go give it a shot. So let’s see how good of a Spider-Man Miles Morales is in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.

The plot: Teenager Miles Morales has managed to get into an upper class boarding school and though his parents are proud of him, Miles would rather go back to his old school and tries to find ways to get kicked out. After dealing with the stress of his classes, Miles sneaks out and goes to see his uncle Aaron, who takes Miles to an abandoned subway station so Miles can paint his latest design on the wall. As Miles is finishing up and taking a picture of his graffiti, a strange spider bites him on the hand. The next day, Miles runs into a new girl (Gwen Stacy) at his school that he likes but as he they both nervously talk to each other, Miles hand accidentally becomes stuck to her hair. After he is cut free, Miles runs from a security officer and finds himself sticking to he outside of the building when he accidentally falls out the window. Miles manages to make it back to his room, but not before being noticed by Gwen, and as he tires to figure out what is happening to him, a Spider-Man comic falls onto his face and he sees the same thing happening in the comic to Peter Parker that has been happening to him. Miles heads back to the abandoned subway station, trying and failing to call his uncle as he does, and when he gets there, he finds the spider and notices something strange happening to it’s body. Suddenly, Miles gets a strange feeling (Spider-sense) and quickly ducks as some debris comes flying towards him and he sees Spider-Man fighting with the Green Goblin. As Spider-Man and Goblin continue their fight, Miles tries to get away and finds himself inside a massive super collider. Spider-Man rescues Miles when he falls and when both their Spider-senses react to their proximity to each other, Spider-Man realizes that Miles is like him and offers to help him deal with what he is going through once he destroys the collider. As Spider-Man tries to shut down the collider with a USB drive, he is attacked by both the Goblin and the Prowler. While Spider-Man is distracted, Kingpin shows up in the collider’s control booth and activates it, but while it is active, Goblin forces Spider-Man into the beam, causing an explosion. Miles heads to the wounded Spider-Man, who gives Miles the USB drive and tells him that the collider could destroy the city if it is activated again. After telling Miles to hide his face so nobody knows he is, he tells Miles to run, just as the Kingpin approaches him. Spider-Man tells Kingpin he knows what he is trying to do with the collider and it won’t work, and an enraged Kingpin kills him, then sends Prowler to kill Miles when he sees that Miles has seen them. Miles manages to get away and heads back to his home, but when the news breaks about Spider-Man’s death and who he was, Miles sneaks back out to find the whole city has stopped at the news of Spider-Man’s death. Buying a Spider-Man costume and attending the memorial service, where Mary Jane Parker speaks about her husband, Miles decides to try and practice with his powers but ends up damaging the USB drive. Going to Peter Parker’s grave, Miles is surprised by a stranger and displays a new ability, which shocks the man unconscious. As the man falls, he reflexively sends out a web strand that strikes Miles and Miles discovers that the man is another version of Peter Parker from a different dimension. This version, Peter B. Parker, is older than the Spider-Man from Miles city and as the police show up, Miles manages to get away with Peter. Miles takes the unconscious Peter to his uncle’s place and when Peter regains consciousness, Miles talks to him, learning that he is from another dimension. Peter gets away from Miles and starts to leave when his body starts “glitching” and Peter says his body is reacting to being in the wrong dimension. Miles tells Peter about the collider and Peter wants to use it to go home but when he learns the USB is broken, he says he has to go to Alchemax to steal the data again and reluctantly agrees to train Miles in the process. Miles and Peter head to Alchemax and Peter heads inside, telling Miles to stay back and keep watch but when Kingpin shows up, Miles heads inside to warn Peter. They manage to locate the head scientist’s lab, where Miles displays another new ability to turn invisible, but as Miles works on downloading the collider’s schematics, Peter learns that the head scientist is a female Doctor Octopus. Doc Ock says that she knows Peter is from another dimension and that if he stays in this dimension too long, his body will disintegrate, and that she wants to watch it happen. Peter manages to get away and he and Miles grab the computer hard drive and attempt to escape but when Doc Ock chases after them, they are saved by Spider-Woman, who is revealed to be Gwen Stacy. Like Peter, Gwen is from another dimension, where she was bitten by the spider and Peter Parker died, only when the explosion occurred she was blown into last week, and she was drawn to the boarding school because of Miles. The three head to Aunt May’s house, where after she greets them, she takes them to Spider-Man’s secret lair, where three other dimensional Spider-People (Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker and her Spider robot, and Spider-Ham) have also shown up. The Spider-People know that they have to use the collider to get home but one of them must stay behind to shut the collider down. Miles says that he should be the one to shut it down, as they would all die if they stay, but when they test Miles abilities, the other Spider-People feel that Miles lacks the necessary training. A dejected Miles leaves the lair and heads to his uncle’s place, where he writes a note for Aaron only to discover that his uncle is actually the Prowler. Miles leaves his uncles place, but the Prowler sees him and gives chase, allowing Miles to lead him back to the others. At Aunt May’s house, Peni finishes making a new USB drive when Miles shows up, followed by Prowler, Doc Ock, Tombstone, and Scorpion. As the Spider-Gang begin fighting the villains, Miles tries to leave with the USB drive only to be captured by Prowler. Kingpin orders Prowler to kill Miles but when Miles reveals his identity, Aaron can’t kill his nephew so the Kingpin shoots him. Miles takes his wounded uncle away from there, but Aaron apologizes for letting Miles down before he dies, and Miles father Jefferson, a police officer, sees Miles mourning over Aaron’s body and believes Spider-Man killed his brother. Miles heads back to his room at the boarding school, where the other Spiders meet up with him and try to console him. Gwen and the others say goodbye as Peter explains to Miles that he is staying behind, telling Miles that he isn’t ready to help them so he won’t be going with them. Peter then webs up Miles and leaves and as Miles gets free, Jefferson shows up at the dorm. Thinking Miles doesn’t want to talk to him, Jefferson speaks to him through the door to tell him about Aaron’s death as well as how he feels about Miles. Taking his dad’s words to heart, Miles is able to master his powers and heads back to Aunt May’s house, to find her expecting him and giving him a new costume and web shooters tailored for him. Miles heads out to regroup with the others, who have reached Fisk Towers only to find Kingpin is holding a celebration for Spider-Man and they are able to sneak inside and head to the collider. They reach the collider just as Kingpin’s men activate it, with the city beginning to suffer the effects of multiple dimensions merging together. Peter goes to put the “goober” into the override but Doc Ock and the others are there waiting for them. Miles shows up to help and they manage to defeat Kingpin’s goons, but Peni loses the Spider robot in the process. Miles takes control of the collider and begins sending everyone back to their own dimensions and when Kingpin shows up, Peter goes to help Miles defeat him but Miles forces Peter to go back home. Miles and Kingpin face off, with Kingpin getting the upper hand and nearly killing Miles. Jefferson shows up and, seeing the fight, realizes that Spider-Man is actually a hero and begins cheering him on, encouraging Miles to get up. Miles uses his venom shock on Kingpin and then throws him into the deactivation button, shutting down the collider and saving the city. As Jefferson begins arresting the Kingpin’s goons, Miles calls him and they talk briefly before Miles, as Spider-Man, shows up in front of him and briefly speaks with Jefferson before pointing out the Kingpin suspended from a web above him. As Miles adjusts to his new life as the city’s new Spider-Man, Peni is shown to be building a new robot, Spider-Man Noir solves a Rubik’s Cube, Spider-Ham is shown eating a hot dog, while Peter heads to Mary Jane’s house to try and fix their relationship. Gwen is shown looking at a picture she took of her and Miles together and later, is shown calling out through a portal to Miles. In a post credit scene, Miguel O’Hara, Spider-Man 2099, is informed about what happened and makes his own dimensional jump, landing in 1967 New York, where he gets in an argument with that era’s Spider-Man over which one of them pointed at the other one first.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was a massive hit with the critics, currently holding a certified fresh rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.” Stan Lee had recorded a cameo for this movie, making it his final voice-acting role before his death, with producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller wanting Lee to have a bigger moment compared to previous Marvel films because he was “so integral to the spirit of this movie,” and considered his role “extra meaningful” following his death. The movie was a box office hit, earning $375.5 million off of a $90 million budget, and won the Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Critics’ Choice Awards.

I’m not going to lie. This might be one of the best Spider-Man movies to come out on the big screen. The voice acting was fantastic, with Shameik Moore doing a great job as Miles. Jake Johnson (Peter B. Parker), Hailee Steinfeld (Gwen), Mahershala Ali (Aaron), and Brian Tyree Henry (Jefferson) were also equally good, while Lily Tomlin (Aunt May), John Mulaney (Spider-Ham), and Nicolas Cage (Spider-Man Noir) were just plain funny and entertaining. The story was a little darker than I expected for a movie geared towards kids, but still very well written. It was a good way to showcase the pressures that a teenager would face when given super powers and having a desire to use them for good, as well as giving him a support group of people who had been through the exact same thing that he was currently going through. I loved some of the nods and Easter eggs referencing Marvel that were scattered throughout the movie, with my 2 favorites being: 1) The name B Bendis listed in Miles phones, which is a reference to Brian Michael Bendis (who co-created the character of Miles Morales), and 2) The post credit scene where Spider-Man 2099 shows up and confronts a past Spider-Man (with Stan Lee voicing J. Jonah Jameson in that scene). The animation was fantastic in this movie, and I loved how they would slightly alter it regarding Peni, Noir, and Spider-Ham (making Peni look more anime style, Spider-Man Noir being in black and white, while Spider-Ham was made overly cartoony). The soundtrack to the movie fit in well with the scenes taking place and helped emphasize the moods of the scenes, ranging from a normal feel to more dramatic throughout the movie. All told, this is a great movie that deserved the praise it got and is well worth watching when you get the chance (it’s currently on Netflix so do yourself a favor and watch it now.)

Rating: 5 out of 5

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

February 24th, 2019 Movie – Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV

the toxic avenger 4

Now that we have the bad sequels out of the way, let’s move on to the official sequel. Don’t believe me, just ask Stan Lee (R.I.P.). As a matter of fact, he says it himself that the first two sequels were shitty (I don’t know if he was apologizing for the sequels or saying the word “shitty”) and that this was the real sequel. Anyways, I first saw this movie a couple of years ago on Hulu when it was available to stream on there. Needless to say, I loved it much better than the other two sequels, so let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.

The plot: 15 years after Melvin fell into a vat and became The Toxic Avenger, a criminal group called “The Diaper Mafia” enter Tromaville’s School for the Very Special and hold the students and their teacher, Mrs. Weiner, hostage. After killing two of the students, and threatening to kill more unless their demands are met, The Diaper Mafia ask that Bikini Anchor Samantha Chambers be allowed to interview them and when she and her cameraman arrive, their leader, Tex Diaper, begins explaining their reasons for their attack. When Tex goes to attack the pregnant Mrs. Weiner, Samantha Chambers reveals that she is actually Toxie in disguise, while the camerman is Toxie’s sidekick Lardass. As Toxie and Lardass begin fighting with the Diaper Mafia, Tex reveals that his father, Tromaville Police Sgt. Kazinski, had helped supply them with the weapons for their assault, including a bomb. When Toxie kills Tex, the bomb is armed but before he can try to defuse it, Toxie’s alarm goes off and he rushes back to his home to impregnate his wife Sarah. After they have sex, Sarah argues with Toxie about his wanting to rush back to the school instead of staying with her. When Toxie returns to the school, the bomb is about to explode and Lardass attempts to eat it while Toxie tries to save some of the students but the bomb explodes, with Toxie only able to rescue two students, Tito and Sweetie Honey. As Toxie mourns the death of Lardass, the police begin shooting at him and he is forced to run from them. When a car pulls up, Toxie is surprised to see Sgt. Kabukiman driving the car, and Kabukiman keeps calling him Noxie. Back at the school, another Toxic Avenger appears and as the crowd cheers his survival, he rips the arms off of Chief Newman and begins attacking the crowd. As Toxie and Noxie both try to figure out what is going on, a scientist explains that Tromaville has an alternate dimensional duplicate called Amortville, and the explosion somehow caused Toxie (along with Sweetie Honey and Tito) and Noxie to end up in the other dimension. Back in Tromaville, Noxie encounters Sgt. Kazinski, who is happy about “Toxie’s” sudden change of heart and wants to help him, while the mayor assembles a team of super heroes, led by Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. to capture Noxie. Back in Amortville, Toxie rescues Sweetie Honey and Tito from some drug dealers, then takes them back to his home only to discover his shack is not at the junkyard. Toxie tries to find a way back to their home and tells them to stay there, but Tito, who is a self proclaimed rebel, leaves and reluctantly lets Sweetie Honey come with him when she complains about being left alone. After saving the head of a man who had been dragged behind a truck, Toxie encounters Lardass’ doppelganger, a disgraced scientist named Chester. When Chester tells Toxie about how Noxie stole his daughter Claire, causing him to give up his work on interdimensional travel, and shows Toxie a picture of her, Toxie remarks that Claire looks like Sarah and goes to rescue her. Arriving at Noxie’s sex dungeon, Toxie finds Claire and is surprised to see that she can see, but is deaf. After convincing Claire that he is not there to harm her, Toxie tries to take her out of the dungeon but is stopped by Evil Kabukiman. Toxie tells Claire to run while he fights with Evil Kabukiman, with their fight carrying them to the hot dog factory, where Evil Mad Cowboy joins in. As Toxie fights with the two villians, he sees that Tito, Sweetie Honey, and Pompey (the head) have been captured and he works to help them escape after killing Evil Mad Cowboy. Back in Tromaville, Noxie finds Toxie’s shack and ends up sleeping with Sarah when Kazinski shows up and tells him what is going on. Noxie then kills the mayor and takes over Tomaville, killing all of the superheroes that were assigned to deal with him. Kabukiman managed to escape the slaughter and in a drunken stumble, ends up at Toxie’s home and passes out on the tied up Sarah. Later, Sarah learns that she is pregnant with twins but they are from two different fathers and she is told that she should get an abortion or else the two warring fetuses will cause her to explode. Claire heads to a family planning center but the nature of Toxie and Noxie’s sperm causes her pregnancy to accelerate and she ends up going into labor and is rushed to the hospital. Back in Amortville, Chester and Claire find Toxie, Sweetie Honey, Tito, and Pompey at the dump and Chester tells Toxie he will help him get back to his own dimension. After going through his colleague’s notes, he hands Toxie a pair of ruby slippers and Toxie grabs Sweetie Honey but Tito refuses to leave, deciding to stay in Amortville and help the citizens against Evil Kabukiman, with Pompey acting as his sidekick. After traveling into a 70’s porno film and Heaven, Toxie and Sweetie Honey finally make it back to Tromaville, where Kabukiman tells them about what has happened. Toxie heads to the hospital and begins fighting with Kazinski’s police force, confronting and killing Kazinski in the process. Toxie eventually finds Sarah’s room and sees Noxie standing over her and the two men start fighting, with their respective babies fighting inside Sarah’s womb. Toxie manages to defeat Noxie, tearing him apart to revel the Melvin within him but when the evil Melvin attacks him, Toxie throws Melvin out the window, where he lands in a vat of toxic waste and as he becomes engulfed in flames, Melvin runs off and swears he will return. Back in the hospital room, Sarah is handed her newborn baby as Mrs. Weiner and Sweetie Honey show up to hand Toxie some awards. Kabukiman shows up just as a doctor shows up with Sarah’s second baby and Sarah thinks it is the evil baby but when the doctor moves the blanket, it is revealed to look like Kabukiman. An angry Toxie turns to face Kabukiman, who tries to explain he was drunk when it happened before running off while everyone else laughs.

This is about as gross and raunchy of a B-movie that you could hope to find and while I will admit that there are some scenes that can be a bit much, this is a fun movie to watch. The acting was pretty good, with David Mattey doing a good job playing both Toxie and Noxie, while Clyde Lewis did a great job voicing the differing versions. I also liked Paul Kyrmse (Kabukiman) and Joe Fleishaker (Lardass/Chester) but was kind of indifferent to Heidi Sjursen’s portrayal of Sarah/Claire, but I will admit that some of that might be due to the limited time she was on screen. The story was pretty good, especially how they acknowledged the previous sequels but chose not to use anything from them. Well, I say that but there was one little bit of inconsistency that did annoy me. In the opening narration, Stan Lee says that Melvin’s last name is Ferd, from the original movie, but when they are in the hospital, the name on Sarah’s room says Sarah Junko, which was the last name from the previous sequels. I did like the alternate dimension aspect and how they had Noxie have a little tuft of hair on his head. I guess they decided to use that instead of a moustache to indicate he was an evil doppelganger. The special effects did look on the cheap side at times, and I will say that there was a lot more toilet humor than was really necessary, but overall, they had a nice blend of cheesy goodness that you would expect from this sort of movie. A nice, disgusting end to the series and a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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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 26th, 2018 Movie – Thor: Ragnarok

thor ragnarok

Since the beginning of the year, there have been several new entries in the MCU to come out on video. Of course, I was going to be getting them when they came out so I am excited to be getting into these movies now. So, first on the block is the most recent entry in the Thor franchise. Now many people tended to be disappointed with the Thor entries in the MCU, especially The Dark World. However, I knew things were going to be different when I saw the trailer for the new movie. It seemed like they decided to take a page out of James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy playbook and have some fun with this movie. Now the fact that this movie was also how we were going to get a live action version of Planet Hulk had me doubly excited to see this movie when it came out. So as soon as it hit theaters, I was there with some of my friends and we all enjoyed watching Thor: Ragnarok.

The plot: After roaming the cosmos in search of answers regarding the reemergence of the Infinity Stones, Thor finds himself captured by the massive fire demon Surtur. As Thor tell Surtur that he had a vision of him destroying Asgard, Surtur tells him that he has seen Ragnarok, the prophecy where Surtur brings about the destruction of Asgard. Surtur tells Thor that all he has to do is unite his crown with the Eternal Flame on Asgard and Ragnarok will begin. When Thor says that Odin will stop him, Surtur says that Odin is not on Asgard, which shocks Thor. Thor breaks free from his chains and after fending off Surtur’s minions, he battles Surtur and manages to knock his crown from his head. After grabbing the crown, Thor calls out to Heimdall to send the Bifrost Bridge for him but when he gets no response, he is forced to flee from Surutr’s dragon before the bridge finally appears. Arriving on Asgard, Thor finds that the Bifrost is being run by Skurge, as Heimdall has been declared a traitor to Asgard. Thor heads into the city and finds Odin watching a play depicting the death of Loki, only written to make Loki seem more heroic. Thor confronts Odin and, realizing who he really is, forces him to reveal that he is really Loki. As Loki tries to explain that things were fine while Thor was gone, Thor tells him that the Nine Realms are in chaos and demands to know where Odin is. Loki reluctantly agrees to show Thor where he left him and they head to Earth, only to find that the building Loki left Odin in is being demolished. Suddenly, a portal opens up underneath Loki’s feet and he disappears, with only a card with an address written on it left in his place. Thor heads to the address and is greeted by Dr. Stephen Strange, Earth’s new Sorcerer Supreme, who questions why Thor brought Loki back to Earth. Thor tells Strange that they are looking for Odin and when they find him, they will leave and Strange tells Thor that Odin is in Norway, then summons a portal and sends Thor and Loki through it. Thor and Loki find Odin on a cliff staring out at the sea and he greets his sons, then tells them that Ragnarok is upon them. Thor tries to tell him that he defeated Surtur but Odin tells him Ragnarok had already started, as he is dying and with his death, Hela, his firstborn daughter, will return. He tells them that her appetite for conquest grew beyond his control and he was forced to imprison her. Telling them that she gains her power from Asgard and if she returns there, her power will be limitless, he then fades away into a shower of energy that heads out into the sky. Thor faces Loki, blaming him for Odin’s death, but before they can start fighting, a portal opens and Hela emerges. Hela demands that they kneel and when Thor refuses and throws Mjolnir at her, she catches it in her hand and shatters it. Loki summons a Bifrost to take them back, despite Thor warning him not to, but Hela follows after them and knocks both Thor and Loki off the bridge into the abyss. Hela arrives on Asgard and is confronted by Volstagg and Fandral but she kills them, then allows Skurge to work for her. Meanwhile, Thor ends up on the planet Sakaar, where a group of Scrappers capture him. Before they can eat him, Thor is saved by a slave trader called Scrapper-142, who radios her boss and tells him that she has something special. Back on Asgard, Hela speaks to Hogun and Odin’s army, demanding they swear allegiance to her but when they refuse, she slaughters them all. Meanwhile, Heimdall scales the cliff at the back of the Bifrost Bridge and steals the sword, ensuring that Hela is trapped on Asgard. Back on Sakaar, Thor is brought before the Grandmaster, the ruler of the planet, who pays Scrapper-142 for Thor, then proceeds to bring Thor with him while he tells him about Sakaar. When Thor spots Loki, he tries to get him to help him escape but Loki says he can’t, explaining he had been there for weeks and just now gotten in the Grandmaster’s favor. The Grandmaster tells him that if he defeats his champion, he can go home and Thor agrees to fight him. Thor is transported to the gladiatorial holding area, where a Kronan named Korg introduces himself and his friend Miek, and when he hears that Thor plans on fighting the champion, he warns him that everyone that faces the champion is killed. Back on Asgard, Hela enters the throne room and finds that Odin has rewritten the history of how Asgard’s kingdom was founded and she reveals that she was the one to lead his armies until she was banished. She then heads down to Odin’s treasure chamber and takes some of the flames from the Eternal Flame, then heads down to where her army was buried and uses the Eternal Flame to resurrect the giant wolf Fenris and the rest of her army. Back on Sakaar, Loki pays Thor a visit, trying to convince him to join him and they can overthrow the Grandmaster and rule Sakaar but Thor refuses. After trying to convince Thor to give up on trying to save Asgard, he tells Thor that he placed a large wager against him, then leaves. As Thor is preparing the fight, he sees Scrapper-142 and Korg tells him that she is an Asgardian. Thor attempts to talk with her and, noticing a tattoo on her arm, recognizes her as a Valkyrie and attempts to appeal to her sense of honor but she tells him that he is on Sakaar, not Asgard. After being outfitted with weapons and armor, Thor enters the arena and is surprised to discover that the Grandmaster’s champion is the Hulk. Thor tries to talk to Hulk butHulk ignores him and begins fighting. Not wanting to be killed, Thor fights back, shocking the Grandmaster when Thor appears to get the upper hand. Thor moves to knock Hulk unconscious but Hulk catches the hammer and punches Thor, then proceeds to pummel Thor into the ground when Thor suddenly channels lightning into his fist and blasts Hulk. Using this new found power, Thor moves to finish off Hulk but the Grandmaster activates the slave disc on Thor’s neck and paralyzes him, allowing Hulk to knock Thor unconscious. Back on Asgard, Hela moves to begin conquering the Nine Realms, naming Skurge as her executioner, but when they head to the Bifrost, they find the sword is missing. Back OnSakaar, Thor regains consciousness and finds himself in a room with Hulk. Thor asks how Hulk got there and Hulk says his quinjet crashed, then points it out to Thor. Thor wants to use it to leave but Hulk refuses to go and when Thor does try to leave, he finds the slave disc won’t let him leave the room. As Hulk goes to train with Valkyrie, Thor makes contact with Heimdall, who tells him that he is saving as many of the people as he can but if Hela discovers them she will slaughter them, take the sword, and conquer the cosmos, then tells Thor how to escape from Sakaar before breaking the connection. Thor convinces Hulk to get Valkyrie there and he tries to convince her to join him to help rescue Asgard. When she refuses, he tells her that Odin is dead and Hela has returned and Valkyrie said she faced Hela once, along with the rest of the Valkyrie, and refuses to do it a second time. She goes to leave and Thor thanks her, as he had lifted her control rod for the slave disc, which he uses to power it down so he can remove it, then smashes through the window to leave. Thor makes his way to the Quinjet and gets it ready to take off but Hulk, wanting Thor to stay with him, smashes the ship. As Thor tries to stop him, he activates a video replay, showing Black Widow’s conversation with Hulk trying to get him to return after the events at Sokovia. Seeing Widow causes Hulk to turn back into Bruce Banner and Thor attempts to calm him down when Banner learns that he has been the Hulk for two years. As Thor attempts to explain where they are, they see an announcement from the Grandmaster saying that his champion is missing, stolen by Thor, and tells the people to head out into the streets to celebrate him so that he might return. In the Grandmaster’s palace, the Grandmaster tells Loki and Valkyrie to find Hulk and Thor but as they leave, they start to fight. When Loki discovers Valkyrie’s identity, he brings back her memories of Hela slaughtering the rest of the Valkyries and Valkyrie knocks him out. She then find Thor and Banner and after bringing them to her quarters, explains that she will help them get off Sakaar. Showing them that she has Loki prisoner, they make their plans to escape but when Thor says they need to go through the central wormhole, which is known as the Devil’s Anus, and Loki says that he knows the security codes for the Grandmaster’s garage and they come up with a plan. Valkyrie breaks into the arena pens and deactivates the slave discs, then arms Korg so he can lead a revolution. Meanwhile, Thor and Loki head to the garage, discussing their lives and how their paths have separated over the years. They reach the garage and Loki double crosses Thor but Thor, knowing Loki would do this, had placed a slave disc on Loki’s back when he wasn’t expecting it, then activates it, leaving Loki writhing in pain on the ground. Thor takes off with the Grandmaster’s ship, but the Grandmaster sends several ships after them. Valkyrie starts fending some of them off and when her ship is destroyed, she does so hand to hand and Thor helps her, then they get back on the ship and make their way through the wormhole. Meanwhile, Korg leads the other gladiators to the garage to steal a ship when they discover Loki and turn off the slave disc, inviting him to join them. On Asgard, Hela discovers where Heimdall is hiding and heads there only to discover that he has already evacuated. Thor, Valkyrie, and Banner arrive on Asgard and Thor tells them to help Heimdall get everyone off Asgard while he stalls Hela. Thor heads to the palace and bangs Odin’s staff on the floor, which Hela hears and heads there to confront Thor. Meanwhile, Heimdall is leading the Asgardians to the Bifrost when they find their path blocked by Fenris, just as Skurge and Hela’s soldiers show up behind them. Valkyrie and Banner arrive and attempt to shoot Fenris but he ignores the bullets so Banner jumps out of the ship, only to land on the ground seemingly dead, but as Fenris passes him and attempts to attack Heimdall, Banner turns into the Hulk and begins fighting Fenris. Thor fights with Hela but she overpowers him, cutting out one of his eyes and pinning him to a balcony so he can watch his friends die. Suddenly, Loki and the gladiators arrive and as they begin fighting with Hela’s soldiers, Loki tells everyone to get on the ship. Hela taunts Thor, saying this changes nothing, but as she chokes the life from him, Thor has a vision of talking with his father, who tells him the Mjolnir was never the source of his power, simply a means to control and focus it. Thor summons a massive lightning bolt to attack Hela, then heads off the fight on the bridge, joining Valkyrie, Heimdall, Loki, and the others there. Skurge, sensing the tide might be turning decides to leave Hela’s service and sneak onto the ship while Hulk and Fenris continue fighting with Fenris being knocked off of Asgard while Hulk manages to hang on. When Hela appears on the bridge, Thor realizes that this won’t stop so long as she is able to draw strength from Asgard and tells Loki they have to set about Ragnarok. Loki leaves to place Surtur’s crown in the Eternal Flame while Thor and Valkyrie try to stall her. When Thor tells the ship to leave, Hela uses her powers to spear it with a massive spear, allowing her soldiers to get on board but Skurge, overcome with guilt over his actions, begins fighting the soldiers, breaking the spear and allowing the ship to leave. Hela kills Skurge and beats Thor and Valkyrie but Loki had placed the crown on the Eternal Flame, allowing Surtur to be reborn in his gigantic size As Hela reacts in shock, Thor and Valkyrie are able to knock her in the water below and watch as Surtur begins to ravish Asgard. Hulk returns and goes to fight Surtur but when Surtur throws him aside, Thor and Valkyrie convinces Hulk to leave Surtur alone and Hulk grabs them and jumps onto the leaving ship. Hela reappears and begins fighting with Surtur but he is able to ignore her attacks and plunges his sword into the heart of Asgard, destroying it. As Thor is fitted with an eyepatch over his missing eye, Loki returns and Thor thanks him, thinking it is a hologram but Loki reveals that he is really there. As Thor takes the throne as the king of the displaced Asgardians, They try to figure out where they should go and Thor decides that they should head to Earth. AS they are making their way there, Loki asks Thor if it is a good idea for him to go back to Earth and Thor tells him not to worry when suddenly, they are confronted by Thanos’ flagship. Back on Sakaar, the Grandmaster emerges from the wreckage of his palace and is confronted by some Scrappers and tries to talk them out of killing him as they have succeeded in their revolution.

Thor: Ragnarok was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise — and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” This marks the first time in the MCU that the Hulk was not voiced by Lou Ferrigno, as he had voiced him in The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, and Age Of Ultron. The movie was a box office success, earning $854 million off of a $180 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the Thor franchise.

This was such a fantastic movie and definitely the best of the Thor movies. The acting was great, with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston doing great jobs reprising the roles of Thor and Loki. Mark Ruffalo was also great as Banner/Hulk and I liked Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Cate Blanchett as Hela, but I was disappointed in Karl Urban’s portrayal of Skurge and while he was funny, Jeff Goldblum’s portrayal of the Grand Master was also a little disappointing. Of course, I am basing both of them on the differences of their characters from the comics, which isn’t fair but they really did make a big change with them. The story was pretty good as a whole, but I will admit to some disappointment that the Planet Hulk story line, which was such a huge story line in the comics, was reduced in the way that it was. One thing I did enjoy was the added comedy in the movie, as it added a layer of entertainment to the movie that really was missing in the earlier films. The special effects were great, and definitely showed the improvements in technology over the years, especially in bringing to life the various locations, such as Sakaar and Asgard. A great movie and a good lead up to the upcoming Infinity War.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 9th, 2018 Movie – Big Hero 6

big hero 6

Another free movie for signing up for a service. Got to love how that works out. Anyways, I don’t care how old I get, I still enjoy watching cartoons, whether it be a TV show or an animated movie. Now with Disney pretty much owning the rights to Marvel, you just knew at some point that there was going to be an animated move based on a Marvel comic book. However, while Disney has done several cartoon shows on Disney and Disney XD based on the more popular characters, their first feature film focused on a lesser known comic. My guess is that since the live action MCU was doing so well, they didn’t want to risk turning people away from those movies. Whatever the reason, there was an animated super hero movie in theaters and I for one couldn’t wait to go see Big Hero 6.

The plot: In the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, 14 year old Hiro Hamada participates in an illegal robot fight, hustling the champion Yama out of his money. When Yama grabs Hiro’s bot and tells his men to teach him a lesson, Hiro is rescued by his older brother Tadashi, who chastises him about participating in illegal fights, just before they get arrested by the police. The boy’s aunt Cass bails them out, the chastises both of them, as she had to close her cafe down early to bail them out. When Hiro plans on going to another bot fight, Tadashi says he will take him there but instead, takes him to the science lab at his university. At the lab, Tadashi introduces Hiro to his friends and classmates (Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred) then shows Hiro the project he is working on, a robotic nurse named Baymax. Hiro is impressed with Tadashi’s project and when he learns that Professor Robert Callaghan, who is one of Hiro’s idols in robotics, is Tadashi’s teacher, Hiro begs Tadashi to let him know how he can get in to the university. Tadashi tells Hiro that Callaghan has a contest every year and the kid who impresses him the most gets in but when Hiro sits down to come up with an idea, he draws a blank. Tadashi tells Hiro to not give up and Hiro eventually comes up with an idea for the expo. When they get there, Tadashi and all his friends wish Hiro luck and he presents his invention, microbots. Hiro amazes the crowd when he shows everything the microbots can be used for and after his presentation is done, he is approached by Alistair Krei, the CEO of Krei Tech. Krei wants to buy the microbots from Hiro but when Callaghan tells him that he doesn’t trust Krei, Hiro tells Krei that they aren’t for sale. Callaghan tells Hiro he has been accepted to the school and Aunt Cass says she will treat everyone to dinner at the cafe. Tadashi tells her he and Hiro will join them in a bit, then he pulls Hiro aside to talk with him. Suddenly, they hear alarms going off and people screaming and they turn to find the expo is on fire. When he learns that Callaghan is still in there, Tadashi goes in to help him and Hiro decides to go as well but he is knocked back when the building explodes, killing both Callaghan and Tadashi. Several weeks later, Hiro has fallen into a state of depression over Tadashi’s death, refusing to register for his classes. As he is moping in his room, he stubs his toe and accidentally activates Baymax, who tries to assist Hiro. Hiro tries to get Baymax back in his case but during the process, discovers one of his microbots in his hoodie he was wearing at the expo. The microbot seems to be trying to go somewhere but Hiro says that it must be broken as the other microbots were destroyed. Baymax takes the microbot and decides to see where it is trying to go and Hiro chases after him, eventually reaching an abandoned warehouse. Deciding to head inside, Hiro discovers that someone is mass producing his microbots when the microbots suddenly activate and attempt to attack them. Hiro and Baymax try to run away and see a man in a kabuki mask controlling the microbots, just before they are shoved out a window. Baymax saves Hiro and they go to the police to report what happened but Baymax begins running out of power and Hiro leaves, as he doesn’t want Aunt Cass to know he didn’t sign up for college. When he gets home, Hiro realizes that the man in the kabuki mask had set the fire at the expo to cover up his stealing Hiro’s microbots. Wanting to bring the guy to justice in order to avenge Tadashi, Hiro decides to use Baymax to accomplish the task, downloading karate onto a memory chip and inserting it into Baymax, then fashioning him a suit of armor. Hiro and BAymax use the microbot to track the killer, finding him at the docks but before they can attack him, they are confronted by Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred, who had been contacted by Baymax earlier. When the man in the kabuki mask attacks them,  Hiro tells the others to let him and Baymax handle him but Baymax is overpowered and the others grab Hiro and force him to leave with them. They kids attempt to escape but end up crashing into the ocean, only for Baymax to save them all. Trying to figure out where they should go, Fred takes them to his home, which is a mansion, and he reveals that his parents are rich. Hiro tries to figure out what the symbol on the item the kabuki man was carrying means and Fred says that it is probably Krei, as he had attempted to buy the microbots at the expo. Hiro decides to go after the kabuki man again and the others agree to help so Hiro works on designing them all super hero outfits and weapons. After testing everyones’ super suits, Hiro takes off with Baymax and tests his new armor, then scans the city to locate the kabuki man, finding him on an isolated island. The group heads out to the island and as they look around, they discover that the island was once a test lab for Krei Tech. The find video showing that Krei was testing a teleportation device but an accident occurred and the test pilot disappeared through the portal. Suddenly, the kabuki man attacks them and they attempt to get the mask away from him, as Hiro says that it is what is controlling the microbots. Hiro manages to knock the kabuki mask off the man only to discover that it is Callaghan, not Krei. A shocked Hiro asks Callaghan how he survived and Callaghan tells him he used to microbots to survive the explosion, telling Hiro that Tadashi’s death was his own fault. Enraged at the betrayal, Hiro tells Baymax to destroy Callaghan, taking out his healthcare chip in order to allow Baymax to attack without mercy. Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred try to stop Baymax and succeed when Honey Lemon puts the healthcare chip back in Baymax but doing so allows Callaghan to escape. Hiro is upset at the others and leaves with Baymax, hoping to repair his scanner so they can find Callaghan. When Hiro attempts to remove the healthcare chip again, Baymax refuses to let him, asking if this is what Tadashi would want and showing Hiro video of Tadashi as he was building Baymax. Go-Go and the others show up at Hiro’s garage and Hiro apologizes to them. Honey Lemon tells Hiro they found something on the island and pulls out a flash drive, which shows that Callaghan was at the teleportation testing. When they scan through some of the other video files, they realize that the test pilot was Callghan’s daughter Abigail and that he blames Krei for her death. At Krei Tech, Callaghan attacks Krei and then reveals that he has grabbed the portal and puts it back together, causing it to begin sucking Krei Tech into it. Hiro and the others show up and try to get Callaghan to stop but when he refuses, they go on the offensive. Callaghan is able to capture them but Hiro comes up with a new plan, getting the microbots sucked into the portal so that Callaghan no longer has a weapon to use. The plan works and they are able to stop Callaghan but the portal is still active and Krei says there is no way to stop it. Hiro says that they should run but Baymax says he detects life coming from within the portal and Hiro realizes that Abigail is still alive so he jumps onto Baymax and they head in to save her. Making their way through the portal, they eventually find Abigail’s ship and head back to the portal but when some debris is heading towards them, Baymax shield Hiro and Abigail’s ship with his own body. Baymax’s armor is damaged and when he notices the portal is closing, he tells Hiro that there is another way to save him, placing his rocket fist into the ship’s engine. Hiro doesn’t want him to do this, as he doesn’t want to lose Baymax, but Baymax says he will always be with him so Hiro reluctantly deactivates Baymax, just as he launches his rocket fist. Hiro makes it through with Abigail, just before the portal explodes, and when the others ask about Baymax, Hiro shakes his head no. Callaghan is arrested as Abigail is sent to a hospital for treatment while Hiro and the others leave the scene. Some time later, Hiro has taken over Tadashi’s lab at the university and as he places Baymax’s rocket fist on a shelf, he sees the healthcare chip in the fist. Realizing what this means, Hiro rebuilds Baymax and when he is activated, the two hug. Hiro and Baymax continue to act as superheroes to the city, with the others joining them and calling themselves Big Hero 6. Some time later, Fred is talking at a picture of his dad when he discovers a hidden room full of superhero equipment and when his dad shows up in the doorway, Fred hugs him as his dad says they have a lot to talk about.

Big Hero 6 met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.” According to Scott Watanabe, the movie is set in an alternate future where after the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was rebuilt by Japanese immigrants using techniques that allow movement and flexibility in a seismic event. After the city was finished being rebuilt, it was renamed San Fransokyo due to it being a city with Japanese and American architecture combined. Big Hero 6 was the highest grossing animated movie of 2014, earning $657.8 million off of a $165 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

This is such a great movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit doing great jobs as Hiro and Baymax respectively. All of the other characters were equally good but I loved the cameo of Stan Lee being Fred’s dad, and the fact that they made him look like Stan Lee was even better. The story was really good, showing a lot more depth than I honestly would have given Disney credit for in a super hero movie. I loved the character development they showed with Hiro, going from reckless teenager to responsible kid, from wanna-be superhero to an angry, revenge seeking kid and back again. Hiro’s development drove the movie almost as much as the main story itself. The animation was great and some of the background animation and scenery was incredibly vivid and colorful. A great Disney movie that is well worth watching and definitely one that will end up being one of their all time greats.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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June 14th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: Apocalypse

x-men apocalypse

Ever since the end of Days Of Future Past, I was curious what they were going to do with this movie. Then the trailers came out and I have to say that I was…..thoroughly unimpressed. Seriously, there was nothing really that compelled me to want to see this movie, and I have always been a fan of the X-Men. I mean, next to Magneto, Apocalypse is arguably the X-Men’s most dangerous villain so you would think that they would go all out for this but every commercial I saw left me feeling “meh”. So I opted out of seeing this in theaters and decided to just pick it up on video when it came out. Let’s see if that was a smart choice as I watch today’s movie, X-Men: Apocalypse.

The plot: in 3600 BC in the Nile Valley of Egypt, En Sabah Nur, the worlds first mutant, is entering a pyramid and performing a ritual where he transfers his powers and consciousness into the body of another mutant, one who has accelerated healing, to himself. As the sunlight activates the advanced technology in the pyramid, some of his guards betray him, unleashing giant stone blocks to take out the pyramid’s support columns while inside, some more guards seal the chamber and attempt to kill him. En Sabah Nur’s elite guard, the Four Horsemen, use their powers to protect him but they are all killed as the pyramid collapses and En Sabah Nur is buried underneath the rubble. In 1983 Ohio, Scott Summers is in class when his eyes start bothering him and he asks to be excused. Heading into the bathroom, he notices his eyes starting to glow red but quickly hide when another student comes in looking for him, thinking Scott was winking at his girlfriend. As the bully tries to get into the bathroom stall to beat up Scott, Scott’s eyes suddenly emit a powerful concussive blast, knocking the door off it’s hinges and sending the bully into the wall. In East Berlin, Mystique enters an underground arena where she sees a winged mutant called Angel fighting Nightcrawler, a blue-skinned teleporter with a demonic appearance. Seeing that the cage they are in is electrified, and armed guards are there to ensure they fight, Mystique takes out one of the guards and shorts out the power to the cage, allowing them to escape, then helps Nightcrawler get away from there, who realizes that she is the hero who saved the president. In Poland, Magneto, living under a false name, is working at a steel mill and returns home to his wife Magda and daughter Nina, who apparently has the mutant ability allowing her to communicate with animals. Scott’s parents contact his older brother Alex, who takes Scott to Xavier’s school. When they arrive, Scott accidentally bumps into Jean Grey, a telepath and telekinetic student, who chastises him for his clumsiness. Alex introduces Scott to Hank and Professor Xavier and they head outside to test his powers, with Xavier gladly enrolling Scott into the school so he can better control them. In Cairo, CIA agent Moira Mactaggert is following a cult that worships En Sabah Nur, but as she heads down into the area where the pyramid was buried, sunlight hits the top of the pyramid, reactivating the ancient technology and reawakening En Sabah Nur. As the cult continues praying, Apocalypse uses his powers to free himself, causing an earthquake that is felt worldwide. In Poland, the earthquake causes a vat of molten metal to fall towards a worker and Magneto instinctively uses his powers to save the man, but then grows worried that some of the other workers might have seen him. In New York, Xavier sends the other students back to bed before heading into Jean’s room, to help her deal with the visions she saw. Afterwards, Hank tells Xavier that his instruments detected an earthquake originating in Cairo and he believes Jean was merely reacting to it so Xavier uses Cerebro to investigate and discovers Moira in Cairo. When he learns that she is returning to Langley to make her report, he decides to head there to talk with her. In Poland, Magneto is making plans to leave with his family when he finds Nina being held by some cops. Magneto agrees to go with them so long as they spare his family but as they move to arrest him, Nina’s powers run wild and some birds begin attacking the cops. One of the cops accidentally lets go of the arrow in his bow, which kills both Nina and Magda and an enraged and grieving Magneto kills all of the cops before raging at the heavens. In Cairo, En Sabah Nur is wandering the streets and encounters a young Ororo Monroe, who uses her powers to help the gang of street kids she leads steal food to survive. In Langley, Xavier and Alex go to see Moira, with Xavier explaining to Alex beforehand about how he wiped all memory of them from her mind, and is surprised to find that she has a son. Mystique and Nightcrawler go to see Caliban, a mutant that can track other mutants, and she asks him to get Nightcrawler papers so he can get out of the country but when Caliban tells her about Magneto, she decides to take Nightcrawler with him to see Xavier. Meanwhile, Storm takes En Sabah Nur to her gang’s hideout, where he uses the TV to learn more about the modern world. Feeling betrayed at how the “weak” have taken over the world, he decides to cleanse the world and uses his powers to augment Storm’s abilities. They then teleport to Caliban’s shop, wanting to use Caliban to help them find more mutants. Caliban’s bodyguard Psylocke moves to stop them but when En Sabah Nur augments her own abilities, she decides to join them and tells them that she knows where to find the mutants they seek. Heading to an abandoned warehouse in Germany, they find Angel still recovering from his damaged wing and Psylocke says he is no longer useful but En Sabah Nur uses his powers to alter Angel’s wings, repairing the damaged one and making them both metallic with the ability to shoot razor sharp feathers from them. Back in New York, Hank makes some special glasses to hold back Scott’s eye blasts and Scott becomes enamored with Jean Grey when he finally sees her. Later, Hank is surprised to see Mystique there and she tells him that she is there to get Xaviers help in finding Magneto, believing him to be in trouble. Meanwhile Jubilee, a student at the school, is showing Nightcrawler around when they encounter Scott and Jean, and Scott suggests that they ditch the school and head to the mall. In Poland, Magneto enters the factory and intends to kill the workers there when En Sabah Nur, Storm, Psylocke, and Angel appear. En Sabah Nur kills all the men and tells Magneto and tells him to come with him. En Sabah Nur takes him to Auschwitz and helps him learn more about his powers and tells him that with his help, they can destroy what the humans built and then build a better world. In D.C., Peter Maximoff is watching a news report about Magneto and when his mother questions him about it, he admits that he is going to go after him. Xavier, Alex, and Moira return to the mansion and Xavier is surprised to see Mystique there. Asking the others to give them a moment, Xavier and Mystique talk for a bit, arguing about what they feel is best for the students there. Mystique tells him about Magneto and Xavier heads down to Cerebro with Alex, Hank, Mystique, and Moira and makes contact with Magneto. Xavier speaks with Magneto, trying to convince him to let him help him, but Magneto says that he tried Xavier’s way and it failed him so he has found a new path. En Sabah Nur, sensing what is happening, manages to take over the connection and uses Xavier and Cerebro to launch every nuclear missile in the world up into space. Xavier tells Alex to destroy Cerebro in order to break the connection but the backlash knocks Xavier unconscious. En Sabah Nur and his group appear in the mansion and kidnap Xavier and Alex tries to stop them but unknowingly causes an explosion that destroys the mansion. Peter arrives at the mansion just before it is destroyed and manages to use his speed to save everyone there except for Alex, who was the closest to the blast. Scott, Jean, Nightcrawler, and Jubilee return to the mansion and when he doesn’t see Alex around, he heads to the rubble to search before dropping to his knees to grieve, with Jean and Nightcrawler joining him. Suddenly, a military helicopter appears and the troops, led by Colonel William Stryker, knock out all of the people on the ground, then take Mystique, Hank, Peter, and Moira captive. Jean uses her powers to prevent the soldiers from seeing her, Scott, and Nightcrawler, then Nightcrawler teleports them onto the helicopter as it prepares to fly away. Stryker takes them to his base and questions them about Xavier’s location and Moira tells him that it wasn’t Xavier but someone more powerful. In Egypt, Xavier regains consciousness and finds En Sabah Nur waiting for him, wanting to use his powers to contact everyone on Earth. Boosting Xavier’s powers, En Sabah Nur uses Xavier to deliver a message to everyone but Xavier fights back, telling those with power to protect those without, while subtly contacting Jean and telling her where he is. Jean and the others are discovered and they manage to get away and find themselves in a test room, where one of Stryker’s experiments is being held. When the soldiers enter, Jean telekinetically opens the cage and releases Wolverine, who has been reduced to an almost mindless animal, and he begins slaughtering the soldiers. Seeing Wolverine running wild and killing all of his men, Stryker decides to abandon the base and leave. Jean and the others catch up to Wolverine just as he is about to leave and Jean approaches him, using her powers to restore a part of his humanity and he stares at them before running off into the woods. Scott rescues the others and when Jean says she knows where Xavier is, they grab Stryker’s plane and fly off. In Cairo, En Sabah Nur uses his powers to bring his pyramid back to the surface of the city, then instructs Magneto to use his powers to destroy everything that mankind built. He then has Angel take Xavier inside the pyramid, where En Sabah Nur plans on transferring his consciousness into Xavier’s body so he can gain his powers. The X-Men arrive and Mystique and Peter, who told them that Magneto is his father, go to try and stop Magneto while the others grab Xavier. Angel, Storm, and Psylocke work on stopping them as the transfer process begins but Nightcrawler manages to trap Angel and then make it inside the pyramid to rescue Xavier. Teleporting him back to the plane, Nightcrawler grabs the others and teleports them onto the plane so they can leave but Angel breaks free from his trap and grabs Psylocke to stop them. Psylocke lands on the plane and cuts a hole in it so Angel can get inside but Nightcrawler is able to teleport everyone to safety as Jean puts the plane into a dive so that it crashes, killing Angel. Nightcrawler is rendered unconscious by the effort and the others try to tend to him and Xavier. En Sabah Nur, realizing what happened, calls out to Xavier and moves towards him but Peter and Mystique try to stop him. En Sabah Nur easily beats them and then mocks Xavier, saying he should sacrifice his own life for theirs. Suddenly, Magneto attacks En Sabah Nur, trying to stop him from reaching Xavier and Scott joins the fight while Beast works to rescue Mystique and Peter. Realizing he and En Sabah Nur are still connected, Xavier attacks En Sabah Nur in his mind but En Sabah Nur is able to get the upper hand. Xavier calls out for Jean’s help and she faces off with En Sabah Nur, both in Xavier’s mind and in the real world and together, with Magneto, Scott, and Storm (who turned against En Sabah Nur when she saw her idol Mystique fighting him) are able to kill him. Jean, Scott, and Beast head back to check on Xavier who turns to Moira and restores her memories of their time together, apologizing for taking them from her, while Storm and Magneto nod to each other and approach them, while Psylocke heads off on her own. Some time later, Magneto and Jean are rebuilding the mansion as the students all watch. Storm approaches Peter and asks if he is going to tell Magneto that he is his son and Peter says one day but for now he is going to stick around the school and Storm says she will as well. Magneto and Xavier talk some more and discuss their differing views on humanity’s acceptance of mutants before Magneto leaves while Xavier watches as Mystique and Beast train Scott, Nightcrawler, Peter, Storm, and Jean into becoming the newest X-Men. Meanwhile, at Stryker’s abandoned base, some men in black suits are busy cleaning up the bodies, as well as taking the data and blood samples that were left behind, all under the guise of The Essex Corporation.

X-Men: Apocalypse met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Overloaded action and a cliched villain take the focus away from otherwise strong performers and resonant themes, making X-Men: Apocalypse a middling chapter of the venerable superhero franchise.”  Apocalypse’s four horsemen, Storm , Psylocke , Angel, and Magneto, had all been his horsemen in other media. Angel and Psylocke would both become Horsemen in the comics (coincidentally, they would both end up becoming Death), while Magneto and Storm would become Horsemen in the animated show X-Men: Evolution. While the film has Apocalypse in the title, the titular villain is never actually referred to by that name in the movie, as everyone always calls him En Sabah Nur. Despite the bad reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $543.9 million off of a $178 million budget and a 4th movie is scheduled to be released in 2019.

Well, I didn’t hate it but I can’t say that I was too impressed with it either. Visual effects aside, this was kind of an average movie. The acting was ok, with the returning actors doing a good job in their roles. I did like the struggle Jennifer Lawrence showed Mystique waging, as she had unknowingly became a role model for several mutants but she didn’t feel like she deserved to be one. I liked Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner, and Tye Sheridan as Storm, Jean, and Scott respectively and thought Kodi Smit-McPhee’s portrayal as Nightcrawler was pretty good but I was disappointed with Oscar Isaac’s portrayal of Apocalypse. The story honestly felt too long and didn’t really do a great job in keeping you really invested in the movie. There were some good spots here and there but it really felt like it just kind of plodded along hoping to pick up enough steam to make it worthwhile. One aspect that kind of got glossed over, and I haven’t checked out the deleted scenes to see if it might have been addressed there, but I thought it was funny that Mystique showed up in Germany and rescued Nightcrawler but didn’t care if Angel got away or not. In the comics, Nightcrawler is the son of Mystique and Azazel and in this time line, it has been 19 years since Mystique first left with Magneto and his Brotherhood, which included Azazel. So it is entirely possible that he is her son and she had heard from Caliban that he was captured and gone there explicitly to rescue him, just choosing not to tell him of their relationship. One thing I thought was a bit much was the Peter/Quicksilver’s appearance at the mansion and his rescuing of the students and everyone there. It honestly felt like it was simply a time killer and didn’t really serve any real purpose to help move things along. One thing this movie didn’t really skimp on was the special effects and they were well done but special effects can’t make a movie great if the story doesn’t pull it’s weight. It’s a decent movie but definitely not the best in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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October 28th, 2017 Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

the amazing spider-man 2

So a superhero movie comes to the theaters and I have no desire whatsoever to see it. I know, it is really an odd thing to have happen but it is true. When the trailers for this movie came out, hinting at a possible Sinister Six plot line, I was actually less than amazed. I would say that maybe it is that dreaded adulthood creeping up on me and I felt the desire to see more Oscar worthy films that would only elevate my sense of culture. Of course, that would be shot down by the fact that I happened to see 3 other superhero movies that year and enjoyed all three of them so obviously that is not true. I think it was probably just that the trailers themselves gave me no desire to see this movie. Anyways, I decided to pick it up on Blu-Ray sometime after it came out and honestly, put off watching it until several months after I bought it. After all of the hesitation, let’s see if today’s movie was worth it as I watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The plot: Late one night, Richard Parker destroys all of the test subjects and erases the data from his bio-genetics lab at Oscorp but he is found out and his clearances are revoked before he finishes so he grabs the hard copy files as he leaves. As he records a message explaining what he has done, he hears Peter calling out to him, leading to the events at the beginning of the first film. After dropping off Peter, Richard and Mary are taking a plane to somewhere where they can hide and Richard is working on uploading some files while Mary uses the restroom. When one of the pilots exits the cockpit and starts talking to Richard, Richard notices blood on his hands and gets suspicious. The man reveals himself to be an assassin and as a struggle breaks out between Richard, Mary, and the assassin, Mary ends up being shot. The plane starts to go into free fall as Richard and the assassin continue to struggle and Richard manages to get control of the gun and shoot out a window, causing explosive decompression of the cabin which rips the door off the plane. The assassin is sucked out of the plane and falls to his death while Richard ensures that the files were uploaded just before the plane crashes. In the present, Spider-Man hears about a police chase involving some stolen plutonium from Oscorp and he heads off to stop it and during the course of the chase, he saves Max Dillion, an electrical engineer that works for Oscorp. As Spider-Man catches two of the thieves and works on keeping the plutonium containers from spilling out of the truck, he receives a call from Gwen, wondering where he is as their graduation ceremony is starting. When the third thief, Aleksei Sytsevich, drives his wrecker truck into a bus, Spider-Man quickly keeps the bus from tipping over and injuring the people inside and some pedestrians in it’s path, then captures Aleksei before heading to his graduation. After the graduation ceremony, Aunt May congratulates Peter, wishing that Ben had been there to see this. May takes a picture of Peter and Gwen together and then Gwen invites him to dinner with her family that night but Peter keeps seeing the image of Captain Stacy. When Peter shows up, he doesn’t enter the restaurant and Gwen goes outside to talk to him and Peter tells her about constantly seeing her father and she tells him she can’t keep having him do this to her and despite the fact that Peter says he loves her, she breaks up with him. Some time later, Harry Osborn returns to New York City at the request of his dying father Norman, who tells Harry that he sent him away for his own good. Norman then tells him that he is dying from a genetic disease, and Harry is at the age where the disease begins to manifest. Meanwhile, Max is about to leave work when his boss, Alistair Smythe, has him check on an electrical surge in one of the labs. As Max fixes the short, he gets shocked and ends up falling into a tank of genetically modified electric eels, which attack him and their bites mutate and electrocute him as the tank explodes. Norman dies the next day, leaving Harry as the CEO of Oscorp, though the board is less than happy about it, as the company is under intense scrutiny after the event with Connors. Peter goes to see Harry, as they were childhood friends, and the two end up talking and catching up, while members of Oscorp’s security try to hide Dillon’s body. That evening, Gwen calls Peter and asks to meet and says she wants to try to stay friends. As they try to set up some ground rules, Gwen tells him that she was offered a scholarship to go to England for studies and she is considering taking it. Meanwhile, Max regains consciousness and finds his body has transformed into a living electrical generator. He makes his way towards Times Square and starts absorbing some of the electricity from the area until the police show up and Max inadvertently attacks them when they start shooting at him. Peter, having sensed the disturbance, changes into Spider-Man and heads over there  and after recognizing Max from his description of his saving him, tries talking to him to defuse the situation. When Max cause an explosion of sparks by accidentally stepping in a puddle, a sniper shoots at him, causing Max to react violently and cause a blackout before attacking the police. He then attacks Spider-Man, blaming him for setting him up but Spider-Man is able to keep some bystanders from being electrocuted then, with the help of some firemen, use a fire hose to short out Max and bring him down. Returning home, Peter starts questioning himself about whether he should continue being Spider-Man or if he should try to have a normal life with Gwen. Meanwhile, Harry is examining the device his father left him when he discovers a series of video files on it concerning Richard Parker’s work. Peter is working on building a more insulated web compound in case he has to face Max again when Harry calls and says he needs to see him. When Peter arrives at Oscorp, Harry explains that he is dying of the same disease that killed his father but shows him the files of Richard and Norman talking about their experiments and Harry says that he needs Spider-Man’s blood to cure himself and asks Peter to help him locate Spider-Man, as Peter is the one to take Spider-Man’s pictures. Peter says he will try to find Spider-Man and leaves but sees Gwen being chased by security and when he grabs her, they duck into a maintenance closet. Gwen explains that she had met Max and was looking up information about him but all of his records had been purged from the system and Peter distracts the guards so she can leave but she ends up in the elevator with Harry, who talks to her on the way down. When Peter returns home, he finds Aunt May in his room staring at the collage of pictures concerning his parents and she ends up telling him that his parents were suspected of being traitors and selling secrets to foreign governments. Spider-Man goes to visit Harry but refuses to give him a sample of his blood, saying it could kill him or worse and Harry gets enraged. When Peter returns home, he angrily destroys the collage and smashes things in his father satchel but finds some subway tokens hidden in an old calculator and, recalling a comment his aunt made about his father’s schedule, investigates it further and finds Richard’s secret lab in a hidden subway tunnel. Inside, Peter sees the video explaining that Osborn was the one selling secrets and framed Richard for it. Richard also explains that the human DNA that he merged with the spiders was his own so without his blood, or his bloodline, nobody would be able to recreate his experiment. Meanwhile, Harry is told by his assistant Felicia that while the spiders were killed, the scientists saved the venom from them in case it could prove to be useful and is kept in an area of the building called “Special Projects”. Harry looks into “Special Projects” and learns that they are experimenting on Max at Ravencroft and that he supposedly signed off on it. Suddenly, he finds his authorization revoked and is approached by security and Oscorps’ Vice President Donald Menken, who had framed Oscorp in order to usurp control of the company away from him. Harry breaks into Ravencroft and goes to Max’s cell, who is calling himself Electro now. Harry says he will free Electro in exchange for his help in getting back into Oscorp and as the guards approach and try to grab Harry, Harry zaps Electro with a taser, giving him enough of a charge to break free from his restraints and kill the guards. Harry and Electro head to Oscorp and after taking Menken hostage, Harry has him lead him down to Special Projects while Electro heads to the city power grid. Inside Special Projects, Harry has Menken inject him with the spider venom but it causes him to start mutating and Menken is able to escape. Harry manages to crawl into his father’s special armor prototype and the armor’s inboard healing process begis working on curing him. Meanwhile, Peter exits the subway tunnel and finds he has a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she is heading to England for a summer class as a means of trying to get over him. As she is stuck in traffic, she sees Spider man writing “I Love You” in webbing on the nearby bridge and as she gets out of the cab and stares at it, Spider-Man swings down and grabs her. On top of the bridge, Peter tells Gwen that he decided that he wants to be with her and go with her to England and the two kiss. Suddenly, the whole city suffers a blackout and they see Electro absorbing the power from the power grid. Gwen helps Spider-Man magnetize his web shooters so they will work against Electro, then tells him that she is going with him, as she knows how to reset the grid, but Spider-Man webs her hand to a police car to keep her from following him. Spider-Man heads to the power station and battles Electro but finds himself outmatched and is about to be killed, only for Gwen, having freed herself from the webbing, crash the police car into Electro. Spider-Man and Gwen come up with a plan to overload Elector, feeding him too much electricity so that he ends up exploding. As the two approach each other, they are surprised by the arrival of Harry, having mutated into a goblin like appearance from the venom. When Harry sees Gwen had helped Spider-Man, he realizes that Spider-Man is really Peter and gets even more enraged and grabs Gwen, flying her up to a nearby clock tower. Spider-Man pleads with Harry to let her go and Harry drops her then begins fighting with Spider-Man as he tries to save her. As Peter is holding onto Gwen with a strand of webbing, Harry tries to force it into the gears so it will snap and Spider-Man shoves his foot in the gears to keep them from turning. The pressure eventually causes the gears to break and Harry is knocked unconscious by the debris while the webbing snaps. As Gwen falls, Spider-Man leaps after her and tries to snag her with some more webbing to save her and succeeds in doing so before she hits the bottom but the sudden stop causes her neck to snap, resulting in her death. As Peter climbs down to check on her, he finds that she has died and cries out in grief over his part in her death. A funeral is held for Gwen and Peter decides to give up on being Spider-Man, not wanting anyone else he cares about to be put in danger. Several months later, Gustav Fiers, the man who visited Connors in his cell, pays a visit to Harry in his cell and tells him preparations are ready for his team and asks how many people he wants in it. Harry says to keep the number small and that everything they need is at Oscorp and asks if they have their first volunteer. Fiers says they do and he heads to Special Projects, walking past several specialized suits until he reaches a giant armored suit fashioned after a rhino. As the news report about Aleksei’s escape from prison and the rise in crime in the city since Spider-Man disappeared, Peter ends up watching Gwen’s graduation speech, where she tells the graduating class to become hope for people, and Peter decides to become Spider-Man again. When Aleksei, wearing the rhino armor, attacks the city, a little boy dressed as Spider-Man stands up to him and Aleksei starts mocking him but the real Spider-Man shows up and comments on the boys bravery before sending him back to his mom and then goes to face Aleksei.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “While the cast is outstanding and the special effects are top-notch, the latest installment of the Spidey saga suffers from an unfocused narrative and an overabundance of characters.” The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $709 million off of an estimated budget between $200 and $293 million. The movie was supposed to spawn another sequel, with a spin-off movie featuring the Sinister Six but plans were scrapped and Sony instead entered into a partnership with Marvel to redo the series as part of the MCU.

Yeh, I don’t really know how I feel about this movie. The acting was ok, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both doing good jobs reprising their roles of Peter and Gwen respectively. Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of Electro was kind of interesting and, while brief, Ialso liked Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of the Rhino but thought that Dane DeHaan was a little odd as Harry Osborn, seeming to play the character a little too sleazy than he should have. The story wasn’t bad and it actually did a good job in setting up for a possible sequel and introducing other members of the Sinister Six, primarily Doctor Octopus and the Vulture. Personally, I would much rather have more involvement with Fiers, as his character, which was introduced in a series of novels, was very interesting and I would have liked to have seen more involving him. As for the Gwen Stacy death, I understand that they had to make some changes due to the story line but I liked how they did this as opposed to Raimi’s rendition in Spider-Man. The special effects were pretty good and I liked the fight scenes with Spider-Man and Electro. I honestly laughed when the effects of him moving through the towers caused them to hum out “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider” during the final fight with Electro. Not as bad of a movie as I thought but still it could have been a lot better.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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