What I Didn’t Love About ‘Avengers: Endgame’

I saw Endgame a few weeks ago when it came out, and that night I wrote this post congratulating Marvel for their amazing accomplishment that is the MCU. What they did is fantastic, but that doesn’t mean it was flawless. After discussing the movie with friends and thinking it over from a less emotional standpoint, I think I’m able to explain why I personally liked the movie but did not love it. It’s still a great movie and I still love Marvel, but for a movie that’s closing out a 22 movie saga, it perhaps could have been less polarizing and more complete. (And yeah, there are spoilers here).

At first I thought my dislike was based around Tony’s death. He was the one character I desperately wanted to live, but I do understand that his death was full circle and he did get his years of happiness and he was the only one to be able to do what he did. It also wasn’t a death that the movie or Marvel took lightly, so I know they didn’t do it just for the surprise factor. But I am a little miffed that Tony died while Steve went on to live his ideal life.

Steve and Tony in Endgame.

And that bothered me not because I don’t want Steve to be happy, but because the time travel aspect of it felt incomplete. This movie did not do time travel well, and it has left me and many others a little confused, which I think is a very incorrect feeling to have when we’re talking about a movie that was supposed to close the door of a 10 year cinematic phenomena.

Marvel has touched on time travel before a bit (AoS, Dr. Strange), but this was bigger. Time travel is an incredibly difficult concept to use because it is so far removed from our reality. The limits of our imagination are mostly based off of movies or shows we’ve seen, and the rules and logic of it are subjective to the content. Endgame chose to have it so going to the past makes that your future (or something) which makes sense in the basic way the Ancient One explained: take a stone but return it and all will be fine. Only that didn’t happen. Through a series of events, the timeline of the MCU that we came to know over the years was changed…or something? Loki disappearing with the Tesseract, old Nebula being shot, 2014 Thanos getting dusted in 2023, Steve going back in time to be with Peggy…these all have large ripple effects on the MCU, and it hurts my head to think about what it means.

Only I don’t know if it means anything. I genuinely think Marvel doesn’t have huge plans to explain that. And why should they, when Endgame was the closing to this saga? The Loki TV show, GOTG3, and even Far From Home may touch on it to some extent, but I don’t know if we’ll all ever completely understand the timeline. And that’s because the directors and writers also don’t really understand. When they’re all doing contradicting interviews and saying things like ‘we think there may be two Steves now’ it leads me to believe there isn’t an answer, and for a movie that had so many fun loops and closed so many great arcs, this aspect stands out to me as unfinished and rude. We spent so much time invested in the series, and then they go mess it up in the end? Based on the Far From Home trailer and articles I’ve read, now Marvel is going the multiverse route where Loki taking the Tesseract, for example, created a branch of another timeline. But it still feels like a BS way to end Endgame. (Not to mention that they never explained if the 2014 Thanos that died in 2023 was from the Prime Timeline or a new branch or what). What was the point of the MCU and its interwovenness that we all were in awe of if it’s all just going to go to hell in the last movie? I am upset.

'I don't get it' gif.

Tying into the failed time travel concept was the five year jump. That was also not well done. Through Steve and Scott, we got glimpses of what a post-snap world looked like, but I think we needed a lot more. The snap wiped 50% of all living creatures, and we mostly just saw what it meant for our small team of Avengers, which wasn’t much. Clint went crazy, Thor got depressed, Nat took over the Avengers, and Tony made the most of his luck. But what about the rest of the world? Everything would be changed. Food production would stop. Medical care would stop. Political systems would crumble. And these aren’t things that I think would work itself out in five measly years, and I wish we got to see more of just how ruthless Thanos’ action was to everyone. But by doing that time jump and having the dusted return to 2023, it cements the action. This is real, and any future MCU content should deal with it. Far From Home will, so I hear, but will Runaways? Or the Disney + shows? Or Agents Of SHIELD? Probably not, or they’ll mention it lightly but not show any huge consequences, which I think is dumb. Most likely they’ll take the easy route and say “Oh, no, there are no consequences because this show is an alternate branch/universe!” And listen, I loved Morgan and I’m so glad Tony got her and she has a future, but she alone was the only reason why the Avengers didn’t use their snap to just go back in time and deal with things in 2018, saving us all from time travel headaches and greater MCU repercussions.

All in all, I can deal with everything else in the movie—the jokes that went on a bit too long, the fact that we never got a chance to mourn Nat, Clint’s dumb haircut—but the fact that this movie basically ruined itself for no reason is just not sitting well with me. We didn’t get full closure and we also didn’t get logical hints at what’s to come, and I am shocked and offended that Marvel okayed that. I feel like they dropped the ball at the worst time.

'I expected more from you' gif

The TL;DR of this is that I didn’t like how Endgame used time travel in this movie and screwed up the single straight timeline we all understood.

Other than that, I really liked the movie. I liked how we got to see the OG Avengers do their thing, I liked they there were a bunch of easter eggs, and I liked that it included all the heroes the way it did. But I just can’t overlook that feeling of confusion and slight disappointment that I and so many others are unfortunately experiencing after this final movie.

Do you agree? Or did you have other large qualms with Endgame? I’d love to discuss, so leave a comment!

 

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Here’s Me Blabbing About Marvel

There are no Endgame spoilers here.

I had a whole different post written and ready to go today, but then I saw Avengers: Endgame and I just needed to talk about Marvel. Years ago I kind of explained how I got into Marvel, but since then, my love for it has only grown.

I wasn’t a fan of superhero things when Iron Man came out, but I am so, so glad that I was here to see the end of the Avengers story in theaters with dozens of other huge fans. It’s something that I’ll be bragging about to kids in the future, the same way people who grew up in the 80’s are able to do with the original Star Wars movies.

I think that's cool gif.

And obviously Marvel isn’t done. As much as I’m excited for the next Spider-Man and the next seasons of Agents Of SHIELD, I do kind of wish that the MCU would end on this high note. Give us a chance to breathe and take it in. Like with every successful franchise, I worry about what’s to come and how they can ruin it by pumping out more and more. Even the TV shows that already exist have seen some issues with quality. Runaways, The Punisher, Jessica Jones: they’re all shows that had great first seasons and then disappointing second ones. I can only guess what the multitude of Disney+ shows will be like.

But I’m not here to fret about the future, I am here to commend Marvel for what they’ve done. They singlehandedly brought on this powerhouse era of superheroes. Obviously on DC’s side Smallville ran (before Iron Man came out) so Arrow could walk, but I don’t know if the Arrowverse as it is today would exist without Marvel. Marvel got people of all ages into superheroes and fights and aliens and introduced a new generation to the heroes that others grew up with on pages.

I never read comics and I don’t really regret that (especially because it’s not like someone handed me comics as a kid and I turned them away), but I think it is cool to talk to people who are comic readers and hear them theorize based on their knowledge of that. Thought it’s not necessary to enjoy the MCU, and that’s cool! I watched and very much enjoyed The Avengers with barely any knowledge. I kind of knew who Iron Man and the Hulk were. That’s it.

I look to DC’s movies and where they fail, and it’s so interesting to see them try things Marvel has (solo movies, humorous movies, ensemble movies, darker movies) and consistently fail, whereas when it came to movies, Marvel succeeded again and again and again. Sure, you can pick apart things in all the movies and point out flaws, but that does change the fact that Marvel figured out how to make 22 solid movies (21 if you exclude that old Hulk one) and create a world where people are dying for more. I know someone in America who attended a 52 hour Marvel movie marathon this week leading up to Endgame. Name one other franchise where people are doing that. Marvel managed to always find the perfect secret formulas to make the movies good. Some better than others, but they were all good.

Brilliant gif.

When Endgame ended, I sat in the theater watching the credits and just thinking about the fact that it’s over, and I couldn’t believe it. Even now as I write this, a few hours later and tired as heck, it feels like a dream. But a good one. Did I cry? Yeah. But I hold things that make me cry in high regard because it means they did their job well. I also laughed and gasped and had all the emotions.

Marvel did that. They did a lot for fans, and I am grateful. Even if they go on to sabotage themselves by pumping out content that people get tired of, their success with the MCU here is something that I don’t think can be replicated.

Anyway. I don’t really have a point here, I just had a lot of emotions and wanted to give Marvel the respect they deserve. Sometimes a girl just has to explode on her blog, a little.

I love Marvel.

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A Spoilery Brain Dump About ‘Mamma Mia 2’ Because I Have Feelings And Didn’t Want To Bother Twitter

Are y’all ready for this? I don’t blog about movies much anymore because there are so many review sites that say it all better and faster than I do, but I am bursting at the seams with Mamma Mia 2 thoughts after seeing it, so here we are.

  • Let me start by saying that Mamma Mia is my favourite musical. I’ve seen it on stage twice and on screen upwards of ten times. So it’s special, and for that reason, I was both excited and terrified for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.
  • Overall, I thought this sequel/prequel was good! It was fun and emotional and cute and did a good job telling more of the story.
  • Sure, there were parts that were a little cheesy, but they weren’t too weird, and if any movie’s sequel can do cheese well, it’s Mamma Mia‘s.
    Image result for mamma mia 2 young donna
  • I’m glad they mixed in new songs, old songs, and Mamma Mia stage songs that the first movie didn’t use. It was a good mix, and the old songs were arranged differently so they, for the most part, didn’t feel like the same songs again.
  • But why wasn’t ‘Under Attack’ used????? It’s such a good song and I am sad it got passed over yet again.
  • Either way, I’ll be listening to this soundtrack on repeat at work tomorrow, and I can’t wait.
  • But opening with a song about kissing a teacher was….a bit weird. Was anyone else a little weirded out?
  • I’m glad they told us right away what’s up with Donna. The trailer hinted at death, but we weren’t sure, and I really wouldn’t have wanted to spend the whole movie guessing.
  • But part of me wants to know how she died while the other part of me is very content not knowing.
  • The casting for the young versions of the characters was SO GOOD. Especially for the ladies.
  • But are you seriously telling me that Donna, Rosie, and Tanya didn’t change their hairstyles in 30 years?
  • Tanya kept teasing Rosie for crying every time someone mentioned Donna but guess what? I was doing the same thing…
  • I SOBBED during that last song. Most of the theater did too. Haven’t had a good cry like that in a while.
  • Obviously, I knew Meryl Streep would show up eventually, but I think the way they did it, at the end and at such a special moment, was well done. But I also wanted more Meryl. I always want more Meryl.
  • The theater was filled with moms and daughters, which was so cute. I also went with my mom, my best friend, and my best friend’s mom.
  • The movie was funny! I got some good laughs, and the humor didn’t consume the movie. It was on par with the first movie, I think.
    Image result for mamma mia 2 young donna
  • Cher…..yikes. Her singing was alright, but her acting was not good, and she really shouldn’t have gotten such a focus at the end of the movie. I don’t care about her.
  • Sophie and Sky are the underrated OTP
  • The movie did a pretty good job paralleling Donna’s life with Sophie’s, but there were times where I kind of wished the movie just stuck with one of them.
  • I didn’t hate Pierce Brosnan’s singing in Mamma Mia, but I’m glad they kept his singing in Here We Go Again to a minimum. That being said, I’m also glad they didn’t autotune him. I think it’d be weirder if he suddenly had a wonderful voice.
  • I like how that old lady, Sophia, was introduced and played a big role. Her existence was such a throwaway line in the first movie, so it was cool to meet her and see her importance to Donna.
  • I love every character very much.
  • Okay, so I know Donna had to sleep with the three guys because that’s the whole point so we knew it was coming, but I don’t think it was written well. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry and because it was all so sudden, we didn’t get a chance to enjoy any of them as a character.
  • Plus, the set up for the hookups were so awkward. Harry straight up asked if she’d sleep with him, and when she said no, he said he was a virgin, sang a song, and next thing you know, they were in bed together. Bill basically did the same only they parted before anything could happen. When he shows up again, he’s an immediate rebound, and even then it’s weird because she was trying to hint that she wanted to sleep with him while saying she didn’t. And then with Sam, he helped her calm a horse and then she basically asked him to live with her on the island she JUST got to. All I’m saying here is I think all three relationships were poorly written and needed a lot more attraction and suaveness to make me believe.
  • I wish the grown versions of Harry, Bill, and Sam had a bigger role. Harry and Bill just kind of showed up at the end.
  • But it was so cute seeing Sophie and Sam together, dealing with their loss and looking forward.
  • Did anyone else find young Donna a little entitled? Like, she saw Bill with his boat and was like “take me where I need to go,” and there wasn’t really a sense of gratitude when he did.
  • That bit with Harry tying himself up was odd. I didn’t get it.
  • What did Sophie and Sky name their son? I need to know.
  • When Harry and Bill were doing that Titanic thing….my heart grew like four sizes.
  • I loved seeing Sophie be part of the Dynamos.
    Image result for mamma mia 2 sophie tanya
  • Small plot hole: didn’t Donna steal Harry’s guitar? Where was the Headbanger backstory?
  • The movie had some great dance numbers, but unfortunately, nothing can beat all the guys in bathing suits dancing in flippers during ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’
  • Where were Sophie’s friends during all this? Or that guy who was hitting in Tanya?
  • Was Mamma Mia 2 as good as Mamma Mia? No. Sequels rarely are, and in this specific case, it’d be impossible to match that level of pure iconicity served to us in 2008.
  • This sequel didn’t ruin the first movie, but it’s a fun addition to the story.
  • Honestly, leaving the theater satisfied and happy was priceless.
  • Go watch Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again but bring tissues and enjoy every cheesy, entertaining, musical second.

So those are most of my thoughts. A few more will almost definitely come to me later on (and maybe I’ll bother Twitter with those then), but the above sums up my movie-going experience and post-viewing thoughts. If you’ve seen the movie, please talk to me about it. If you haven’t, why did you read this post? Go watch it now.

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What Makes A Good Remake (Or Adaptation)?

In this age of remakes and reboots, it’s kind of interesting to see which ones fail and succeed and why. If they all failed, then I’d think Hollywood would let up on them, but we’re several years into this trend, and it shows no signs of stopping, so something must be going right.

I used to think it was just that a lot of these reboots and remakes invoked a sense of nostalgia in viewers, and while I think that’s still true, I’m now also seeing all these remakes and reboots and adaptations as a chance to improve on the content. At least I hope that’s what these creators are trying to do. I think it’s the key.

DJ Khalid saying "major key"

Take Legally Blonde, for example. Yes, the movie was amazing and iconic and unmatched, but the musical is really great too, and I think it’s for two reasons. One, amazing music, a key element of any musical. Two, they built up Emmett’s character so he had more of a role and therefore the relationship between him and Elle was “so much better” (hehe). They made the material stronger by going out of their way to improve on the characters. In the same way that just making a remake live-action doesn’t immediately make it better (eg. Cinderella in 2015) simply adding music isn’t always enough. Take the Elf musical. That was another amazing and iconic movie but nothing was changed in the musical, so I found it kind of boring. Sure some adaptations can thrive with little to no changes (the Waitress musical, for example) but personally, I find myself really looking for improvements when I consume remakes/reboots.

Right now, the remake of Jumanji is in theaters and making a killing at the BO. What was changed in this version? New characters are sucked into a video game rather than a board game. I personally haven’t seen this new version, but I like this idea as it’s more modern and understandable, and clearly this concept and the production value seems to be good enough. Another example of a significant and overall accepted improvement is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Taking Elizabeth Bennet’s story and opinions and presenting them through the personal vlog format is genius and modern. Pemberley Digital, for all their flaws, was on to something wonderful. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Fargo are other examples of remakes that succeeded because they took what was great about the original and improved upon them. They aren’t just straight  regurgitations of old stuff.

But then there’s the new Heathers TV show coming this spring, and it seems doomed. The Heathers movie isn’t a favourite of mine, nor is the musical (though the musical did have some dope songs and a slight added level of humour!), but as the internet is pointing out, putting minority characters in things doesn’t always improve it, especially not when it goes against the point of the story. There’ll apparently be a minority spin on the upcoming Party Of Five remake too, so we’ll have to see if that’ll fare better. At least that one makes sense. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the improvements and changes have to make sense and work with the material. Is something is better than nothing? Not always. Usually, but not always.

The Heathers casts from 2018 and the original movie

As more and more remakes and reboots and adaptations are announced (daily, it seems), I just hope that society eventually stops just accepting whatever is thrown at us. There’s an American Idol reboot coming to ABC this spring and I’m really hoping it’ll bring something new to the table that the Fox version did not. I’m hoping that the upcoming Mary Poppins movie surprises us. I’m hoping that if Hollywood is insisting on giving us all these reboots and remakes and adaptations that they’re done well and they use the chance to really entertain us.

What are your thoughts on the subject? What’s one remake/adaptation that you enjoyed or hated?

 

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Why The Animated Grinch Movie Is Better Than The Live-Action One

Sometimes when I do opinion posts like these I’m half joking or I’m willing to hear from the other side. But this is not like those times. If you don’t agree with me on this, please send me your address so I can come to your house and fight you.

So. The Grinch. Dr Seuss’s classic tale about grumpiness and the magic of Christmas. It’s a favourite of mine. The Grinch never scared me. Here’s a Grinch plush I got a kid. See how he’s all worn? That’s love.

a grinch plush doll

The book How The Grinch Stole Christmas was published in the 1957 and became a made-for-TV short in 1966. It’s twenty minutes long and you can definitely find it on TV this month or the Internet year-round. Though the animation is nothing compared to the hyperrealistic stuff we have now, it’s pretty good for its time and very colourful. The short is nothing special, really, but it’s perfect. A nice narrator recites the book and the characters (meaning the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who) give a few lines of dialogue, and in the middle there’s the iconic song ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’. It’s not too long so nothing drags on. The whole thing is fun and enjoyable without being cheesy or unnecessary.

But you know what is unnecessary? The live-action Grinch movie from 2000. A friend and I rewatched it a few weeks ago just to make sure my long-time hate for this movie stands, and it does. Jim Carrey is not my favourite actor by any means, but I will say that he plays this role mildly well, all things considered. It’s not his fault the writing was awful and consequently ruined every good aspect of the book and 1966 film. One thing that made the Grinch so interesting is that he was grinchy for no reason, and I loved that he could be a villainous character for no reason. He hated the Whos and he hated Christmas, but he learned the true meaning at the end. But the live-action movie had to stretch this to a full-length film and therefore gave us a bunch of unnecessary nonsense including but limited to a silly tragic backstory for the Grinch, Cindy being extra annoying and bothersome, the Whos being overdramatic and weird, and the Grinch trying to be too quirky and funny. The movie no longer is about the Grinch’s plan to steal Christmas, but Cindy’s weird desire to include the reclusive Grinch in the town’s festivities. All in all, the live-action movie and its extra layers ruined the simple and classic story that was perfectly given to mankind in the 1966 version. The live-action version is not funnier, it’s not cuter, it’s not more powerful, it’s not more enjoyable at all. The only thing I will say is that it has better music, but even that isn’t much of a selling point.

a gif of the live-action Grinch saying
My feelings on the live-action Grinch movie

Every year I see people on social media get exciting about watching this movie and I die a little inside because, like, have these people not seen the animated version? Or do they just prefer mediocrity? I sound harsh, but I’m just really passionate about the Grinch.

Which is why I am already in a rage about the new Grinch movie apparently coming next year. I mean, as much as I feel like the live-action part of the live-action movie contributed to its suckiness a little, that wasn’t the main fault. I think a character as weird as the Grinch fairs better animated, but not like this:

the poster for the 2018 Grinch movieCharacter design for the 2018 Grinch movie

The animation is tolerable, but the cuteness of the first image means we’re probably in for another tragic backstory, and since this, too, will be a full-length film, goodness knows they’ll have time for nonsense like that and more. This Grinch will apparently be voiced by Bartholomew Cucumber Benedict Cumberbatch. I’m not ready for another generation of kids thinking that any of these new Grinches can compete with the 1966 version.

Anyway, this concludes my Grinch rant. I hope I’ve inspired you to watch the 1966 version this holiday season, as it is superior and you will enjoy it. The end.

P.S. Did you know that in the 80’s, there was another animated made-for-TV Grinch short about Halloween? You can watch it here, but I’m warning you, it is the physical equivalent of the phrase “Thanks! I hate it!”

P.P.S. Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all of you!

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