Friday 26 April 2019

Avengers: Endgame (Movie Review)

When the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) launched with Iron Man back in 2008, no one could have predicted the grand scope and ambition of its 22-movie narrative, a story arc that has recently come to be known as the Infinity Saga. Over the years, we've had several great movies that fed into that overall narrative, movies like Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, and Doctor Strange. Avengers: Endgame is a celebration of all those movies, and a stunning reminder of just how unprecedented an achievement the whole endeavor has turned out to be.

In case you've been living under a rock for the past one year, Earth's mightiest heroes suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Thanos at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, a defeat that resulted in the loss of exactly one half of all the people in the world and universe at large. I think we are well past the point of considering that fact a spoiler, and if for whatever reason you hadn't seen or heard about Infinity War's ending prior to now, then I have to ask, "Why are you even here?"

Avengers: Endgame therefore serves as the aftermath of the Decimation, the official term for the universe-spanning disappearance of half of all life. But to talk about any aspect of that aftermath would be to ruin its impact when you do get to see it for yourself, so I won't be divulging any specific plot details in this review. I mean, chances are you've already made up your mind to see the movie. And if you haven't, this is me saying that you have to, simply because no other film has come close to realizing what the Russo Brothers have been able to with this one.

I'd ended my Avengers: Infinity War review by saying, "we may never get to experience this level of anticipation and excitement again (at least until the second part comes out next year)." Well, it turns out I was right, because not only does Endgame match the level of anticipation that surrounded the arrival of Infinity War, it shattered our level of excitement as well. I'd never heard a crowd scream so loud and for so long during a movie, and I highly doubt if I ever would, ever again. It's hard to imagine any other film delivering on such a visceral and emotional level like Avengers: Endgame manages to do. It was fan service at its finest, and a firm reminder of why we'd all invested all the time we had with these characters over the past 11 years.

I've seen every MCU movie since Avengers: Age of Ultron at the cinema, and Avengers: Endgame is the first one that I actually feel compelled to go back and watch multiple times. It deserves to be experienced in all available formats. I'd settled for a standard 2D midnight screening, but I can totally see myself going back to see this in IMAX, 3D and even 4DX. But whatever format you eventually decide to settle upon doesn't change the fact that this is a must-see movie, so go out and see it you must.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 2 (Spoilercast)

The highly-anticipated Battle of Winterfell is almost upon us, and I am once again joined by Prince from The Drunk Pen as we discuss the highs and lows of what was essentially another episode of buildup to next week's epic confrontation. You can listen to our thoughts on the episode and the battle to come below, or head over to SoundCloud where you can also join in on the conservation by leaving a comment in the comments section.

Friday 19 April 2019

Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 1 (Spoilercast)

Game of Thrones is arguably the biggest TV show in the history of television, and it returned to TV screens and streaming devices all over the world earlier this week for its eighth and final season. The anticipation leading up to this season was huge, so it comes as no surprise that the first episode would break records. I mean, it's been close to two years since the last season and winter is finally here.

As fate would have it, I'd been thinking of starting a podcast for quite some time now, but never really felt I had everything I needed to make sure it was produced at the level where I felt it needed to be. But I've thrown all caution to the wind, and channeled my love for Game of Thrones to bring that dream to fruition.

Below is a link to the first episode of our as-yet-untitled film and TV discussion podcast, where we hope to share our thoughts on the latest films and TV shows.

For this episode, I'd sat down with Prince from The Drunk Pen; you should totally check out his review of the Season 8 premiere as it offers a nice recap of the entire episode. The current plan is for us to have a new episode of our Game of Thrones discussions uploaded to SoundCloud every week, sometime after the new episode airs. And this will continue until the series finale comes along. Thereafter? Who knows. But watch this space all the same.

This is all new for us like I said, so feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section below or over at SoundCloud. And of course, if you happen to dig it, do not hesitate to give us a like and share with your friends.

Saturday 6 April 2019

Shazam! (Movie Review)

The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) continues its ongoing winning streak with Shazam!, the seventh film in its shared universe of movies based on DC Comics superheroes. Directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation), the movie serves as further proof that comic book adaptations do not always need to attempt to be anything more than standard popcorn fare, as it sheds all traces of the dark and somber tone that plagued earlier DCEU entries. 

Separated from his mother at a young age, 15-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) has spent most of his childhood bouncing from one foster home to another. He is eventually taken in by the Vasquezs, a couple that is already raising a family of 5 foster kids. This includes Freddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), a paraplegic boy who tries to befriend Billy. Except Billy isn't ready to accept the new family as his own, holding on to the belief that he might still be reunited with his real mother someday.

Billy is forced to stand up for Freddie one day, fighting off a pair of bullies before being pursued by them into a nearby subway. He manages to escape via one of its trains, but he is transported to a magical underground chamber called the Rock of Eternity, where he meets the wizard, Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). The wizard informs him that he has been chosen as champion due to the purity of his heart, and subsequently grants him superpowers which transform him to an adult version of himself (Zachery Levi).

Following his transformation into the titular superhero, Billy and Freddie do what any pair of teenage boys would do in that situation: they go to a supermarket and buy some booze. And it is from this point onward that the movie truly excels, as the boys proceed to test and document the full extent of Billy's powers, to increasingly comical results. But the boys soon find out that it isn't all fun and games when Billy is challenged by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), a man that was also granted superpowers by magical forces and now wants Billy's for himself.

Watching Shazam!, it is almost hard to believe that the movie exists in the same shared universe as Batman v. Superman. But unlike those earlier movies in the DCEU, the film is not burdened by the task of building a shared universe for these characters to inhabit, and presenting that universe through the lens of a singular vision. This allows it to fully embrace what made comic books such great fodder for kids and geeks in the first place. It serves up the laughs and playful spectacle in equal measure, resulting in what is hands down the DCEU's most fun movie till date.