Monthly Archives: April 2019

Saving the Best for Last

After more than ten years and twenty-one movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe reached a capstone with the release of Avengers: Endgame. While many movie franchises have met with varying levels of success over the years, none have been as successful as the MCU. Warner Bros. misstep with the Justice League is a perfect example. Even the 007 series pales by comparison to the storytelling and cinematics exhibited in the Marvel series of movies. Avengers: Endgame is a perfect knot tying together all the threads that had been woven by the preceding films. It is not to be missed.endgame

When last we saw our intrepid heroes, they were licking their wounds from their ignominious defeat at the hands of galactic bad guy Thanos, played by Josh Brolin. The dedicated viewer will remember that at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos had reduced half of all life in the universe to dust, including some of our favorite heroes. Endgame starts by showing us how that snap of the fingers affected the one avenger that did not take part in the Infinity War, Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner. We then get caught up on how life has marched on for the survivors, including newcomer, Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson. Under the direction of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the surviving Avengers try to figure out a way to reverse the disaster but are unable to do so.

Meanwhile, in another Galaxy, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.) are drifting lost in space in a damaged ship without power. Just as things look bleakest for the pair, fortune smiles on them.

Meanwhile, in another dimension, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) drifts without direction in the tendrils of the Quantum Realm until a bizarre happenstance returns him to our dimension, where he finds himself alone and unaware of what happened in his absence.

Meanwhile, in another part of the Earth, Thor is dealing with his failure in typical Asgardian fashion.

Meanwhile…well, you get the idea.

There are a lot of plotlines going into this movie, and the filmmakers do their level best to stitch them all together into a cohesive continuity. They succeed. The pacing is just right to allow for proper character and plot development and the cuts are just enough to keep the viewers interest without leaving them confused by the many plotlines. This is no easy feat and was only achieved by the film’s 3-hour runtime.

Yes. That’s THREE HOURS.

It seems unlikely they film makers could have delivered a story that was as satisfying in less time. While some might say the film drags in some places, it is a nice respite from the insane level of action that is going on the rest of the time.

Avengers: Endgame is a perfect capstone for the franchise. The viewer will leave this film satisfied that, if they never made another MCU movie, it would be okay. This story is finished. Anything that follows this movie is a whole different story. Endgame will be met with gasps, laughs, tears, and cheers, plus one scene that leaves the entire theater in utter stunned silence. The typical Marvel humor is sprinkled liberally throughout the script and the performances are spot-on consistent with the characters that have become beloved by fans. Of course, the special effects are top notch, even the Hulk’s effects, while new, are quite realistic.

If there were a downside, it is that some of the characters don’t get as much screen time as might be preferred. But given that it took three hours to give them that much, any more would require breaking Endgame into two separate films. That would not have been as satisfying. That said, every character that has been introduced in the MCU in any film seems to make an appearance in this movie, even if it is just a few seconds of screen time. Still, any more and it might have been too much. No, Avengers: Endgame is just fine the way it is. Go see it.

 

 

 

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That New Car Smell

As happens with cars, my Mustang is in the shop right now.  At three years old, she has performed well with only a few minor glitches over the years.  The puddle lamps had to be replaced in the first month, the Sync module had to be replaced in the first year, and this year the hood needed a paint job to correct a factory defect.  Even with all that, the car has performed very well for me.  I remember when she was brand new, she had that “new car smell” that makes driving a new car a complete sensory experience.  Now, three years down the road, that smell has faded amid all the fast food, sweat, washings, vacuumings, and other daily minutia.  I am pretty meticulous about maintenance, so I get the regular oil changes and rotate the tires when needed.  Even with all that, Sally developed a rattle last month that was bothering me, so I took her in to the shop to have her checked out.  It was worrisome because the factory warranty has expired and I did not opt for the extended warranty, despite the repeated pleadings of the robo-callers.

Fortunately, the problem is covered and is being repaired.  Something about the tie-rods needing to be replaced.  When I first took her in, the attendant said the mechanic needed to work on it wasn’t working that day and that I should bring it in during the week.  I have to work during the week, and being a new employee, I didn’t want to take time off work to do it.  She scheduled an appointment to bring it in on a Saturday.  Great!

The day of the appointment, it was raining, so when I showed up, the service manager said they couldn’t diagnose it in the rain and I would have to leave it.  Fortunately, they said I could have a loaner.  Great!

They put me in a white 2019 Ford Escape.  I had owned an Escape before back when it still looked like an SUV, and this one looks more like a crossover.  Not my favorite style.  This Escape is a base model; no bells or whistles.  Four-cylinder with no satellite radio, no back up sensors, no sun roof, no navigation, and no automatic temperature control; all the things I love about Sally.  But when I got in, it had one thing.  It had that one quality that gives even undesirable cars a certain appeal.  Every time I get in, I take a deep breath of it and let it fill my nose with that new car smell.  So, while I have been driving a car I wouldn’t buy, I have enjoyed getting to experience that new car feeling while Sally is being fixed.

It is amazing how you get used to the features of a car that you don’t even realise until you don’t have them anymore.  I almost backed into a car in a parking lot because I was waiting for the back up sensors to beep.  I almost froze on the way to work because the car didn’t automatically adjust the environmental controls for the temperature.  I got stuck in traffic because there was no navigation telling me about an accident ahead on the freeway.  But even with these shortcomings, I am enjoying driving the loaner.  You just can’t beat that new car smell.  If only there was a way for older cars to get it back.

 

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