Movie Review – Doctor Strange

Weird, weird, weird. Yes, in a film pointedly titled Strange, this is very bizarre stuff.

I haven’t seen the character in comic book media, but I imagine it took until our current technology to make all this mental scat look so good, so pretty, on film. Folding cities, broken mirror landscapes, characters running up and down against the laws of physics. This is stuff you’ve seen before, but it’s very cleanly done here. If you’re reminded fondly of The Matrix and Inception (and even Ant-Man’s foray into the quantum realm), then you won’t have trouble understanding the technology/sorcery of this movie.

Impressively, that isn’t the weird stuff.

What IS strange is the story. It is about protecting the psychic world, and that’s heady stuff. I wish it had been clever, though. It is still only about running around and fighting, ultimately…just with magical energy swords. I was hoping there would be a little more about your mind creating your reality, but nope.

So, here we go. Bennedict Cumberbatch channels Harrison Ford in a gruff American accent, weaving his Marvel origin tale from overbearing egoist to psychic world protector. Fine and good. But…why? I had to ask myself, with over two hours of world bending magical displays, why we needed to see this. Why be introduced to yet another Marvel heavyweight, when the MCU is already so cluttered? Why we needed a super strange reality that makes Asgard look tame, just when things are already so complicated, with an overloaded boat of new and old Avengers already on the scene?

In the final moments of the film, in a throwaway line, I got my answer. I’m sure you’ll see it, if you’ve been keeping up with the big Marvel arc. But I guess we can now get on with things.

Was it good? Cumberbatch tried his best to not make this silly, even in an outlandish outfit (I DID like his adorably helpful cape), with crazy-ass lines. The MCU now has actual sorcerers, yeah. Tilda Swinton did her fey thing and carried it off, for the most part. Chiwetel Ejiofor re-did his Operative gig from Serenity, and it was…okay. He’s usually so much better.

Mostly, somehow, it all felt very tired. Another origin story. Another reluctant hero called into service. And some really bizarre fight scenes that would have been thrilling if they didn’t go on, and on, and on….again and again and again. It’s like the movie was in love with its own magical conceit.

The mid-credits scene was very nicely done, quite straightforward and charming, and I wish the rest of the movie had been like that. I’m just tired of big effects and origins and new heroes, and diddling around with backstory. I’ll be old by the time the MCU gets everyone they want on board.

The comic book fans will probably be pleased with how Dr Strange performed. It WAS pretty.

Here’s my advice: you need to see this on the big screen, preferably in 3D, to appreciate the mind bending visual torrent. Don’t see this in a second run theater. If you have a really good television, wait for the DVD. But if you aren’t a huge fan of the MCU, or Beneditch Cumberbatch, you might want to skip this completely. I could tell you the relevance of the entire endeavor in one phrase (except I won’t, because that would be a spoiler).

Grade: C+

About the Peetimes: This movie is full of plot and character development, making it difficult to find decent Peetimes. I recommend the 2nd Peetime, because it’s mostly the beginning of an action scene, so you won’t miss anything important. 

Top Gun 2: Maverick — Tom Cruise Spotted Filming in San Diego

We haven’t lost that lovin’ feeling.

Not only has a street in Miramar — the naval base area in San Diego — been re-named “Top Gun Street” (I’ve seen it myself and hope to get you a photo soon), but sightings are being reported all over the city with Tom Cruise himself popping up. He’s been seen riding a motorcycle on our freeways. There’s a photo circulating online, with Cruise facing into the California sunset, iconic “Maverick” helmet in hand. Local bars are even starting to offer Top Gun based drink specials to San Diego patrons. Expect more jukeboxes to play the original Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” and karaoke nights picking up the song, as we get closer to the film release date that’s been pushed back to 2020.

Also to reprise their roles: Val Kilmer as Iceman, Goose’s (grown up) son, and probably a few surprise cameos. Release details are still kept mostly under wraps. Here’s what’s known now.

This is nice for us San Diego peeps, revitalizing the Miramar area economy. People  are getting revved up for the long-awaited sequel to Cruise’s seminal naval pilot story from almost 30 years ago. (Yikes, from 1986! The year I graduated high school…old much?)

At the denouement of the classic Top Gun film, Maverick didn’t win the hot-shot top spot, but his skill, valor, and stick-to-it-ness, plus a hard-won more-mature attitude, won him a coveted field instructor promotion at the elite naval air academy —  where the “best of the best” flyboys get an annual shot in training to become the number one dogfighting pilot in the nation. Expect the story to pick up with Cruise’s character teaching new, young idiots “living dangerously” in crazy dog fights against today’s bogies.

Maybe some females, like Battlestar Galactica‘s Starbuck (from the modern Ron Moore remake) will even be up for the top spots these days. Why not? I’d bet on this.

Excited yet? With the new A+ Mission Impossible: Fallen movie proving that Cruise is STILL the box office man to beat, expect the Top Gun sequel to excite, amuse, and maybe kick-start a new breed of younguns to strive for greatness.

Get that need for speed rewatching the amusing bar bet scene, including “That Lovin’ Feeling,” sung by Mav, Goose, and seemingly the entire flight school. 

Here’s the Top Gun Anthem tune, opening the iconic film:

Lastly, enjoy some “top” moments from the 1986 Top Gun:

I used the music from “The Top Gun Anthem,” plus “Highway to the Danger Zone” on the GoPro video documenting my own insanely fun plane jump in San Diego, to celebrate turning 50. I’m even inspired to write that up for you (link to follow soon). If you get the chance to jump from a plane and fly, DO IT! Nothing else is scary in life after you somersault out of a plane on purpose. Did it rock? In a word, YES. Would I do a HALO jump?…yeah, I would.

Damn, I forgot how great the entire soundtrack is from Top Gun. Sit back, play it, and let the memories wash over you. If you’re a Millennial, catch the 80s film right now. It really holds up. And Goose is one of the greatest characters ever. I will say no more.

Related on RunPee.com:

Mission Impossible: Fallout — Movie Review

Tom Cruise Does His Own Stratospheric, Low Opening Jumps for MI: Fallout

Tom Cruise Breaks Ankle Filming Mission Impossible, Keeps Filming

 

 

 

 

Movie Review – Peppermint

Peppermint was a tough film to grade. It doesn’t suck. But it’s also not that great. Ultimately, if you want to see it, I’d suggest waiting for the DVD, or a streaming option. It’s a ‘heart warming revenge tale’ along the lines of many stories we’ve seen in this genre before. The only thing making this different is the avenging angel is female.

I’ve never seen a movie before where I rooted for the protagonist to die. I know grief, and I wanted Riley’s grieving to end. It would make more sense for the narrative to end that way, and it’s kind of insane that a scrawny protagonist can go up against 20 or so burly bad guys at a time and survive. So…go with it. Apparently, it only takes five years to pick up the deadly skills required to take on a massive drug ring and prevail. I would have liked to see her learning these skills. We don’t.

There are decent moments in Peppermint, and a few genuine surprises here and there. That doesn’t make it good. Jennifer Garner gave it her all, even if she wasn’t really believable in the role. When someone like The Arnold does this, I buy it. Plus, he’s got great one-liners to prop up the narrative. Garner, well…a lot of luck plays into her survival, and it’s so consistently depressing that I mentally checked out a few times. Don’t expect much humor, or interesting/unusual set-pieces. Bang, bang, bang. That’s what we get here.

Ultimately, it’s yet another movie setting itself up for a possible franchise. I’m tired of seeing this happen. If a movie is a success, then GREAT! Make a sequel. But don’t put the horse before the cart at the very end of a ho-hum story, making viewers feel they spent their money to set up a series that may or may not happen. That’s cheating.

This film came out in the late summer doldrums, which goes to show the studios didn’t have much faith in the story. The longer I review films for RunPee, the more I see this kind of thing. Oh well. Next!

Movie grade: C

About the Peetimes:  Peppermint has a ton of shoot-up action, to the point that getting a quiet Peetime was almost impossible. I had to find Peetimes, though, so it really doesn’t matter which you choose — all have action moments. I’ve summarized what you will miss in the synopsis in each one, so pick whichever time you need to run and pee, based on your bladder.

 

Jurassic Park Ride Goes Extinct

I kind of cried a little on this ride. Yeah, GEEK here.

I got to return to the CA Universal’s Jurassic Park ride this summer, before it closed, not knowing it was on its way out. The ride, yes, felt old and needed refreshing (many of the dinosaurs weren’t moving anymore),  but it was still a joyous experience. I even wrote it up on RunPee. I guess I should mention that it’s officially closed now, and being updated as a Jurassic World ride. Due…2019?

It was a great ride when fresh and new. I was in my 20s when I got to try it, and it was a dream experience; just spectacular. So I got to try it both new and at the very, very end of its lifespan. The flume fall, in particular,  was…um…actually breathtaking, and it totally held up, decades later.  It was longer than anything else I’d experienced on a drop, and you really feel it — it’s like “Wait, we are still falling….?!” YIKES! Loved it.

I really did, though the ride seriously needed updating. Now I wonder where they will take the ride’s narrative: Isla Nublar is no more. (Did you see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? Um, spoiler, sorry.)

So, what now? Maybe the new ride will showcase Jurassic World as a functioning park at first, with happy herbivores surrounding the boat, and then take the ride through the volcanic eruption…ending up with Isla Nublar dying from the volcanic event…including the sad Brachiosaur moaning while the boat pulls away from the dock, engulfed in the pyroclastic explosion. That was the best moment of JW2. So sad: I kind of cried a little there.  🙁  Good storytelling. 

The big flume drop could be re-worked as the moment Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady & company plummet to the sea, escaping the cataclysmic events. That’s my prediction. It would ROCK. It would put us right in the tumultuous moment.  What say you? This could be a great upgrade, like how Disney’s  Pirates of the Caribbean included Captain Jack Sparrow in the “new” narrative.

Anyway. Here’s the USA Today article, announcing/updating the ride’s demise. People from all over lined up to experience’s the ride’s final moments. That’s a great testament to Steven Spielberg’s original movie, the best of the series. So long, Rexie.

Here’s the Ride Review article from earlier this summer: Jurassic Park Ride at Universal Studios

Also On RunPee.com: 

Jurassic Park – Movie Rewatch Review

Jurassic Park: The Lost World – Movie Rewatch Review

Jurassic Park 3 – Movie Rewatch Attempt Number One

The Jurassic Park Movies Poll

Jurassic World Movie Review

Jurassic World Movie References

Movie Review: Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom, Missed Opportunities

Everything Wrong With the Jurassic Movies (All the You Tube videos in one place)

Movie Rewatch Review – Jurassic Park III

Movie Review – Kin

Personally, I didn’t like this movie. I was expecting some sci-fi action and a futuristic dystopia…and what I got was a boring gangster film. Seriously, not my gig. I would have walked out if I didn’t have to cover it for RunPee. I’m actually mad at this film: it presented itself as a young-adult/sci-fi/dystopian film. Which it wasn’t. It was a street gang type movie with a futuristic gun in the mix.

It’s well made, so I’ll give it a B – for competence. But it seriously pissed me off; the only sci fi elements happened in the last five minutes — and the only reason we got that at all was clearly to set up a sequel. I don’t expect this sequel will ever happen, like many YA franchises that fizzled out.

What I can say is the actors really did give it a go: they were all in for the ride. The father, in particular, was extremely spot on for the character’s prickly yet loving (and perhaps borderline abusive) persona. This competency should be no surprise, as Dennis Quaid played the part.

A surprisingly amazing Zoe Kravits stole the show out from everyone in her role as Milly, the stripper girl. She made every scene of hers keenly watchable with her sympathetic and amusing character. This young actress is someone to watch as she matures into future roles. I know she plays a large part in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film, and I look forward to seeing how she handles her Slytherin role outside of the classrooms at Hogwarts.

Will this go on to become a franchise? I honestly don’t think so, even though the denouement of the film was devoted to setting up the next installment. I see almost all the YA dystopian films for RunPee, and very few of them will be the next Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or even Twilight. I count this one as a non-starter, along with so many others in this category. And because most of the film had nothing to do with science fiction or a dystopian future, it’s kind of a conundrum as to who this film is targeted toward.

Grade:  B-

About the Peetimes: Kin was an easy movie to get Peetimes for — there is a lot of downtime in between the hyper violent gangster scenes. I have 3 Peetimes for you, nicely spaced apart. I do recommend the first Peetime at 31 minutes, if you can manage your bladder for it.

Related on RunPee: 

Sad, Sorry YA Book Series That Never Completed Their Movie Franchises – Here’s a list of Young Adult series that will probably never see completion, for better or worse

Movie Review – The Darkest Minds – Yet another Young Adult Dystopian film that feels a lot like many others that came out of last decade’s love affair with young people who are either 1. the Chosen Ones or who have 2. Superpowers. 

18 Groundhog Day Type Movies – the ultimate list

“There is no way that this winter is ever going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don’t see any other way out. He’s got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.”

Groundhog Day is February 2nd in the US, and it’s a truly bizarre national holiday. The premise: a large rodent might/might not see its shadow, predicting when spring will or won’t come. How does one celebrate this, unless they live in Punxatawny, PA?

Punxatawny relates to the classic Bill Murray vehicle Groundhog Day, wherein his character (named Phil, just like the Groundhog) has to repeat Feb 2nd every day. EVERYDAY, for what might be thousands of years (pay attention to the film and ask yourself how long it would take to master his many skills).

Phil escapes the time loop only when certain conditions are met. We assume this, because it’s never stated why he finally moves on to the next day. However, the repeating day motif is not new to this movie, and in each instance, time repeats indefinitely until the protagonist finds a way out. The movie in question isn’t even the first film or TV show to feature this theme.

That makes it really fun each year. We at RunPee get to pick a rewatch of something with a distinct “Groundhog theme” every year in Feb. There’s an interesting lineage to view.

Let’s take a look at who has used this theme, in order by year: 

  1. Cause and Effect (TV ep, Star Trek, the Next Generation) 1992 — NOTE: Air date before Groundhog Day. Was this the first to do it? Here’s how it starts…right before the teaser ends we get this indelible image: Picard yelling for all hands to abandon the Enterprise. Then it explodes. And keeps on exploding. From there, the mystery never lets up on this superb storytelling.
  2. Groundhog Day — Feature Film — 1993 : When I Iived that year in the UK, this  first-run movie saved my sanity. For real. Long story.
  3. Been There, Done That (TV ep, Xena: Warrior Princess) 1997 : This show could do no wrong in my eyes during it’s 7-year run. It’s only natural that Xena’s version is funnier than EVERYTHING else on this list. Plus, we’ve got Romeo and Juliette being dorks,  a laundry list of reasons why Xena didn’t bite Gabrielle (lol), a name drop of Hercules (and Sinbad), and an adorable cameo by Karl Urban as Cupid. A top ten Xena ep anyone can enjoy.
  4. Run, Lola, Run — Feature Film —  1998
  5. Back and Back and Back to the Future (TV ep, Farscape) 1999: set in the mostly benighted season one of an otherwise stellar Sci-Fi show, Back and Back is notable for Crichton’s trying to change the timeline in small ways (breaking Zhan’s sacred mask on purpose, instead of letting time inevitably play out).
  6. Monday (TV ep, The X-Files) 1999: You don’t think there’s a mystery trope left examined in the X-Files 9 year run? Look again. Notable: a guest actor is at the center of the plot, with Mulder and Scully mostly in reaction mode…and it STILL works. A standout during a mostly experimental season.
  7. Life Serial (TV ep, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 2001 : In Buffy’s sixth season, “real life” was the scary big bad. Shudders! This episode was a needed dash of fun. The “Trio” are nerdy doofuses with too much power and no real direction. I love everything in this season, and this is a highlight.
  8. Deja vu All Over Again (TV ep, Charmed) 2008
  9. Mystery Spot (TV ep, Supernatural) — 2008
  10.  Source Code –Feature Film– 2011
  11. Edge of Tomorrow <— Our review –Feature Film — (Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt film) 2014 : Exciting, well-acted, and with a gripping jeopardy premise, Cruise and Blunt take what could have been a two-hour slog of repeating action into something believably exciting in a fresh take on an alien takeover plot. Highly Recommended! Every time they ‘”level up” you want to cheer!
  12. Looper — Feature Film — 2012:- In a future where time travel is a thing, not everyone has the best intentions!
  13. Hell is Other People  (The Vampire Diaries) — 2016
  14. Before I Fall — Feature Film — 2017: Another mystery that must be solved before time moves on.
  15. Happy Death Day — Feature Film — 2017: Imagine relieving your death, over and over? Want to try? Neither do we.
  16. Hot Mess Time Machine (TV ep, The Mindy Project) — 2017
  17. Naked — (Netflicks show) — 2017 – YAY! A new one to check out!
  18. Dr. Strange — Feature Film — 2017: I don’t know if this should be included, so I’ll toss it up and let you decide. At the end of the film, Strange wears down his enemy using an infinite time loop of destruction. He could stop it at any point, so it’s not like the other plots. Does this count?

 At RunPee HQ we’ve been steadily collecting movies and TV episodes with Groundhog themes, and make a point to choose at least one each year to rewatch on Groundhog Day. I mean, hey: what else are you going to do to as a family to celebrate how vermin might predict spring?

So, did we miss something? We’re always looking to add new shows to celebrate on this obscure, yet infinitely geeky holiday. I’m sure this fascinating well of plots hasn’t dried out just yet. The recent and finely wrought Edge of Tomorrow indicates there are still ideas to be mined.

Why Vision Could Lift Thor’s Hammer

Thor, I think you dropped this.

While Thor’s hammer is now crushed, there are still some unanswered questions about who could lift it and why, and who is considered “worthy.” What is worthy, exactly? And why could an an artificial being like The Vision lift it so effortlessly?

Of course, there are the meta answers: the production team decided it would be a funny payoff to the Avengers: Age of Ultron “party game” where our heroes all gave it a whack. As Dan (owner of RunPee) states, “I don’t think there’s a ‘reason’ Vision can lift the hammer. It’s just there for drama, and perfectly set up by Joss.”

Well, yeah, Joss Whedon produced Age of Ultron, and he’s known for both witty banter and developing a satisfying payoff to amusing set-ups. So it could just be that Joss found it funny (which it is, no question). But he’s also a certified geek, like we are at RunPee. So a purely production-oriented  answer isn’t enough for us. Surely Joss thought this out completely and has an in-universe reason. (For the sake of this discussion, I’m not indulging in comic book storylines about Mjölnir.)

In a previous article, I mentioned who was able to lift Mjölnir, and offered some ideas why Vision had no issues.

However, with someone as “pure” as Captain America not lifting the hammer (although he made it jiggle slightly), and someone as genocidal as Hela holding/crushing it so casually, I have to wonder what ‘worthiness’ entails, and if that term even makes sense from a human standpoint. Maybe Asguardian worthiness is something very unique and specific…although in the first Thor movie, Odin made the concept  sound just like what we would expect it to mean.

So, if Cap can’t lift the hammer, and Hela can, then where does Vision fall into this part of the narrative?

It’s possible that Vision, being an android and essentially a brand-new person, was like Data from Star Trek: a being of intensely curious intelligence, great innocence,  and no personality flaws. That could well be seen as worthy. But it’s more likely the hammer, essentially being ‘magic’ and non-tech, didn’t recognize Vision as a person. The tool was never hinted to be sentient, so how would it even know the android was alive? It would more likely automatically pick up on a person’s soul/aura/katra/whatever. I’m positing Vision didn’t have a soul/etc, although in the MCU anything can happen. Plus there was an Infinity Stone at play, which makes its own rules. (I’m painting myself into corners here, I know.)

Which leads to wondering about non-living elements and their relationship with Thor’s deceased hammer. Can other things, like an elevator, airplane, helicarrier, or even a car, be able to move it? If Thor traveled in a plane and put the hammer down, would the hammer punch through to the ground, possibly pinning the plane under it? Am I over-thinking this?

I’d have to rewatch all the scenes where Thor is traveling (or in an elevator) and see if he ever put the hammer down. I imagine if the hammer can’t be moved mechanically, that Thor would have to have the weapon somewhere on his person at all times. The writers probably didn’t stress themselves too greatly over this matter, but bear with me. If indeed Thor isn’t carrying the hammer in every scene on the helicarrier, for example, then maybe tech can lift it (although Iron Man AND War Machine, working together, could not use their suits to move it, nor could Stan Lee get it to budge with his truck in New Mexico — maybe ignore those moments for now).

If the hammer can be moved/lifted by such non-living things as vehicles, then it would follow that Vision should have no problem with it. It’s hard to say what a satisfying answer would be. That probably depends on whether cold, rational logic applies in the MCU, and how big a fan one is of The Vision as a heroic character.

Too bad we didn’t see Ultron try to lift Mjölnir, for comparison. I’m going to say this: Hela handling the hammer makes this all really problematic. While I adored Thor: Ragnarok, Hela’s ability threw the entire worthiness concept out the window for the sake of an admittedly very cool image.

I am definitely over-thinking this.  🙂

Read More, On RunPee: 

Marvel Characters Who Lifted Thor’s Hammer

How Tony Stark Gets Off Titan After Infinity War

The 5 Movies You Must Watch Before Avengers Infinity War

 

Star Wars A New Hope – Symphony & Movie

The Force is with them.

This week I was treated to an outdoor, live symphony in San Diego (at the Embarcadero Marina Park South, August 18, 2018) playing to a large screen-film showing of Star Wars: A New Hope.  To say it was spellbinding would be an understatement.

I haven’t seen A New Hope (just called Star Wars, back in the day) on the large screen since the original trilogy’s Special Editions came out in 1997. With the San Diego Symphony Bayside Nights offering monstrous screen outdoor movies set to a live orchestral soundtrack, people have started  flocking to these events in droves. It was as packed last night as it was to their Harry Potter versions last year. And the Star Wars audience was surprisingly into the spirit of the story.

Where did you dig UP this old fossil?

While the audience wasn’t dressed in costume like the Harry Potter symphony goers were ( I was one of the attendees in Hogwarts robes), it was clear people were more-than-normally excited. People laughed at almost every line C-3P0 said, applauded when Han Solo first appeared, shouted AWWWW when Porkins died,  cheered as the Death Star blew up, and gave a standing ovation after the rousing credit themes finished. Besides all the clapping, hooting, cheering, and laughing around me, one nearby attendee amused audiences during the Intermission by roaring like Chewbacca. He was quite good. I can’t even come close.  🙂

Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. (From a certain point of view.)

It’s hard to describe how amazing it is to watch a beloved movie set to live music. When I could tear my eyes from the screen, I was impressed to see how many string instruments Williams’ score used. He was also heavy on the brass, and light on percussion…although when drums or other percussive instruments were used, they were to magical effect. Nothing sweeps you right along like the Star Wars theme.

After the orchestra members took a bow, it was a matter of inching through the cattle-like foot gates, and waiting an hour to exit the car from the Downtown Hilton parking garage, during which my enthusiasm waned a bit (I recommend Uber for things like this). But John Williams’ iconic score still resounded in my brain. I considered what other movies could inspire enough audiences take the jump from ignoring a “boring” orchestral event, to packing the outdoor grandstand seats and champagne lawn tables for fine arts versions of pop culture immersion.

The Harry Potter movies are a clear success in this format, with eight movies, plus the new Fantastic Beasts versions to choose from. And I suspect they can give it a go for the lineup of other Star Wars films. Other movie franchises with powerfully memorable scores include Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Superman, ET, and possibly Close Encounters. If I’m leaning heavily on John Williams films, that should be no kind of symphonic surprise. But there are certainly other composers lending themselves to this kind of treatment. Think about The Lord of the Rings saga or Titanic. If there are other movie franchises whose tune you can easily identify offhand, that’s a place to start. And if said movie comes with a fanatical following, well, there you go.

I’m excited for the next time I can hit the symphony for a fabulous science fiction or fantasy film super-experience. It will have to be an annual event!

As a re-watch, of course I give Star Wars an A+, film-wise. Seeing it on the large screen with a superb live orchestra takes the film to new heights. If there was a super-grade above A+ for the live musical option, I’d give it.

Great seats. The Force was clearly with me that night!

 

About the Peetimes:

I didn’t even need to use my Peetimes; the event included an intermission. However, since everyone else in the audience used this intermission as well, clogging up the toilet lines, I should have checked the app anyway. We do have Peetimes for A New Hope listed in the RunPee app, even though RunPee didn’t remotely exist yet, as a sort of retro-cool flashback feature. For fun, you can scroll through the movies on the RunPee app, and peek at what we did.

 

How The Avengers Get Off Titan After Infinity War

Oh, Snap!

Be it known — spoilers ahead for Infinity War and Ant Man & the Wasp. 

If you’re up to date with the 20 current Avengers-universe movies, you might recall there are some heroes left behind on Thanos’ home world of Titan, presumably stranded. How will those “left behind” by the dusting get reunited with Earth and the other Avengers?

First, consider who survived The Snap on Titan, and what their options/powers/spaceships are. We have Iron Man, a full Avenger, with a ruined suit and seemingly out of nanobots. Also Nebula lived, who may or may not be considered a Guardian of the Galaxy (and the only other survivor of their group besides Rocket), but crucially, can pilot spaceships.

Considered dead on Titan: Dr. Strange, Star Lord, Drax, Mantis, and — most heartbreakingly — Spider-Man.

For one thing, we don’t know yet how The Snap will be undone (although we assume it will be, for many reasons), or when. If time re-setting is involved, things could pick up moments after said snap, bringing everyone back quickly. Then it might be a matter of hopping on Star Lord’s new ship, the Benatar, and sailing back to Earth.  It could be just that easy, but the next Spiderman movie is confirmed to be titled Far From Home, which might showcase Peter Parker stranded on Titan for at least some of his second solo film. Which would seriously be poignant and exciting.

If our missing heroes heroes don’t get resurrected right away, then only Stark and Nebula remain on Titan. Do they know where The Benatar (Star-Lord’s ship) is parked? Can either of them fly it? Was it damaged by Thanos during the attack? We’ve seen Nebula pilot other ships, and Stark is a tech genius, so this solution is probably too easy — just build something and fly to where-ever the Avengers re-group.(Guesses: Wakanda, Wong’s NYC Santum Santorium, or the Avengers  compound, all on Earth, the only planet that makes sense post-snap. Or, hey, they could convene on the  X-Men campus, since X-Men is officially a Disney property now.)  However, I’m betting the Benatar won’t be flyable. And we saw that Nebula wrecked her ship, attacking Thanos. So, all easy options are probably moot.

Which simply means the narrative will have to be creative in getting Iron Man home. Tony and Nebula marooned on Titan is an interesting development, and the MCU movie schedule gives fans time to make theories. Such as:

Who can bring Stark and Nebula back from Titan? 

  1. Posit that Dr. Strange travels through time after he returns, and sends everyone back to the last time they had a working ship. Or to anywhen, say the battle of New York. He’s the only one who knows the end game, the only right choice in 14 million futures. Alternatively, Wong is available for these services, in NYC — if Wong survived the Infinity War.
  2. Or someone like Ant Man (maybe with Bill Foster and Ghost) travels through Time Vortices in the Quantum Realm, and manipulates the time/space continuum — POOF; all fixed.
  3. Captain Marvel, who is said to be the most powerful Avenger by endless internet sources, will take care of it in her movie, in March 2019. I’m actively avoiding internet spoilers, but this seems to be a well-known point. Clearly, Nick Fury placed all his stock in that belief, in the very end.
  4. Thor will travel to Titan via Stormbreaker and the Bifrost, and bring them back.
  5. Rocket will use his space pod to see who is left on Titan, once he figures out where the rest of the Guardians went. The Guardians, and Thor, are his only friends, so he might be motivated to find out who made it out alive.
  6. Pepper Potts will use Tony’s Tech to track him, don one of Stark’s suits (she’s done it before), and find someone to take a ship (or the Bifrost) to Titan and retrieve him. And we know Potts and Happy will be motivated to get Tony back. Maybe she can team up with War Machine, find something from Tony’s workshop full of tech, and make a plan.
  7. Tony and Nebula rescue themselves by building a ship from the parts all around Titan, or repair Nebula’s small ship/the Benatar.
  8. Or our remaining heroes will get an Infinity Stone from the broken Gauntlet, and use it to manipulate space, reality, or time.
  9. The Ravagers, lead by Kraglin, head to Titan. (Maybe he also got Nebula’s message on where the Guardians were going.)
  10. Valkyrie, with Korg, mount a spaceship rescue. We know they weren’t on the Asguardian ship when Thanos arrived. So, if they survived The Snap, they should show up somewhere.

How will anyone know where Stark is? Two real ways exist to get this info:

  1. Tech — Someone will find a way to track Iron Man’s trajectory/ location. Surely there is a Vibranium answer in Wakanda for this. Or the nanobytes from Stark Industries. Or a Pym Particle from the Quantum Realm. There’s lot of high-tech MacGuffins in the MCU.
  2. Magic — Through mediation and astral travels, Wong will find Tony, create a portal, and bring him back. As far as I know, only the Dr. Strange allies use magic. Although if the Asguardians are gods, this might be an avenue for magic too, for whomever is left.

So…there are really two options, ultimately: magic or tech. Either a lot of the next Avengers film will be about a rescue attempt, or things will be resolved quickly, easily, and possibly off-screen. I’d like to see Avengers 4 devote some time to finding and rescuing Stark, but with literally dozens of characters needing facetime in one movie, it’s likely this cliffhanger will be a simple fix.

There just isn’t a lot of time to track down who and what is left in the universe in two hours and still provide a good story. We also have to retrieve Scott Lang (Ant Man) from the Quantum Realm, which necessitates another rescue operation. (We discussed possible ways Ant Man will return here.)


Read:

Who Survived the Infinity War

The Five Movies You Must See To Understand Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers Characters Who Can Lift Thor’s Hammer

Why Ant Man and the Quantum Realm are Necessary for Avengers 4

Star Trek Movies Lose Both Chrises

He's dead. Jim.
Chris Pine, boldly going.

Paramount’s rebooted Star Trek movie franchise has a Chris Crisis. Or maybe we should call this A Tale of Two Chrises. 

As of this week, the current Trek feature films lost both of their actors named Chris — as in Pine (James T. Kirk) and Hemsworth (James T. Kirk’s late father George).  Both men reportedly walked after a breakdown in salary negotiations.

While the Kelvin Timeline can probably get by without Chris Hemworth’s contribution (Papa Kirk died in the teaser to the first rebooted film), it’s hard to imagine new Trek without Pine as Jim. It seems too early in the series, with only three prior flicks, to recast or totally remove the famous Captain Kirk role.

The upcoming 4th film was supposed to be about the Kirk family father and son dynamic (possibly through flashbacks, multiple universes, or time-travel).

The world also lost Anton Yelchin — the new Pavel Chekov — after the 3rd Trek film, in 2016 when the actor sadly died. This still leaves a robust supporting cast, but no Captain. What to do? Stop the new series entirely? Reimagine the character lineup with Spock as the new Captain? Hire a new actor to play Jim Kirk?

We’re looking at a science fiction universe full of canonized fantastical events, so the universe knows no bounds in explaining away anything unusual, story-wise.

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Here are five easy ideas to keep the Enterprise flying:

  1. Shelve the upcoming storyline for Film 4, and find a way to re-hire both actors for the subsequent 5th film, utilizing said father-son plot. Make current 4th movie a small story about something non-Kirky, and explain his absence by saying he’s on a Federation mission, elsewhere in deep space.
  2. Suck it up and hire a new actor for the role. It won’t be any worse than suddenly having a new Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, or switching out The Oracle in The Matrix Trilogy.
  3. Promote Zachary Quinto’s Spock to Captain and focus on the remaining  ensemble, rather than making these movies the Kirk & Spock Show. They’ve got some good actors in Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Zoe Saldana: they should use them.
  4. Try jumping in time a bit to tell stories of Captain Sulu on the USS Excelsior, which is known as a definite thing in the Prime Timeline, and could sustain all kinds of narratives. Bring along any of the current cast who are game for a new role on the new ship.
  5. Skip a generation completely by recasting/rebooting one of the “modern Treks” like The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, or Voyager. With the recently  announced CBS television Trek showcase for Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, there might be renewed interest in a fresh young ensemble, set in the 24th century.

It can’t happen, since Pine is a current actor in the DC Extended Universe (attached to Wonder Woman), but I’d love it if Hemsworth told Pine not to stress about pay talks for Star Trek, because he could just leapfrog over to the Marvel world.  It’s not possible because actors apparently can’t be both DCEU and MCU cast members, but it would be just darn cool for Marvel to “own” all four superhero Chrises:  Hemsworth, Evans, Pratt, and now Pine.

Sir Patrick Stewart Back as the Beloved Jean-Luc Picard in New Star Trek