Spoiler-iffic Review of Terminator – Dark Fate

Please don’t read this review if you haven’t seen Terminator: Dark Fate yet. You’ve now been warned.

So, I did a story where I neatly ranked every Terminator film from 1984 through 2015, and they slot themselves perfectly by year. As in the first being the best, T2 coming close on its heels…and then each one a little (or a lot) less good than the one before.

Now I have a big decision to make. Where does T6: Dark Fate (“no dark fate but what we make”) fit in? And what about that short-lived but underappreciated two season TV show, The Sarah Connor Chronicles? Now I have to rethink the whole thing. Way to mess up my ranking order, Hollywood.

Talking Dark Fate

Man, the fans loved it. Whoo-ee! Me, I like some things they did and am pissed off about the rest.

LIKED: Grace the augmented human was wonderful. She stole the movie and our hearts. Too bad this was a re-tread of the plot in Terminator: Salvation. I’ll return to this thought.

ALSO LIKED: Carl the Drapery Terminator. What does an out of work T-800 do? T2 established they can’t self-terminate. So once he fulfills his mission, the cyborg creates a family and a business, and sends encrypted messages to former nemesis Sarah. Why does he bother? He must have felt bad about things and joined the human race. Like Spike in the Buffy series, he grew his own conscience. I’m fine with this — actually, more than fine….really happy, actually. I never expected this plot pivot and find it super charming.

Arnold nailed it. The writers did good. This is a very neat turn of events, and we at RunPee would gladly watch a prequel TV show about T-Carl’s Drapery Business. Who wouldn’t?

Terminator Dark Fate - Carl
#ThereAreNoDrapesButWhatWeMake

Where Dark Fate Failed

So, yes, Mackenzie Davis as Grace was the main reason this film is so good. But having JUST watched the entire series for my ranking post, I’m annoyed that Grace, the augmented human-Terminator hybrid, is a retread of the Sam Worthington plot in T4: Salvation. T4 actually picks up quite well where T3: Rise of the Machines leaves off, with a pregnant Kate and the other remnants of humanity eeking out a post-Judgement Day life. I’m not sure why we had to have another go at an “augmented human” plot.

All I can think is Linda Hamilton wanted to return before her T-3 cannon “death” and the producers felt a soft reboot was the way to go…and — bonus — liked the idea they ran with in Salvation. So, a soft sort of re-telling had to happen to bring back Sarah. (And if you saw Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, you’d see another way to side-step this pesky issue, using time travel to just skip right over the…um…cancer.)

But, as I mentioned above, we are dealing with TIME TRAVEL in this franchise. There could have been many ways to bring Sarah back without ditching the storylines in T3 and 4. (Forget 5. That was entirely unnecessary). We could have also added Grace without ditching the 1-4 film cannon.

Although…I’m not certain at this point what’s considered cannon in this franchise anymore, or if we are to accept three or more timelines.

(REALLY,  STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN  TERMINATOR: DARK FATE.)

Hasta La Vista, John Connor?

So, there’s my main beef. John Connor. Remember him? Well, forget about everything that mattered since 1991, because he’s unceremoniously offed in the first few minutes of Dark Fate.

That’s right. John’s gone. Out of nowhere, on a lovely beach. Poof.

What was the point of making me care about everything that came before? (Yes — I’m angry.)

I guess it’s better than where they took John Connor in 2015s  T: Genisys, which insulted everything ever done before and pissed all over the fanbase…seriously, who though that was a fine idea? Does anyone even remember what happened in Genisys, even just a scant few years ago?

More Pissy Thoughts

Lastly, I was rather bored by the new, spiffy Terminator in this outing, which was a real shame, in spite of Gabriel Luna’s earnest attempts to make it work. He just wasn’t as amusing as Robert Patrick’s T-1000. The Rev-9 was…made of tar? And had a skeletal drone? Was that really the best the writers could come up with over the last decade of thinking about this?

This just should have been better and more up to date, like something using nanotechnology. Or a pure internet-based intelligence that hunts and kills using our world-spanning interconnected cyber systems, tracking you like the “God’s Eye” in the Fast & Furious franchise. (If the F&F movies could come up with something more exciting, you know there’s trouble.)

Think about it. The liquid metal special effects looked better in 1991 than the the tar special effects in 2019.

Moving on.

Dark Fate: Girl Power Version

So, some gal in Mexico steps up as the new savior. Okay. Fine already. She’s not a womb; she’s the real deal. At least the real deal-to-be.

Except Dani’s kind of boring. I can’t remember a single significant moment she had. Do you?

sarah-connor-young-linda-hamilton
Come with her if you want to live.

Sarah Connor…is back

And the long awaited return of Sarah? Of Linda Hamilton reprising the iconic role?

Well, for one thing, she needs to lay off the cigarettes, since her vocal cords are shot. And she’s really, REALLY bitter. Not that I wouldn’t be too, after running away from several Terminators, losing her lover, losing her son, getting locked down in a facility for the criminally insane, and being wanted —  apparently — in all 50 states.

Hamilton does a great job in the role, fitting easily back into her Sarah Connor persona, but it kind of hurt to see how awful life treated her character, and how little she had left to live for. She is brittle, and so, so damaged. It’s got to suck when an ex-Terminator who killed your son has a nice home, a good job and loving family, and you’re alone and on the run…with nothing but hardship and a lifetime of regrets. While the Terminator franchise depicts an apocalyptic near-future and isn’t intended to be a happy story, it’s just not fun to see characters you care about living in such pain for so long. No wonder Sarah drinks herself to sleep every night.

At least she was up to date enough on her film history to realize the first “death” of the Rev-9 was bogus. That made me smile. Linda Hamilton wasn’t married to James Cameron for nothing.

I’m going to go back to the John thing. I understand it’s cool to see a woman herself being the hope of humanity vs a just another Mother Mary, but there really was no need to off poor John. It actually makes me angry that I cared about the series at all. It retroactively makes the first two wonderful Terminator movies pointless.

So, I had to see Dark Fate again

I saw Dark Fate twice to see if I’m just being too picky about all this. Well…the answer is no. I’m not. Right now I feel betrayed, like I did with Aliens 3, when they unceremoniously killed off Newt and Hicks. That STILL bothers me, and I can’t really appreciate this new Terminator entry until I come to terms with what they’ve done.

I’ll say this: Dark Fate is probably the third best Terminator film, but not as good as the Terminator TV series. Damning with faint praise?

It seems like it, but honestly, in spite of my annoyance, Dark Fate really is a good movie.

dark-fate-grace
Strictly human or not, she kicked some serious machine butt.

Judgement Day: Now What?

One final thing. It does seem the Terminator franchise posits that we’re going to have an AI apocalypse, in any possible timeline, no matter how we try to prevent it. Skynet, Cyberdyne, Legion, Google, whatever. As Thanos would say: Judgement Day is… inevitable.

Chew on that.

Movie Grade: B+

Ranking the Terminator Movies

Official Movie Review – Terminator: Dark Fate

Movie Review – The Terminator

Terminator TV Series: The Carlenator

In Defense of Terminator 3

 

 

Fast & Furious 1 & 4 Is Really ONE MOVIE

Dominic "Dom" Toretto
Dominic “Dom” Toretto

I finally watched a couple of Fast & Furious movies. Even though the upcoming film is called Hobbs & Shaw, I do know they are a F&F spin-off, and was curious about WHY WHY WHY there are all these movies out there about fast cars and criminals? Why these are movies so popular?

I adore action films, but am not automatically into the whole ‘root for the villain’ thing. Some may have a ‘heart of gold’  — but Dom and Brian had not gelled yet in the 2001 story, so I was like, “Meh.” Neither were close to the anti-hero levels of Han Solo or Robin Hood…and certainly not Malcolm Reynolds (from Firefly/Serenity). Or even Diesel’s own beloved Riddick character from Pitch Black.  Not yet.

At this point, these dudes were just testosterone-oriented criminal adrenaline junkies in LA.

And as for driving fast, I used to flash people in San Diego driving down the 805 at 100 MPH over the Mission Valley interstate bridges…but grew out of that after college and a few very expensive speeding tickets. (My boyfriend had a convertible and we thought we were immortal, and I have a cute butt…it made sense at the time, but was frankly stupid).

So at the tender age of 50, I just watched F&F 2001, and was appalled. Here’s a bunch of criminals doing totally unsafe things that should kill bystanders. With women dressed in almost no clothes, saying they will do sexual acts with racing winners they don’t even know, and behaving far more sluttily than my innocent butt-flashing highway moments ever were.

I watched this, which was essentially a movie of the video game Grand Theft Auto, and thought exactly this: “???”

Why was this popular enough to spawn a franchise that will be 9 movies long by 2020, and how did I never see any of these?

I can’t say. The original F&F 2001 had an ending that was ambiguous at best. I can appreciate that as a bold choice, but since the movie had almost no plot, it didn’t feel earned. It’s 75% racing, 10% sexy stuff, and then the story picks up the scraps. I guess driving dangerously fast didn’t interest me any more.

I was more involved in Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, the Marvel movies, and, of course (to me) the Lord of the Rings. (And now you know what geekhoods I love best.)

It actually took watching the 2009 (the 4th) film, which follows up exactly where the first movie leaves off, to get me on-board.

Finally, the movie came together. I’ll say the best thing — if you’re still new to the franchise — is to watch 2001 and 2009 as one movie. Back to back. That makes one decent story and serves as a fine introduction to what comes ahead.

2009 cut down on the ‘male gaze’ aspect immensely, to my relief, I guess. If I wanted to see that kind of female behavior, I’d find some porn. The men keep their clothes on on F&F, and their clothes are not skin-tight either. Why can’t we see some male flesh? Oh jeez. I’m barking down a well. (It’s not like I need to see that, but it would at least be fair. I still like butts.)

So, why do the women have to be essentially naked if the directors want half the population to watch their films? So, yes THANK YOU that the women, seven years later, are allowed to be real people and not simply male decorations. I say this understanding that the few women racers were also bad-ass…but they were still totally hot and dressed to show it. This was off-putting. How is this relatable?

But back to the Fast & Furious origins storyline:

If I was baffled by the appeal of the first movie (Vrooooom, vrooom, NOX, boom!), I liked where things continued in 2009. The Mexico borderlands sequence was an incredible nail-biting experience (but still felt like a video game, granted). And the Brian/Dom relationship was allowed some space to unfold, finally. It wasn’t just trading insults from hate (it was trading insults from bro looooooove).

I like adrenaline too, but mine is legal and low key: rock climbing, cave rappelling, plane jumping, traveling solo in foreign countries, bungie jumping, sword fighting, backpacking, and aerial acrobatics. It’s not like I’m a boring person. But I dress for comfort, not to attract men. I think I was spoiled by being an Outward Bound instructor in my younger years. I was valued and admired for my outdoor skill set and leadership ability, not for cleavage and sexual taunts.

Probably you want me to shut up on all this. So I’ll get back to the plot.

RunPee Dan wrote an extensive and very helpful article about the entire series. Granted, he skipped a few films, but these are arguably worth skipping, based on both the Rotten Tomatoes Meter, and RunPee Sis’s definitive recommendations (as a F&F UBERFAN). (Seriously.)

Sooooo, what should you watch to get started with the Fast and Furious oeuvre?

Like I said, I think 2001 and 2009 should be viewed back-to-back as one film. 2009 picks up right where 2001 leaves off and flows seamlessly together. Both are exciting (but 2009 is just damn better, okay?).

I’m going to make a judgement call and say they are one good movie, but only when viewed together.

Everything changes after the 2009 film, with the 2011 addition of Dwayne Johnson — AKA The Rock — but that’s not important for now. 2001 and 2009 are the important bro foundation between Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker), and their love for…well, driving really fast. They bond. Bonding is good, right?

I will say Vin Diesel definitely has the charisma to anchor a franchise. (Really. Watch Pitch Black, please. And, lest ye forget, he’s also Groot.)

I’m reliably told the story gets more ‘heroic’ in subsequent iterations. So I’ll be watching to see the inevitable Vin vs Dwayne mano a mono fight (I love them both, even if they are…well…fungible.)

BTW: Apparently Vin and The Rock really, REALLY dislike each other. Does anyone know why?

Hobbs & Shaw’s Backstory from Fast and the Furious

Fast and the Furious – Furious 7 Movie Review

Movie Review – The Fate of the Furious – F8

Movie Review – Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

 

Hobbs & Shaw – The Entire Backstory from Fast and the Furious

Hobbs & Shaw: You better go watch Hobbs and Shaw or a man wearing a skirt is going to kick your ass.The preview for Hobbs & Shaw looks like an exciting action comedy, but these two characters have a long backstory from the Fast and The Furious franchise.  If you haven’t seen all, or any, of the F&F movies, then you’re probably wondering what you need to know about Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson/The Rock) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to make sense of this spinoff.

Hobbs and Shaw, in a nutshell

Hobbs, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is a government agent tasked with capturing the worst of the worst. He was originally hunting Vin Diesel, who plays Dominic “Dom” Toretto, but in due course they become allies.

Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw

Shaw, played by Jason Statham, was a British Secret Agent – think James Bond with a bad attitude — but was “retired” by the agency six years ago, and now works freelance. Statham’s character is introduced in the end credit scene of F&F6 as a man out for revenge for what Dom’s team did to his brother. Of course, over time, he also becomes an ally.

We get to see Hobbs and Shaw fight a few times, but more often than not they simply fire epic and comical insults at each other.

Basically, Hobbs & Shaw is a action comedy version of The Odd Couple. That’s all you need to know before seeing their movie.

However, if you want to get caught up on the entire Fast and The Furious franchise, then read on.

I’ll give you advice on which F&F movies are worth seeing, and a detailed synopsis of the ones you could decide to skip over.

You can see from the table below, the franchise really starts to pick up with Fast And Furious 5.  If you don’t have the time, or stomach, to watch all eight movies first, you could just cherry pick from the best of them. Then read my synopsis of what you missed in the ones you skip over.

Note: This article gets long after you view the chart below, but it’s chock full of details you need to be up to speed for Hobbs and Shaw. We helpfully also tell you in the chart if there are extra scenes over the end credits

Complete list of F&F movies

Year Tomatometer *Audience score Title Extra/End scenes?
2001 53% 74% The Fast and the Furious
2003 36% 50% Fast 2 Furious ❌
2006 38% 69% The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift ❌
2009 29% 67% Fast And Furious ❌
2011 77% 83% Fast 5
2013 70% 84% Fast and Furious 6
2015 81% 82% Furious 7 ❌
2017 67% 72% The Fate of the Furious ❌
2019 Hobbs & Shaw n/a
2020 Fast & Furious 9 (May 22, 2020) n/a

*Audience score from Rottentomatoes.com user rating.

Dominic "Dom" Toretto
Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Toretto

Fast and The Furious franchise overview:

Every movie in the F&F franchise revolves around stories that create problems that can, seemingly, only be solved with fast cars and wildly fantastic action. This translates into paper-thin plots. They do so many completely impossible things that you don’t blink twice when they do something that’s just insanely improbable.

However, as much as each movie tries to amp up the action, the success of the franchise hinges on likable characters. Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Toretto isn’t a good guy in the classic sense. In the first movie he’s nothing more than a thief with a code:  Robin Hood from the hood.

Fortunately, F&F hit gold when they cast Vin Diesel as Dom. Vin has the gravitas, something many actors lack, to become the center of attraction in a franchise.

Dom is similar to the Star Wars character Han Solo. Solo isn’t exactly a good guy. He did in fact shoot first, and he’s only in it for the money. But when push comes to shove, he does the right thing, and he’s always there for his friends.

If you don’t have the time to watch any of the movies before going to see Hobbs & Shaw, then here’s a general outline of each movie. If you’re only interested in the Hobbs and Shaw backstory, then skip down to Fast and Furious 5, where Hobbs is introduced.

2001: The Fast and the Furious
This is the movie that kicked off the franchise, and perhaps Vin Diesel’s career. (Along with a little-known, now cult favorite science fiction movie that came out the previous year called Pitch Black.) I would recommend watching the 2001 F&F; not because it’s any good, but because it’s the foundation upon which the franchise rests. Better yet, try to watch this movie and the 4th (F&F 2009) back to back. Together they make one complete story and really develop the characters and relationships.

Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner
Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner

What you need to know if you skip it:
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is an undercover FBI agent trying to track down a gang of street racers stealing cargo off moving semi trucks. Brian befriends Dominic’s (Vin Diesel’s) sister, who works at a small cafe. The investigation leads Brian to believe a gang of Japanese bike racers is behind it, but ultimately he discovers that it is in fact Dom’s (Dominic’s) crew. The movie ends with Dom’s crew trying to rob a truck. The trucker has a gun and fights them off. Brian eventually has Dom trapped with the police moving in, but out of respect for Dom, Brian lets Dom get away.

Below is the full end scene of Fast and The Furious
where Brian lets Dom walk away.

Beyond the sloppy plot, the characters are well-defined. Dom commands a great deal of respect from everyone around him, including his adversaries. Brian is an FBI agent with complicated feelings about authority.

2003: Fast 2 Furious
By all means, you can skip this movie. It has no redeeming qualities. Vin Diesel doesn’t have so much as a cameo.

Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce

What you need to know if you skip it:
Brian has been kicked out of the FBI for letting Dom get away at the end of the previous movie. He’s in Miami when the FBI and DEA approach him to help with a case, by going undercover and bring down a drug cartel. Brian enlists the help of his longtime friend Roman (Tyrese Gibson). Roman is currently in prison, and blames Brian for it, but Brian convinces the FBI they have to pardon Roman if he helps with the investigation. Blah, blah, blah, car chase in the Florida Keys, and Brian and Roman capture the drug lord…and are BFFs again.

Below is the full “reunion scene/fight”
between Brian and Roman.

Sung Kang as Han Lue
Sung Kang as Han Lue

2006: The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift
On advice from my sister, I skipped this movie. This movie is somewhat  controversial within the F&F fandom. Apparently the only thing you need to know is that the character Han is introduced, who comes back in F&F 5 and 6.

2009: Fast And Furious
Brian is back with the FBI, and needs Dom’s help to bring down a drug lord… Sorry, I nodded off a little bit there. Seriously, I just watched this movie last week, and I’m struggling to remember exactly what happened.

Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz

What you need to know if you skip it:
Dom is in hiding in Panama when he gets a call from his sister, Mia, who informs him that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who plays Dom’s girlfriend, has been murdered. Dom comes back to LA to help Brian (who’s back working with the FBI) to track down the mysterious drug lord who murdered his girlfriend. During the movie Mia, Dom’s sister, falls in love with Brian. Brian has loved her since the first movie.

The movie ends with Dom in custody. Brian pleads with the judge that Dom should be pardoned because he helped put a dangerous drug lord behind bars. The judge rules that one good deed doesn’t wipe out dozens of bad deeds, and sentences Dom to a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Cut to Dom on a bus, headed for a remote prison. Dom’s crew, including Brian, drive up on the bus. The movie ends.

Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar
Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar

New character: Gisele (Gal Gadot, who would go on to be cast as Wonder Woman) is introduced to the F&F franchise. She works for the drug lord, but turns out to have a soft spot for Dom.

2011: Fast 5
Hobbs is introduced in F&F5, a.k.a.  Fast and Furious: The First Good One. He plays a government/military agent who is in charge of a team tasked with bringing in the worst of the worst criminals: he always gets his man. In F&F5 we get to see Dom (Vin) and Hobbs (Dwayne) go fist to fist. That’s worth the price of admission.

Below: (3:04) clip of the first Dom and Hobbs fight.

Prior to the final climactic action, Hobbs has captured Dom, Brian, and Letty and takes them to to the airport to bring them back to the USA. Suddenly, they are attacked by the antagonist’s men. Hobbs’ entire team is killed. Hobbs is wounded and, of course, Dom rescues him. Thus…setting up their mutual respect for each other in the movies to come.

Below: (4:08) “Dom rescues Hobbs” scene.

At the very end of the movie, Dom’s team has of course emerged victorious over the antagonist, but Hobbs “re-captured” Dom and Brian. Hobbs says, “You know I can’t let you two go. I ain’t made that way. The way I see it, you’ve earned yourself 24 hours… Come tomorrow, I will find you.” Dom smiles, “No, you won’t.”

Below: Hobbs re-captures Dom and Brian, but lets them go.

And thus begins the relationship between Hobbs and Dom. BTW, there’s a MUST see mid-extra credit scene in this movie.

Elsa Pataky as Elena Neves
Elsa Pataky as Elena Neves

Additionally, the character Elena is introduced in this movie. She is a police officer in Rio who acts as Hobbs’ local translator. She and Dom have a few scenes together that leads to her becoming Dom’s new girlfriend in the following movie. She plays a major role in the plot of The Fate of the Furious.

Below: (0:54) End credits scene in F&F 5.

Luke Evans as Owen Shaw (younger brother to Deckard Shaw)
Luke Evans as Owen Shaw (younger brother to Deckard Shaw)

2013: Fast and Furious 6
The Hobbs and Dom relationship builds in F&F6. Hobbs has a new assignment to bring in an international terrorist: Shaw. (No, not that Shaw. The younger brother of Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)). Hobbs goes to Dom, who’s living in a non-extradition country, for help bringing in Shaw because they have a photo of Letty working for him.

Short aside: Letty “dies” in F&F4, or so we thought. Turns out she had amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about her past. Shaw, the younger, “rescued” her and now she works for him.

By movies’ end, Shaw is in critical condition in a hospital; Dom and Letty are back together, and the entire team has returned home to LA after getting pardoned for their help in bringing down Shaw.

In the extra credit scene we see Han, a member of Dom’s crew, racing in Tokyo. Suddenly, Han gets t-boned by another car, driven by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Han’s car flips and lands upside down. Shaw gets out of his car and tosses a silver cross necklace on the street next to Han’s car then makes a phone call and says, ” Dominic Toretto, you don’t know me.” Han’s car explodes in the background. Shaw finishes, “But you’re about to.”

2015: Furious 7  <—-Read for our Review
That brings us to Furious 7 where… a lot of stuff happens. Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up. 😉 The movie opens with Shaw, the older brother played by Statham, visiting his younger brother in a hospital. Statham gives his comatose brother a speech about loyalty and brotherhood and revenge. Shortly afterward, we get to see a knockdown drag-out fight between Shaw (Statham) and Hobbs (The Rock). That ends with Shaw getting away, and Hobbs in a hospital room with a broken arm — he dove out of a 4th story window to save his partner.

Dom visits Hobbs in the hospital and gets the lowdown about Shaw: he’s a former British Special Agent that the powers that be decided to “retire” six years ago. He’s been a ghost ever since. Dom wants to find him and get revenge for Han, who died in the extra-credit scene of the previous movie. Oh yeah, and Shaw blew up Dom’s house in LA, almost killing the entire family. So yeah, there’s that.

At this point the story gets a little muddled.

Long story short: Dom’s crew ends up doing battle with a terrorist organization in LA, while Dom himself has a car fight with Shaw. During all this action Hobbs sees explosions from his hospital room and rips off his cast to join the fray. Dom nearly dies. Actually, he does die, but they bring him back. Shaw is captured and Hobbs delivers Shaw to a supermax prison.

Paul Walker Tribute
The actor Paul Walker, who plays Brian, tragically died in a car accident during the shooting of this movie — unrelated to the actual filming of the movie.

As far as the franchise is concerned, Brian has retired to family life.

2017: The Fate of the Furious <—- Read for our Review
Buckle up, because we’re going to be here for a while. This movie is like a parenthetical statement (Inside a parenthetical statement (Inside a parenthetical statement.)))

Seriously, you should watch this one. It might be shorter than reading this labyrinthine synopsis. But in case you really can’t, here we go:

Charlize Theron as Cipher
Charlize Theron as Cipher

How do you turn a “bad guy” into a “good guy”? By introducing an even badder guy, or in this case, badder woman. Fate of the Furious introduces Charlize Theron as Cipher — a super secret pseudo-terrorist who has been behind the scenes, pulling strings, since F&F 2009.

The movie opens with Dom and Letty in Cuba. Cipher tries to recruit Dom to her team, but Dom turns her down. Cipher assures him that one way or another he’ll end up working for her.

Next we see Hobbs coaching his little girl’s soccer team. A government agent interrupts Hobbs, and tells him they have an important mission for him: to get a team together to take back a stolen EMP device that is in Berlin, Germany. But, this is all top-secret, hush hush stuff and if he, or any of his team, is captured, the US government will disavow any knowledge of his mission.

Of course, Hobbs makes a phone call to Dom and asks for his help. Dom says the team will meet him in Berlin. Cut directly to the team getting chased by terrorists, after stealing back the EMP device. Dom has the device strapped down in the back of his car. Everything seems to be going according to script, when Dom runs Hobbs off the road and takes off, alone, with the EMP. Everyone is like, WTF? 🙂

Dom drives his car onto a moving transport plane and delivers the device to Cipher.

Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody
Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody

Hobbs is captured and gets locked up in the very same prison where he locked Shaw up at the end of the previous movie. Oh, and they’re in neighboring cells, and do nothing but trash talk on how badly they’re going to whoop up on each other.

Of course the cell doors, all of them, open, and Hobbs and Shaw fight their way out of prison, to be met by the shadowy Mr. Nobody — the head of a super secret government agency, sort of like the IMF from Mission Impossible — played by Kurt Russell. (Mr. Nobody was introduced in Fast & Furious 7.)

Next we see Hobbs and Dom’s team in a conference room getting a briefing about Cipher from Mr. Nobody. No one has a clue why Dom double-crossed them in Berlin and stole the EMP, but they know something fishy is up, because that’s not Dom. Then Shaw walks into the room and everyone, especially Hobbs, is on high alert.

We learn Cipher came to Shaw first, to recruit him to her team. When he turned her down, she got his younger brother — and we all know how that turned out — see F&F6. Shaw wants to get revenge. Of course Hobbs and Shaw want nothing to do with each other, but Mr. Nobody reminds them that they are the only two people to ever track down Cipher so, like it or not, they’re going to work together.

There’s a very long blah, blah, blah about tracking down Cipher, when she and Dom blast their way into the building and steal the ultra powerful/secret computer program they used to track her.

Cipher and Dom are back on her plane, and this is where we find out the reason Dom is helping her is because Cipher has Elena: the police officer from Rio introduced back in F&F 5; she was Dom’s temporary love when he thought Letty was dead. Now, it turns out that Cipher not only has Elena but also… duh, Duh, DUH, their baby boy. (Ohhhhh, so that’s why Dom is helping Cipher. That makes sense now.)

The action jumps to New York City. Dom is there, seemingly alone, to steal a briefcase from a Russian ambassador. Dom’s team, plus Hobbs and Shaw, are there to stop him. What follows is a wickedly cool scene where Cipher uses her elite hacking skills to hack every car with automated driving capability in a 2 mile radius, essentially creating a zombified demolition derby.

Prior to the action getting started, Dom sneaks into a restaurant to meet with Shaw’s mother, played by none other than Dame Helen Mirren. Dom is there for help, but we don’t learn the details until later in the movie.

We also get treated to a bonding scene between Hobbs and Shaw, where Hobbs reads off a list of commendations Shaw received while working for British Intelligence, before he became a traitor. Of course their bonding scene ends with Hobbs saying to Shaw, “When this is all over I’m going to knock your teeth so far down your throat you’ll need to stick a toothbrush up your ass to brush ’em.” (This is how real men say to each other, “I love you, bro.”)

After Dom gets the Russian ambassador’s briefcase (Which contains the super secret recipe for an ancient Russian version of Coca Cola; just kidding, it has nuclear launch codes.)

Okay, wait just a second. Why would a Russian ambassador, in NYC, have a briefcase containing nuclear launch codes? Please, don’t ask. I already said, these movies have plots thinner than that cheap, see-through toilet paper you find in truck stops. Just roll with it and remember, these movies are about action and bad ass characters.

In the ensuing mess about 10,000 cars get destroyed. Dom gets away with the briefcase, and in the process kills Shaw. (Of course Shaw isn’t actually dead, but Cipher needs to think he is.)

Now Cipher has the ultimate hacking program and launch codes for nuclear missiles. Now all she needs is the submarine that contains the missiles and total world domination will be hers.

(Okay, we’re almost done here.)

Since Dom hesitated during one of his tasks, Cipher has to punish him by killing Elena right in front of him. Everyone converges on the Russian base where the nuclear sub is docked. Cipher hacks the sub and launches it, because sure, that’s possible.

Next: A chase scene on the ice between the Russian military and Dom’s team. Then the nuclear sub, hacked by Cipher, is able to plow through the ice and catch up with sports cars, because the nuclear sub has been upgraded with a NOX turbo injector. (It wasn’t, but I’m surprised the writers didn’t add that.)

But wait, what’s that? Two men wearing personal jetpacks flying through the air? Who could that be? It’s both Shaw brothers? But of course it is. They catch up to Cipher’s plane, remotely open the rear door, fly in and take over the plane. Elder Shaw goes forward to save Dom’s baby boy, while Younger Shaw goes for the cockpit. There’s a hilarious action scene of Elder Shaw fighting against Cipher’s men while he carries Dom’s baby boy in a basket.

Once Shaw(s) have rescued Dom’s baby, then Dom is able to rejoin his team. Dom saves the day in epic fashion.

Shaw has Cipher trapped, but she grabs a parachute and jumps out of the plane.  (She was wearing a light jacket and jumped out of a plane, over the Arctic ice, at 10,000 feet. But I’m sure she’ll be fine. Bad guys/gals are immune to hypothermia.)

Denouement
If there’s one thing more ubiquitous in a F&F movie than a NOX (Nitrous OXide) booster, it’s a long denouement, usually involving a dinner table. At the end of the movie Mr. Nobody offers Hobbs his old position back, but Hobbs turns him down to stay home with his daughter. Obviously, this will be resolved in the Hobbs & Shaw movie.

Did you follow all this? Maybe print it out and bring it along to see Hobbs & Shaw. 😉 

Fast & Furious 1 & 4 Is Really ONE MOVIE

Fast and the Furious – Furious 7 Movie Review

Movie Review – The Fate of the Furious – F8

Movie Review – Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

 

 

Was The Infinity War Snap actually random in who was dusted?

Thanos Snap
Is it really random? Or was there a plan?

A thought occurred to me last night while watching a YouTube video about Thanos’  Snap: were the people who became dust selected at random? At first glance I always assumed so, but maybe not.

I’m not a mathematician, and questions of probability can confound even professors of mathematics.

I’ll lay out my reasoning and you tell me if I missed something in the comments.

We know Dr. Strange observed 14,000,605 outcomes of the conflict with Thanos, and in only one of those outcomes did it end satisfactorily for the Avengers in Endgame.

Dr. Strange voluntarily gives up the Time Stone, and perhaps performs a few other tasks we don’t know about, to set the course for the one favorable outcome.

Spoilers follow for Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Make sure you’ve seen these before reading further!

The question is: how did Dr. Strange know Tony Stark/Iron Man would not be dusted?

The simple answer: Dr. Strange watched the outcome and knew Tony survived after a certain chain of events occurred.

Right? Then the snap itself does not randomly select lifeforms to dust. If an event — Tony surviving The Snap — always follows a chain of previous events, then it is a determined event, and not random.

If the snap itself randomly selects, then each snap will select a different set of lifeforms to dust. Therefore, all Dr. Strange could know is there’s one chain of events that ends well for the Avengers, as long as Tony doesn’t get dusted.

Remember, based on the outcome of Avengers: Endgame, the only solution Dr. Strange saw was for Tony to be the one, and the ONLY one, to reverse The Snap.

What do you think?

Life on Earth After Avengers: Endgame (Post-post Snap)

Movie Review – Avengers: Endgame

Avengers Endgame – long breakdown to describe what you just saw (Massive Spoilers!)

Avengers Infinity War – Whose Fault is the Snap?

Life on Earth After Avengers: Endgame (Post-post Snap)

Thanos SnapNOTE: Spoilers start right away for Avengers: Endgame.

Although it’s a beautiful moment in Avengers: Endgame when Dr. Strange‘s portals opened and The Vanished step back into existence, the sudden return of all these people is very problematic.

Let’s assume for a  minute Strange’s sorcerers planned ahead and saved all the people in planes from falling from the sky, teleporting them to safe landings. And so on for any Earthly or cosmically-based beings whose sudden reappearance would mean imminent death. I mean, if Strange can look into 14 million + lifetimes in the course of moments, I’ll wank he planned ahead for these literal car-wrecks, and many other contingencies too.

Captain America returned the Time Stone to the Sorcerer Supreme’s custody at the end of Endgame, so The Ancient One and Strange have an infinite amount of time to make sure the Endgame strategy didn’t cause a brand new Decimation.

But what then? What happens after The Snap is Unsnapped?

When the Infinity War saga finally ends and people try to go home, where do they go? It’s been five years. That’s quite a bit of time. Most people won’t have homes to return to. What happens when you find your house/palace/apartment/shack occupied by other people? What are the legalities of this? What would Judge Judy do? We have no precedent to fall back on. It’s not like people weren’t paying their rent because they lost their jobs — they were literally snuffed out and in of existence.

And as for returning to their families, that’s a can of worms even Ant-Man can’t open. When Hank Pym brought his wife back, he hadn’t moved on. Hope grew up in the interim, which was fine, but Janet was a welcome addition, not an interloper to someone’s new family. Hawkeye might now be five years older compared to his wife and kids, but he still had their house and hadn’t moved on either.

So — best case scenario for those returned is their loved ones pined away for half a decade, and now have huge mental traumas to process from living in the post-Snap world. Best case.

Worst case: their loved ones suddenly (from their POV) have new mates and children and are stuck with no one to help them re-assimilate into society. I doubt our world governments (outside of Wakanda) will do much besides creating homeless shelters and long food lines. Jobs will be gone. Society’s infrastructure won’t run right for years. The aftereffects of this kind of world-wide/universe-wide event should reverberate for at least a generation.

How does Spider-Man: Far From Home deal with the new reality?

This barely touches on the problems inherent in the Avengers’ plan to “bring them back, whatever it takes.”  Spider-Man 2: Far From Home (coming out this July) will delve into some of this. Far From Home is the last film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three.

Honestly, I don’t see how Far From Home can do these issues justice. Sure, they will make some nod to the problems in the beginning of the film. But keep in mind this is a SPIDER-MAN movie, with all the humor and hijinks we expect from Peter Parker & Gang (all conveniently also Snapped, and thus still in high school).

Spending the entire next blockbuster showing how people will be housed and fed and have their property returned wouldn’t be much fun.

This video raises some good questions about how our planet would deal with the return of billions of people, and even touches on the deep items of religion and spirituality that would be affected when our understanding of death is irrevocably changed:

PS: Black Panther 2 – Who is King in Wakanda?

One great side question asked in this video: who’s been running Wakanda for the past five years? I always assumed Shuri would take up the mantle, until it was revealed in the Endgame trailers she was Snapped too. And if someone like M’Baku became King, are there any heart-shaped herbs left to give him Black Panther powers? Either way, does T’Challa automatically become King again (heartfelt Endgame coda aside)? Let’s assume Black Panther 2 deals with this. It’s going to be hard to make that interesting, since the first Black Panther movie already tread this ground in some detail.

Related Avengers Articles on RunPee.com

Movie Review – Avengers: Endgame

Did YOU Survive The Snap? You may as well get this over with…

Movie Review – Avengers Infinity War – An Unrivaled Marvel Epic

Movie Review – Doctor Strange

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

Movie Review – Ant-Man and the Wasp

Movie Review – Black Panther – One Incredible Party

Black Panther – Does Killmonger Have a Point?

Endgame spoiler free review – We got what we needed!

Avengers Endgame. This isn’t what I wanted.

But it’s what we needed.

Wow. I could stop there and let the world infer whatever they want.

I won’t stop there. But I could…

This movie is pure fan service, with an exhilarating story and the conclusion to 11 years of the original Avengers. We get the satisfaction we wanted after The Decimation, not once, but twice. We get most of our heroes back. But at the same time we are losing some. Some seemingly permanently. We expected that. This is a war story, after all.

I will sorely miss these heroes.

The film hit me on every note. Endgame has gut-wrenching tragedy, hilarious comedy, intense action, heartfelt notes of love, scenes that enrage, and scenes that fans have prayed for.

This would be the perfect place to end the MCU. Of course, we know that is not what happens. I don’t want the last 11 years to be spoiled by future movies. So I am seriously contemplating whether this is the last MCU film I see. But then there is Spiderman: Far From Home coming up. I do want to see that. Honestly. I’ll probably look back on this article in a year or so and laugh at myself for thinking about not watching future Marvel movies.

This review was hard to write without spoilers. In fact, I wrote a whole plot synopsis before I wrote this spoiler-free review.

Overall, I think this film deserves a perfect A+, 100% score, even with the few flaws I noticed.

These parts that I call flaws: one I think is a glaring plothole/continuity error. The other might be a continuity error, but I’m sure it opens the door for something else. I have those thoughts in my second review, the one with tons of spoilers. So see the movie before you read that one.

So that’s it for me for the spoiler-free review! Can’t say anything specific here.

10/10

100%

Avengers Endgame – a very long breakdown (Massive Spoilers!)

Hi Avengers fans! Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame lie ahead. If you haven’t seen it and plan to, turn back now. You’ve been warned. We’re serious.

Avengers: Endgame is finally upon us. The Decimation is fact. And in the opening scene of this 3 hour whirlwind, we get what is perhaps the most heartbreaking look at the result of Thanos’ snap. Yes, even more gut-wrenching than the breathless exclamation of Peter Parker as he turned to dust.

Clint Barton is enjoying a picnic with his family, and archery practice with his daughter, whom he nicknames Hawkeye. His wife is prepping hot dogs and asks if anyone wants mayonnaise on theirs. The audience is treated to a laugh when one of the family asks what we all were thinking: “Who puts mayo on a hotdog?!” Clint looks to his wife as his daughter collects her arrows. When he looks back, she’s vanished. Remember that Hawkeye was not involved in the fight on Titan or Wakanda. Indeed, the latter has just concluded. He calls out for his daughter, thinking that she just ran off real quick and he missed her. As he looks around, we see the dust. Again he turns to his wife and sons, but they too have scattered in the wind. Clint is alone.

The screen flashes out and the Avengers: Endgame title sequence plays. Next, we are treated to the full scenes that were teased in the trailers. First up is Tony and Nebula on the Benatar, where things do not start out all doom and gloom as they were in the first Endgame trailer. Tony is teaching and competing at Table Football with Nebula. She… doesn’t seem like she likes him so much. Her face flashes frowns and scowls aggressiveness at Tony or the game… it’s not clear which. They take turns flicking the small silver football across a table, and whodathunkit, Nebula wins the match! Tony records his trailer message to Pepper and drifts into sleep. Here we see a kinder, gentler side of Nebula, as she carries Tony from his spot on the floor, to one of the pilot’s chairs to sleep more comfortably. A few moments pass before his face lights up from some glow outside the stalled ship. The man that started the MCU opens his eyes to see the most recent addition to the MCU.

Captain Marvel floats before him, ready to tow the drifters to Earth. Cheers and thunderous applause from the moviegoers are surround me. Ironman and Nebula are saved.

Cut to Earth — Avenger’s HQ. We learn it has been just over 3 weeks since the snap. We get to the scene where the team stands outside looking to the stars. Pepper is present and tearfully greets Tony as he stumbles off the ship. They go inside and Tony has a short argument with Steve about the fight that they both recently lost. Tony collapses.

The rest of the team meet to discuss their next steps. Carol begins to depart alone to find and kill Thanos. The remaining Avengers join her when Nebula and Rocket reveal where Thanos escaped to. The mission is fast and only partly successful. They find the Mad Titan alone on his farm and subdue him with little fuss. They chop off his gauntlet encased hand.

But there is a problem. A HUGE problem. Thanos has used the stones a second time. This time, to destroy the stones. His reasoning? Having them is too much of a temptation. A short panicked argument occurs between the team before Thor does what Thanos taunted before the first snap at the end of Infinity War. A large purple head rolls away from a large purple body and Thor exclaims, “I went for the head,” before walking to look out across Thanos’ world. The genocidal Titan is dead. My fellow moviegoers go wild.

Five

Years

Later

The world has not moved on. Some try. Few succeed. Natasha is taking mission reports from Carol, Rocket, Rhodey, and Nebula. Carol is sporting a fresh haircut. Her hologram deactivates as she goes off on her own missions. This is the last we see of Captain Marvel until the climax of the movie. Rocket and Nebula leave too. Rhodes has a report on Clint. He’s gone rogue and is worrying the team. Natasha asks for updates.

Next, we travel cross country to San Francisco, to a self storage unit where we find the X•CON van that was last seen when Ant-Man was trapped in the Quantum Realm. A mouse scurries around and activates the Quantum Tunnel, bringing Ant-Man back into the post-snap world. To Scott Lang, it’s only been five hours since he shrunk down.

We see memorials to the lost, and abandoned neighborhoods, as he searches for his daughter. He finds her. His little girl Cassie isn’t so little anymore.

And now we come to the point where the pace picks up. Scott has an idea. He knows it’s a slim chance, but
it’s the best he can come up with. He gets together with Steve and Nat to get Tony to build a time machine.

Problem for the plan: Tony and Pepper have built a life: a life that includes a scene-stealing daughter. Iron-Man is his past. Tony says no, but only to their faces. After they leave, he begins work on a project he has no real faith in. But this is the MCU. This is Tony Stark, the billionaire genius playboy philanthropist. He randomly finds a way to navigate the Quantum Realm’s Time Vortexes, while Hulk Banner practices a different tech with Scott. We are treated to teenage Scott Lang, Grandpa Scott Lang, and even Baby Scott Lang before Bruce gets regular Scott Lang back. One of these has peed himself…

Tony arrives to save the day. Clint plays guinea pig and tests the new tech. His test pulls at those heartstrings again as he travels back in time to his farm house where he calls out for his daughter, hears her response, and is zapped back to the present. It works. They have a plan.
Go back to times and places where they can find the Infinity Stones, in order to remove them from the timeline temporarily. It’s Nat that realizes there are 3 stones in New York during the Battle of New York from the first Avengersfilm. (I personally find this to be a bit of a plot hole. The Time Stone is in the possession of Tilda Swinton’s The Ancient One. Not Dr. Strange… The Ancient One should be at Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu… Instead Professor Hulk finds her fighting off the Chitauri alone on the roof of 177A Bleecker Street. But… I get it. They needed to find some way to save time. Having the Time Stone in New York aids the story, if not the continuity.) After arguing with Bruce’s astral body, she hands over the Time Stone.

Captain America is in charge of getting Loki’s scepter, which holds Vision’s Mind Stone. He makes it look easy. The scepter is being transported by Agent Sitwell, Brock Rumlow, AKA Crossbones, and other agents, in an elevator. All of these characters are secretly Hydra infiltrators.

The setup looks like a reenactment of the iconic elevator fight scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Steve places himself in the middle of the elevator and says that the director, Fury, has put him in charge of the scepter. Our Steve Rodgers knows that they are Hydra, and when they all start to reach for their weapons, Steve leans over to whisper in Sitwell’s ear. “Hail Hydra.” The audience erupts in screams! Sitwell hands over the weapon and Steve exits the elevator. Then he has a fight with himself. He tells himself that Bucky is alive, which freaks himself out, and allows him to beat himself unconscious and escape with the scepter and Mind Stone. It makes sense when you see it.

Tony and Scott are to obtain the Tesseract. The plan is going perfectly. Scott shrinks down and messes with 2012 Tony’s Arc Reactor, causing him to collapse and drop the case holding the cube. Our Tony grabs the case and begins his exfiltration. He’s almost away when in comes 2012 Hulk, smashing through the door to the stairwell, knocking Tony down and the case away. The case pops open, throwing the Tesseract to the feet of the bound and gagged Loki. Loki snatches it up and vanishes through the power of the Space Stone.

Oops… This creates another continuity problem…

Thor… Oh! By the way. The God of Thunder has really let himself go. What remains of the Asgardian people have settled on Earth in a place they’ve named… New Asgard… Totally original and awesome… Fight me… ? Thor has become the drunken King that only shows his face a couple times a month to obtain a fresh supply of alcohol. He’s no longer the muscular god we know and love. He’s gone totally dad-bod with an overflowing beer gut.

Thor’s mission, along with Rocket, is to retrieve the Reality Stone from his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, during the events of Thor: The Dark World. When the god and Rabbit first show up on Asgard, they sneak past Loki in his prison cell.

…Which is the cell he is imprisoned in after he is captured at the end of the Battle of New York, which we just saw him escape from… Continuity? Time travel is weird…

Thor has a tearful reunion with his imminently doomed mother as Rocket completed the mission, and gets chased by Asgard security. Three stones down, three to go. Thor steals his trusty old hammer Mjolnir from this timeline before they escape.

Nebula and Rhodey are dropped off on Morag before the start of Guardians of the Galaxy to follow Peter Quill to the Power Stone. Their mission is an easy success, but opens the door to the big bad of the film. Thanos. Along side him? Gamora and Nebula.There are 2 Nebulas in the galaxy and they are both connected to the same network. (Remember, Nebula is basically a cyborg due to Thanos’ “upgrades.”) The Nebula that still wants to please Thanos gets memory recordings from our Nebula. Thanos’ team figures out that the Avengers are gathering the stones. Just as Rhodey and our Nebula are heading home, Thanos captures our Nebula and sends his loyal Nebula back to Earth in her place.

The Master Assassins Hawkeye and Black Widow, Clint and Natasha: they’ve arrived on Vormir, unaware of the cost to obtain the Soul Stone. They are met by Red Skull, though they don’t recognize the WWII villain. He spills the beans on what must happen, and our heroes dance around in a painful argument over who will live and who will die. They’re heroes. They both are ready to make the sacrifice. Clint has enough of the debate and heads toward the cliff. Natasha stops him with one of her taser darts. She starts for the cliff. Clint fires off an explosive arrow to knock her back and down, so that he can make a run and a jump for it. Into the air and down the face of the mountain he goes. But suddenly he stops. Nat has roped him in place, hanging off the cliff. She jumps. He catches her. Then she kicks off the wall and out of his grasp. Clint Barton has the Soul Stone.

Natasha Romanoff is dead.

I missed the next few minutes while utilizing the second Peetime. But we still have 1 stone to obtain. So let me back up a bit.

Loki escaped with the Tesseract. Tony realizes that he knows where and when the cube could be, farther in the past. Steve and Tony send Scott back to HQ while they endeavor to rectify their failure.

1970: cut to New Jersey at a joint Army SHIELD training and research-base. Our favorite leaders infiltrate the hidden bunker. Steve goes to find a younger Hank Pym in order to steal some of the Pym Particles that make their time travel possible. Tony goes to get the cube. Steve gets temporarily distracted when he hides in the office of none other than Peggy Carter. He sees her through a window in another room and stares in longing and amazement.

Tony meets his father. Howard doesn’t know that the bumbling stranger in front of him is his own son. Indeed, Tony Stark hasn’t been born yet. They talk as fellow scientists, and Tony learns a bit of who his father really was. A good man, much like Tony is himself. When they part ways, Howard tells Tony that, even though his child isn’t born yet, there is nothing he wouldn’t do for him.

Steve and Tony return to the present day. All six stones are collected. But there is an imposter among the ranks.

Tony creates an Iron-Man style Infinity Gauntlet and Professor Hulk is the one to try to undo the snap. The stones activate and start to injure Banner, but he fights the pain back and concentrates on one thought: “Bring them back.” He snaps his fingers.Imposter Nebula brings Thanos’ ship through the time machine. Thanos unleashes a volley of missiles to destroy the Avengers HQ.

Steve, Tony, and Thor begin the biggest battle in MCU history. Thanos fights the 3 by himself and very nearly wins. Iron-Man gets knocked out pretty early on. Captain America is stunned for a bit. Thor puts up a good fight. The two grapple and Thor ends up on his back, Stormbreaker shoved into his chest. It all seems lost when Mjolnir begins to move. Thor has a secret move on Thanos, right? The mighty hammer knocks the Titan away and then flies into the outstretched hand of Steve Rogers. The cheers around me shook the theater walls. Our Captain America is worthy after all.

Steve lays an epic beat down on the purple dude. He wields the hammer like his shield and even summons lightning to help beat the bad guy. It all goes well, until it doesn’t. Thanos gets the upper hand and turns the tables on Steve. He very nearly kills him. The round vibranium shield that we all love is shattered. Cap stands across a field from Thanos, ready to continue the fight. But Thanos has had enough. He calls his army. Not only the beasts from Infinity War. But the Chitauri as well. It’s a massiveforce. The likes of which may even dwarf the forces depicted in the Lord of the Rings films. The Outlook is bleak at best. 1 man, superhuman as he may be, doesn’t stand a chance.

“Cap? Cap, can you hear me?……. On your left.”

It’s the voice of Falcon. One of the victims of the decimation from Infinity War. A voice that Steve hasn’t heard in 5 years. Over Steve’s left shoulder, a portal opens. Then another and another. Several portals open and expand to reveal a friendly army of our recently returned Avengers, and Wakandans, and Asgardians. A force to match Thanos.

The War of the Returned has begun.

You can probably imagine how things go from here. The battle rages with small cuts to individual interactions. Spiderman swings in and Tony embraces the kid in a hug. Black Panther leads his troops onto the field, chanting their battle cries. The Guardians of the Galaxy assemble, sans Gamora. Quill does run into the other Gamora, who has since released our Nebula, who killed the other Nebula. Peter is stunned. He reaches out to touch her face in disbelief, and promptly gets a knee to the groin from a Gamora that has never met Starlord. Pepper Potts joins the fight in the highly anticipated Rescue armor. Valkerie flies in on a Valkerie Steed.

The mission at this point, beyond winning the war, is to return the Infinity Stones back to the moments in time that they were stolen from. Thanos’ ship destroyed the large time machine that our heroes have been using up till now. But Scott Lang has a spare in his ugly brown van.
In the middle of the battlefield. Behind enemy lines. Various Avengers make a run for the van with the Iron Infinity Gauntlet. Each passes the prize to another as he or she is pinned down by the enemy. It’s around this time that Captain Marvel bursts onto the scene, taking the gauntlet from a flailing Peter Parker. This pauses the action to assemble an all-female team of ass kicking heroes for what is basically a group photo… it’s cool… but kind of out of place on a battlefield.

Carol takes the gauntlet and nearly reaches the van. But Thanos destroys it just before she gets there. So Thanos and Captain Marvel have a row. Despite Carol being the strongest hero there, the fight is pretty evenly matched. This is after Thanos being worn down by Steve, Thor, and Tony, and with Carol barely coming into the fight from her travels in space. Scarlett Witch has a go at him.

Thanos eventually gets hold of the gauntlet. Then the fight comes back to Tony. Iron-Man tries to wrestle the gauntlet away, but fails. He tries again and fails again. But when Thanos lifts his hand to snap away the universe, this time it’s just a snap. Tony managed to pull the stones from the gauntlet and his armor molded itself around them to make another gauntlet. Thanks looks at Stark and repeats a line that the beheaded Thanos said in one of Nebula’s memories. “I am inevitable…”

“I… I am Iron-Man, “Tony says just before snapping his fingers and bringing the war to an end.

Tony Stark did not decimate half the universe with the snap of his fingers. Not the whole universe, not even a single percent. He only dusted those that were his current enemy. Those that fought against the Avengers in the here and now. The last enemy to be tuned to dust? The Mad Titan Thanos. He sat down in defeat before being blown away with the wind, joining his massive army and their vehicles.

Tony Stark also sat down at this point. Half his body has been burned. He’s delirious and his speech is incoherent. Peter Parker tries to talk to him. Then Pepper arrives to tell him that everything will be okay now. That it’s over. That she loves him.

Tony Stark is dead.

In the aftermath, our heroes attend Tony’s funeral at the lakeside cabin where Steve, Nat, and Scott found him earlier, playing with little Morgan. Tony knew what might happen before the time travel missions. Like everyone knows what might happen being a hero. He had left a message for his family. Not limited to Pepper and Morgan. It’s in this hologram message that he says goodbye to his daughter. “I love you three thousand.”

Clint Barton has a talk and a hug with Wanda. Their connection goes back to Age of Ultron where Wanda’s brother Pietro sacrificed himself for Clint, and their mutual partnership with Natasha. Clint is eventually dropped at his home where he is reunited with his family.

Thor speaks with Valkerie back in New Asgard. Valkerie is trying to get him to stick around and be the king that he is. But Thor intends to take the counsel of his mother and be the man that he is, not the man he is supposed to be. Before he departs, he calls Valkerie Your Majesty, making her the Queen of New Asgard. He then boards the Benatar to join the Guardians and joke around with Quill about who’s in charge. It’s totally Thor…

Finally we come back to the last mission: returning the stones to their places in time. Captain America and Steve Rodgers are undertaking this mission alone. Hulk Banner, Bucky, and Sam are there to see him off. Though they assume he will be back in just a few short seconds. And in a way, he is. Though not exactly where and how they expected. Some short distance from the time machine, sitting on a bench overlooking a lake, sits a well-aged Steve Rogers. Beside him is a round leather case. Sam goes to talk to his very old friend. Sam approaches Steve as Falcon. Then Steve passes him the round shield, with a star and stripes.

Sam Wilson is now Captain America.

The mantle being passed, they embrace. A wedding ring is shown on Steve’s hand. After he completed his mission and returned the stones, he did the only thing he ever wanted to do. The thing he was worried about missing when he awoke in that SHIELD facility in the heart of New York City. He returned to the end of the second world war and danced with Peggy Carter. The woman who would become his wife.

This is the 1 in 14,000,605.

This is the Endgame.

Warning – Avengers Endgame is not going to be Peetime friendly

Avengers: Endagem-Hold The Spoilers
Did we say no spoilers?

You might be surprised to learn that finding Peetimes in a movie isn’t the hardest part of the RunPee job. Ofttimes we find great Peetimes but get stuck on picking out the best Peetime Cue: a brief line of dialog — or description of some action — that stands out to signify the beginning of a Peetime.

A good Cue might be: When Jack says, “Can I have the extra-spicy onions on my burger?”

It’s short, distinctive, and non-spoilery.

An example of a bad Cue would be: When Jack chokes to death on spicy onions. 

I don’t think I have to explain why we could never, ever, use a Cue like that.

HULK NO LIKE SPOILERS

There’s a lot of middle ground we struggle with, and try to find ways to describe the important, almighty Cue, without giving something away.

How we avoid spoilers in our Peetime Cues

Like in Avengers: Infinity War, one of the Cues is: Thanos says to *someone*, “I like you,” then vanishes. That *someone* was Star Lord, but if we used his name, you would have seen the Cue and thought to yourself, “Well great; I guess I know that Star Lord and Thanos meet at some point. Thanks for spoiling that.”

Later in the movie there was a great Cue: Black Panther says, “And get this man a shield.”

That line was delivered time and time again in the movie trailer, so you knew it was coming. It’s a great character payoff, with a multi-film buildup.

Now, that brings us to Avengers: Endgame. Right off the bat we know none of the Cues can start with: Spiderman says…

Spiderman got Snapped. Everyone presumes he’s going to be un-Snapped, somehow. But we don’t know for sure, and we don’t know when. So we can take his name, and everyone else who got Snapped, off the Cue list.

For that matter, we don’t know if Thor, Iron Man, Banner/Hulk, Captain, et al., will survive. Using their names in a Peetime Cue — at least after the midpoint of the movie– is problematic. We hear time and again from fans, begging them not to spoil anything. As big fans ourselves, we get it.

Whose Name can be used in a Peetime Cue?

At least we can assume Captain Marvel has a big part to play in the upcoming MCU movies, so I think her name is fair game. Beyond that, expect a lot of Cues that read something like: *Someone* says, “Hurry — throw me the sonic screwdriver.” And *Someone else* replies, “I got it, but the battery’s dead.” 🙂

If that wasn’t a big enough challenge, I admit it — finding good Peetimes in last year’s Avengers: Infinity War was no picnic. It was undoubtedly the hardest MCU movie to do Peetimes for so far, mostly because there were so many simultaneous story-lines to juggle.

Music montages are a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow for Peetimes, but I think we can safely assume there will be no music montages in Endgame, unless Star Lord hatches a plan to distract Thanos via dance-off at some point…Oh wait, Star Lord got snapped. Well, there goes that.

We will have Movie Pee Breaks before the opening night of Endgame

Rest assured, we’re going to make our best effort to find good times for you to make a pee break. Shanee Edwards, our Hollywood film critic, will provide us with Peetimes days prior to the public opening. She doesn’t do Peetimes for many movies, and she’ll be working alone, but she knows her stuff and will give everyone going to see the movie opening night something to work with.

Then we have four People, myself (Dan), Jill, RunPee Mom, and Vera, all seeing the movie opening night so we can collaborate on choosing the very best Peetimes. Friday morning we’re going back see the movie again so we can come home and polish the Peetimes until they shine like an Infinity Stone. Plus we’ll get Peetime feedback from Dana and Shani over the weekend.

I tell everyone who does Peetimes for RunPee: we’re only as good as our last Peetimes. That’s never been more true than when the fate of the universe is at stake.

#WhatEverItTakes

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Everything You Need to Know About Hellboy

Hellboy reboot movie
Hell’s a bitch, boy.

Hellboy opens on April 12, 2019.  It will be the titular character’s third major theatrical adventure.  Not sure who Hellboy is? Never heard of the B.P.R.D.? Wondering what’s up with his forehead? No worries. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what the deal is for the new Hellboy movie:  

— Hellboy is a popular comic book character.  However, the movie will not be like your typical superhero or comic book movie.  

— Hellboy is a half-demon, summoned from hell as a baby by Nazi occultists.  His actual Latin name means “And upon his brow is set a crown of flame.” Which brings context to one of the movie posters and an image from the trailer.  

— One of Hellboy’s main weapons is his right hand, which is made of stone.  

— Hellboy has horns, but he files them off.  This is why he has two large round stubs on his forehead.  

— Hellboy is destined to bring about the apocalypse, but he rejects that destiny. 

— Hellboy was raised by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm like a normal boy.  

— Professor Bruttenholm founded the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.).  Hellboy works for the B.P.R.D.

— Guillermo del Toro made two films featuring the character Hellboy:  Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Del Toro chose not to finish what was originally planned to be a trilogy.

— Ron Perlman was the first actor to play Hellboy in the original films.  He is famous for playing Vincent in the Beauty and the Beast TV series and Clay on Sons of Anarchy.  Perlman said he feels remorse for not completing the trilogy, and that he feels like he let the fans down.  

— Doug Jones played fan-favorite character Abe Sapien (an amphibious man) in the original films.  The character will not appear in the new movie. Jones was invited to do a cameo but had to decline.  He had a scheduling conflict with the shooting schedule for Star Trek: Discovery. He also had an injury which prevented him from taking on the physically demanding role.  (Side note: If you ever get the chance, it’s totally worth waiting in line to meet Doug Jones and get an autograph. He’s one of the kindest, most gracious people I’ve met at any of the cons.  And why wouldn’t you want to support one of our greatest living character actors?)    

— The new movie is a reboot, not a sequel.  It stars David Harbour (Sheriff Hopper from Stranger Things) as Hellboy.    

— It will be more of a horror film than the original, which was more of a fantasy film.  

— The new movie will be more faithful to the comic books.  Creator Mike Mignola was a concept artist on the original Hellboy movie.  He’s been more involved with the script for the reboot.  

— The movie will be bloodier and more adult.  In an interview with Empire, Harbour said, “There’s really a sense that you’re actually killing things, even if they are giants or monsters. You’re chopping their heads off, you’re bathing in their blood, and you’re feeling the complex feelings of actually cutting the heart out of another thing. We’re taking the time to deal with the fact that Hellboy is a killer. He’s a weapon.” 

— The movie is not an origin story and begins in the middle of the action.

— David Harbour says the stunts made it the hardest shoot he’s ever done. 

— The main villain is Blood Witch Nimue, who wants to join the monster world and the human world.  The character is played by Milla Jovovich, who’s no stranger to monster movies as the star of the Resident Evil series.  

–The main inspiration for the movie is The Wild Hunt storyline from the comics, but there are also elements from Darkness Calls and The Storm and The Fury.

–When the producers were accused of whitewashing, by hiring a white actor to play a Japanese character from the comics, actor Ed Skrein resigned so they could recast the role.  Daniel Dae Kim was then cast in the part of Major Ben Daimio.

— The original Hellboy had a girlfriend played by Selma Blair.  David Harbour says his version of Hellboy is more isolated and is unable to have sex with humans.

This presumably makes the apocalypse more appealing.  

— David Harbour told Empire, “In our movie Hellboy’s younger. He’s rougher. He’s much more of a teenager. He’s really struggling with the idea of whether or not he’s a good person.” 

— In an interview with Independent, Harbour compared Hellboy to Hamlet.  “On a surface level, he’s an adopted kid from Hell. He was meant to bring about the apocalypse. Yet, he just wants to be a good guy and fight evil. But he has this destiny. That struggle is very Hamlet-esque, even having tones of Coriolanus, where you have this guy who cannot understand his own true nature. Those levels of complexity, if we can bring that to this movie, which we’re trying to do, I think will be really rich.”

— The producers already have loose ideas for sequels.

Be sure to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes and a review for Hellboy, and to find out if there’s anything after the credits.  Follow us on Twitter @RunPee to stay up to date on the latest movie news.

Peetimes are coming soon for Shazam and Avengers: Endgame — make sure you have the RunPee app on your phone, so you won’t miss a moment of the action.

Making of Hellboy Featurette — Enjoy!

Clever Moments You Might Have Missed Watching The Horror-Thriller Movie Us

Did Jordan Peele Play Fair? Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed On Your First Viewing of Us

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Did Jordan Peele Play Fair? Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed On Your First Viewing of Us

Scissors from Jordan Peele movie Us
This poster contains a clue.

Jordan Peele made a splash with the satiric horror film Get Out and even won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.  His new movie Us proves he’s not just a one-hit wonder, but a visionary filmmaker who will keep surprising, delighting, and frightening us for years to come.  (He’s already in talks to do a new Candyman film.)

One of the joys of Us is that it lends itself well to multiple viewings. I enjoyed it even more my second time around. There are things you won’t see your first time because you don’t know to look for them. Us is one of the rare films like The Sixth Sense or Memento that practically demands you watch it again immediately.  I watched this movie a second time two days after my first watch. 

Us — What I Noticed on My Second Viewing

— The movies on the shelf in the opening shot are Goonies, C.H.U.D., A Nightmare on Elm Street (which I thought was The Man With Two Brains because I can’t see well apparently), and some VHS tape I’m not sure anyone has been able to read the title of.  A lot of the action in Goonies takes place underground. The monsters in C.H.U.D. live underneath the city. Both of these are Easter eggs foreshadowing the Tethered.

— Adelaide’s father wins her a Thriller t-shirt.  Thriller is the video in which Michael Jackson reveals to his girlfriend he secretly has a monster inside him.  Just like adult Adelaide secretly has a monster inside her. Or viewed another way, we all have a Tethered self.  

— Everything in the movie has a double:

  1. The Vision Quest fun house is later Merlin’s Quest fun house.
  2. The twins are literally doubles of each other and even speak the same. (“Jinx!  Double jinx! Triple jinx!”)
  3. The bleeding man on the beach is the double/Tethered of the sign man.  (This is confirmed by one of the last shots of the film when we see him holding the Jeremiah 11:11 sign in flashback.)  
  4. The families are doubles of each other.  One black family, one white family, each with two kids.  

— One of the coolest bits of foreshadowing is an overhead shot of the family walking across the beach with their shadows walking beside them.

— The words above both versions of the funhouse door (“Find yourself”) are both foreshadowing and a subtle joke.

— On a second viewing, the rabbits in the cages are even more unsettling because now you know the context.

— When the family first get to the beach house and have dinner, Adelaide is very quiet.  She’s reliving her memory of what happened after the fun house incident at Santa Cruz beach.  Her parents are talking to a therapist about why Adelaide hasn’t spoken since getting lost at the boardwalk.  “I just want my little girl back,” the mother says. Hmmm. That’s the first clue that this isn’t her little girl.  

— Adelaide tries to talk Gabe out of going to the beach.  He guilts her into going. She finally reaches a compromise:  “We leave by dark.” (Um, “Because I don’t want the self whose place I took to try to take it back!”)  

— As they drive to the beach, they see paramedics putting a patient into an ambulance.  It’s the sign guy (Jeremiah 11:11). This creeps Adelaide out.

— Jason, the son, is making a tunnel out of sand on the beach.

— The frisbee lands on a dot on the beach towel, perfectly covering it up, a visual symbol/metaphor for humans and the Tethered selves that live in the darkness beneath them.  

–Jason sees a man on the beach who has blood dripping from his fingers.  This is the Tethered of the sign guy and presumably the reason for the sign guy’s injuries.  He’s also the only Tethered whose face we get a close up of later when everyone is joining hands.  He has a sort of maniacal smile. I believe he’s meant to be a Christ figure. Jeremiah 11:11 (NIV) says, “Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.’”  When the Tethered sign man is bleeding on the beach, that is him crucified. When he is holding hands with others in the morning light with a rapturous look on his face as humanity is destroyed, that is his resurrection. And he is definitely forsaking mankind, reveling in its destruction.  As GameSpot pointed out, he is also the first link in the chain, standing in wait to join hands with the rest of the Tethered.

— Adelaide doesn’t just freak out because Jason is missing.  She freaks out because she thinks he went in Merlin’s Forest.  She knows that it’s the gateway to the Tethereds’ world.

The 11:11 on the clock at bedtime disturbs Adelaide because it reminds her of the sign guy and his fate.

— When Adelaide says, “I don’t feel like myself,” Gabe says, “I think you look like yourself.”  This line takes on new meaning on a second watch. Because technically she’s not herself.

— When the Tethered family appears in the driveway, Adelaide calls 911 immediately.  Not out of irrational fear, but because she knows what they are: their Tethered selves.  (There’s a separate theory that Adelaide has repressed the memory of dragging Red/the real Adelaide to the underworld until the end of the movie when it starts to come back to her.  And she really only has the memory of seeing a second self in the mirror as a child. I don’t subscribe to that theory.)

— I swear on my second viewing I heard Red say “the girl hated the shadow so much for so long until she realized she was being tested by God.”  But I seem to be the only one. Call it the Mandela effect.

–When Red tells Adelaide to tether herself to the table, it’s revenge for Adelaide leaving Red chained to the bed as a child.

— I love the small moments of the Tethered enjoying what they’ve been deprived of.  Abraham trying on Gabe’s glasses. Elisabeth Moss’s Dahlia playing with lipstick and trying out different facial expressions in the mirror.  

— Umbrae who was born laughing also dies laughing.

— Adelaide follows Red and Jason into Merlin’s Forest.  She seems to know the path a little too well and to not be surprised by anything she encounters.  

— Red’s creepy, hoarse voice is most likely due to her throat being injured from Adelaide choking her so hard when they were children.  

— I’m still confused as to the significance of the ballet recital other than it just looking cool as hell and poetic.  I also don’t understand why the dance is what convinced the Tethered to make Red their leader rather than her rare ability to speak.  

— Adelaide has a sinister grin on her face after she kills Red.  The type of remorselessness we don’t usually associate with our heroes.

— In the ambulance, when Jason looks at his mother, he pulls his mask down.  They are both wearing masks now.

I walked into my second viewing wanting to answer one question:  Does Jordan Peele play fair?

Initially, I wanted to see if Red’s final monologue made sense once one knew the twist.  “We were born special. God brought us together that that night. I never stopped thinking about you, how you could have taken me with you.”

That part still makes sense after the twist. Adelaide could have grabbed Red (the real Adelaide) and walked out of the fun-house with her instead of chaining her to the bed.  Presumably. “If it weren’t for you, I never would have danced at all.” This is literally true as it is Adelaide that starts taking dance lessons as part of her parents’ attempt to get her to talk by encouraging her creativity.  When Adelaide dances, Red has to dance. In a deeper sense, like Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance,” Red may not have done much with her surface life if she’d never entered the fun-house. But instead she’s started a revolution that is going to change the world.  Something that would never have happened if Adelaide hadn’t switched places with her.

But does Peele play fair with the rest of the film?  

Can one reasonably guess at the twist ending from the clues provided?  I believe so. I’ve mentioned several clues in this post that all point to the twist.  Red’s voice, the mother’s line about wanting her little girl back, Adelaide’s extreme reluctance to return to the beach, her overprotectiveness of Jason at the beach, her immediately calling 911, and Adelaide knowing the entrance to the tunnel system a little too well.  I’ve read one reviewer who made the assumption that the girls switched places from the edit the first time he saw the movie. Just like I assumed in The Sixth Sense (SPOILER) Bruce Willis had died from getting shot in the first scene. But soon abandoned that thought as the movie went on.

I definitely recommend seeing Us more than once.  

It has earned a place among my favorite horror movie endings of all time.   If you really want to jump down the rabbit hole, you can spend hours reading about fan theories, Easter eggs, and symbolism in Us online.  

And if you’re a horror fan, be sure to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes for Pet Semetary, and upcoming films like The Curse of La Llorona, the Child’s Play remake, and Annabelle Comes Home.  You can also find reviews for lots of great horror movies on our blog. Follow us on [email protected] for the latest movie news.

Movie Review – Us – Tons of Symbolism, Creepy, and a Great Time at the Movies

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