The 5 Movies You Need To Watch Before Infinity War

At this time, there are exactly 19 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ant Man & The Wasp is coming soon (to make an even 20) but that tale will probably be a self-contained story: a palette cleanser after the lingering after- effects of mighty number 19, the Avengers Infinity War.

You probably already know Infinity War is the culmination of 10 years of cinematic storytelling, with a cast of literally dozens of named characters. To catch up to this point, one would have to sit through several days of non-stop movie-going… starting with Iron Man 1, the film that kickstarted it all. A lot of fans converged in New York City for 31 hours of Marvel goodness, and I hope they brought their Peetimes. (Note: the NYC screening only played 12 films for their marathon, so you’ll have to do the math yourself for a grand pre-Infinity War hours-long total of all 18.)

But, what if you don’t have time for a full re-watch before IW leaves the theaters? Or — Ragnarok forbid! — maybe you’re kind of an MCU newb. (Clue: if you don’t know what MCU stands for, you might be a rookie.)

RunPee is here to help. If you had to, you could get by with a five-film preview and be more or less up to speed. Here are those five, plus a few extra honorary mentions if you have some extra time/inclination. This slim five movie line-up means you’ll miss a few important origin stories, but for the ones I skip, things can be summed up in one or two lines. You’ll see.

Five Must-See Films, with No Spoilers

  1. Iron Man 1 – Iron Man started it all and changed how we saw superhero films. It’s easy to forget how amazing this was when it first hit the screens. Understanding the complex character of Tony Stark is so important to understanding the series, and it’s hard to adequately explain why. Cap is simple — he’s a super soldier and a natural leader. Thor is simple — he’s the Norse God of Thunder. Hulk…is Hulk (I assume you know about the Hulk). But you have to walk a while with Stark to see his importance to the entire universe, and why so much of IW centers on him. If you have to skip any of these five films though, this is the one to overlook.
  2. Avengers 1 – You don’t really need the origin stories of Cap, Hulk, or Thor to understand Infinity War. Avengers 1 preps things so nicely for the original set of superheroes, and lays the groundwork for EVERYTHING ELSE to come. Do not miss.
  3. Captain America: Civil War – If you skip this one, you may as well not bother with Infinity War. This ensemble piece covers several new origin stories, brings together a huge cast in preparation for an upcoming even  larger cast, and paves the way towards understanding what happened to “break-up” the original team. MUST SEE.
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1 – Another film that you cannot skip. A lot of IW is devoted to the Guardians. If you don’t know who these beings are, IW won’t hit the emotional beats it sustains for everyone else. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun.
  5. Thor 3: Ragnarok – This film most immediately leads into Infinity War. As in, it ends literally moments before IW begins.  Thor 3 brings a lot of disparate story points together, explains why Thor is so broken when we see him next, continues the storylines of both Loki and The Hulk, and sets the stage for everything to come. If you miss this one, a major part of the IW resolution just won’t make sense. And also, like GotG, this one is super fun.

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Six Honorary Mentions (If you have the time), and what you need to know if you skip them (with spoilers to get you caught up — be warned): 

  1. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron – The second Avengers ensemble piece explains who The Vision and Scarlet Witch are. What you need to know: The Vision is an artificial intelligence being with an infinity stone implanted in his forehead, created by Ultron (and Stark, and Banner – it’s complicated, but not important). Scarlet Witch is infused with the same powers of the stone. All this is referenced in both Captain America: Civil War, and in Infinity War itself, so missing the Ultron bit won’t hurt you.
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Bucky was Cap’s best friend in the World War II days, he’s been injected with super soldier serum (just like Cap), has a Vibranium arm (instead of a shield), and was brainwashed into being a bad guy (unlike Cap). This information is more or less re-tread in Civil War, so you’ll be okay without this one. Skippable for our purposes.
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 – This is a direct continuation of the first GotG film, with a few character additions — Baby Groot replaces Original Groot (which we see at the end of Volume 1), Mantis is a new Guardian (and has the power to make you sleep or wake up)…and Star Lord kills his father (for very good reasons). Oh, and Nebula comes to terms with her sister Gamora. It’s all about ‘family’. Now you’re good to go. Of the six movies listed here, this one has the most plot points you’d appreciate knowing for IW. 
  4. Dr. Strange – All you REALLY need to know is that Strange is a Wizard and wears the Time Stone. Infinity War does a great job rehashing those two points in the first few scenes. Bonus: there’s also a brief but fun Strange introduction in Thor: Ragnarok. So, yeah, unless you are a huge Cumberbatch fan, you can safely skip this to prep for IW.
  5. Spiderman: Homecoming – I hated leaving this affable and fun entry off the main list, but since we get a very nice introduction to Spidey in Civil War, you can safely pass on his stand-alone film.
  6. Black Panther – Like Spiderman above,  leaving out the story of Wakanda kind of hurts. The thing is: Civil War does a fantastic job introducing T’Challa’s Black Panther and the idea of the Vibranium-tech-based nation itself, and why the Winter Soldier can be found there. Cool as this movie is, you’ll be fine without it. You’ll understand why a large portion of IW occurs in Wakanda, because a main character tells you outright.

Keep in mind, I’m not listing which movies are the best in the MCU, nor saying that the rest are unimportant or uninteresting in their own right. This is just to get you to a place you can potentially watch Infinity War and not be totally,  hopelessly lost. Have fun, and let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments. Movie-watching is subjective. Which five would you say are crucial?

To help you get ready:

Deadpool Musical Parody – Beauty and the Beast

If you’re a Disney Princess fan, you might not exactly appreciate Disney’s Prince of Gab, Deadpool. And here we get a little in-joke about the other Disney Marvel heroic ensembles: with nods to the Avengers, X-Men, and…Betsy? I don’t know which franchise Betsy’s from.

Also, we learn a new term (presumably not new to comic book fans) — the X-Force. The official trailers seem to be about assembling Deadpool’s X-Force entourage, but the term isn’t part of common parlance just yet. I’m sure it will be by this weekend, when Deadpool spurts across America (<—- sorry for that off-color joke. Deadpool’s naughty-ness “rubs off”...)

Beauty and the Beast fans will recognize this as the live-action Gaston Song, which is great in itself, and included below for comparisony fun. Both movies are officially Disney nowadays, so it shouldn’t offend too much. Plus, the news is that Deadpool the Musical won a Webby Award for Best Writing. It’s a nugget of sweet, sweet weirdness:

Read our review of the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, and every Deadpool article on RunPee.com.

Finally, here are some links to both movie soundtracks:

 

Avengers Polls – Surprising Results

To get fans talking about all the awesome movies the Marvel Cinematic Universe created over the last ten years (Wow, think about that – a decade of superheros in one big over-arcing story), I posted a series of Avengers based Twitter polls. The results are intriguing, and in some places, surprising!

Take a look at these fun MCU polls, and tell me how you would have voted on them yourself, in the comments below.

 

Avengers Infinity War – Characters Missing in Action, Whereabouts Unknown

Thor Ragnarok – Demented & Fun Deleted Scenes

RunPee Movie Review of Avengers 3 – Infinity War

Read Even More Marvel Articles on RunPee

Avengers Infinity War – Characters Missing in Action, Whereabouts Unknown

Some characters’ whereabouts from the immensely popular Avengers – Infinity War aren’t shown by the end of the movie, leaving fans wondering where they might be, and if they’ll show up again. The film has a massive cast already, but with ten years of epic saga-ness under their belt, not everyone could be onscreen for Avengers 3.

Stop reading right here if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Just stop. I’m about to talk specifics.

I’ll say it again. SPOILERS AHEAD for Infinity War! Do NOT read past this point if you haven’t seen Avengers 3 – Infinity War.

Okay, to make this more clear, I’m about to talk about the controversial ending to Infinity War. Here we go: a lot of deaths happen to a lot of heroes. I’ve seen the movie four times now, and in between sobs I’ve noted who remains and who doesn’t, and wondered about the offscreen fates of who might be left to carry the fight in Avengers 4. (Which is as yet still untitled – apparently the final Avenger film has a big spoiler right in the name.)

We simply don’t know if the offscreen characters made it or not. I’m going to take a leap and suggest that most of the ‘rest’ survived, probably with a token few who we’ll never know about.

So, at this point, here are the named characters that are either MIA or simply have their fates unknown at this time:

Captain Marvel – Not a huge guess to say she’s just fine. Someone answered Nick Fury’s page at the bitter end.

Ant-Man and the Wasp – Their next movie takes place before the Infinity War, but they’re probably going to be around to join the remaining Avengers next year. Otherwise, why bother giving them another movie?

Hawkeye –  Since the original Avenger team members survived, it’s probable Clint Barton will still be around to come out of house arrest/retirement. (Why did the original Avengers make it? Coincidence? Fate? …At this point, we don’t know.)

Pepper Potts – We also don’t know anything about Tony’s fiance, but she’s worn an Iron Man suit before. No reason she can’t put one of Tony’s old models on if she’s needed for next year’s battle.

Shuri – She was right there in Wakanda, but we didn’t see her fate. I’m betting the MCU’s “Smartest Genius” made it, even if her brother didn’t. She’ll probably be around to team up with Okoye and M’Baku…and likely Nakia, T’Challa’s girlfriend, and the Queen Mother (whose fates are also unknown).

King Eitri – The giant dwarf from Infinity War still has crucial knowledge about mighty weapons (and the Infinity Gauntlet in particular). He’s a pretty big dude (“dwarf” status aside). Those iron fists could come in handy, and he’s got to be really lonely on that broken Forge Spaceship by now. I hope Thor didn’t just leave him there.

Sif – With almost everyone from Asgard destroyed, including Loki, Heimdall, Thor’s entire family, and the Warriors Three, Thor’s remaining Asgardian friend could be literally in any of the Nine Realms. Thor can call on his shiny new axe  Stormbreaker to bring this warrior back for the final fight.

Valkyrie – Her absence confused me most of all. She was RIGHT THERE with Thor and the “Revengers” at the end of Thor Ragnarok. Didn’t she get on the big ship with everyone else? Maybe she snuck off in her own vessel, or the Grandmaster’s ship, and headed straight to the nearest intergalactic bar for an epic bender. She was such a huge breakout role in Ragnarok, that killing her offscreen and unnoticed is probably just not going to happen.

Korg (and his little pal Miek) – Same as above; the rockman’s probably an offscreen survivor. It helps that Korg is played by Ragnarok’s own director.

The Grandmaster – Not a hero or a true villain, his last whereabouts are in Los Angeles, living with Thor’s ex-roomate Daryl. That’s if you count the Team Daryl You Tube one-off as canon. I’ve noticed you can never actually count Jeff Goldblum’s characters out, even if they’ve been said to die (Jurassic Park comes to mind). Maybe the Grandmaster will be still around to melt people that annoy him.

Jane Foster – Thor’s ex-girlfriend was infused with the Aether/Reality Stone once. If she’s around, she might have some connection to it still. The actress reportedly doesn’t want to work with Marvel anymore, but who knows? Then there’s the other members of Jane’s science team: Darcy, her intern, and, of course, there’s…

Erik Selvig –  Aside from his Thor connections, he fell under the spell of the Tesseract/Power Stone in the original Avengers film. He’s been a likable character and tech-helpful.

Phil Coulson – I haven’t kept up with his role on Agents of SHIELD, but since he started in the movies, Phil could be pulled back in.

Wong – As far as we know, he’s still guarding the Sanctum Sanctorum. He has enough mystic power of his own to join the Avengers, if he’s willling.

The Nova Corps – With half of planet Xandar’s populace killed offscreen, pre-film, there could be a few named characters reprising their roles from Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1. Nova Prime, maybe. I’d love to see Rhomann Dey again. That guy was fun. Um…the Broker could be around too. A lot of people appeared on Xandar.

Speaking of the Guardians, only Rocket pulls through. Nebula could be considered a Guardian by now, but there are other named characters who may be around. There’s Kraglin, Yondu’s right hand man and current owner of the Arrow. I expected him to have joined the Guardians, after accepting Star Lord as his new captain at the end of GotG, Vol 2. It was surprising he was nowhere to be found. With the actor, Sean Gunn, being Guardian director James Gunn’s real-life brother (and body actor for Rocket), I’m going to bet he made it through the Snap-pocalypse.

Then there are the other Ravagers, like the little group surrounding Sylvester Stallone’s Starhawk character. They could be a thing.

Adam Warlock – The Sovereign isn’t the nicest lady in the MCU, but she’s not evil. And she’s got a whole planet of people who, presumably, have still half their population left. Her “son” Adam was teased at in GotG Vol 2, and he’s supposed to be pretty powerful. If they follow up on that extra scene in the credits, he could be a major new super being.

“Happy” Hogan – He’s been a supporting player for Tony Stark and the Avengers, and could continue to help the team. 

Vulture – Yeah, he was a bad guy in Spiderman – Homecoming, but he’s not totally evil. He mainly wanted to support his family. And he owes Spidey big time. Last seen in prison, he refused to name Peter Parker as the young superhero. He could be a good guy in the coming days.

Aunt May – She knows her nephew is Spiderman, but we don’t know her reaction yet. She doesn’t have any powers, but she might still be alive and well for Spiderman: Homecoming 2.

Ned –  Spiderman’s best friend and official “Chair Guy”, he had a cute little cameo in the bus scene. And speaking of the bus scene, there’s…

Stan Lee – Unless the actor dies, he’ll probably keep reprising his ever-present bit roles, which were finally revealed as an overarching “Superhero Watcher Informant”. Maybe he’ll have something more substantial to do next time around. I’m not counting anyone out.

Notice I’m not including anyone from the MCU television shows, unless they’ve been notable in the Marvel movies. Apparently, we’re not going to see any significant cross-over into future films. I’m not even going to mention the comic book characters. This article is pretty long and somewhat esoteric enough.

Okay, who’d I forget? There’ve been a lot of “named” characters in these 19 movies, and I’m not an encyclopedia. Tell me what you think in the comments below. 

 

Alternate Avengers 2 & 3 story

[Note: this is an alternate plot to the Ultron/Thanos storyline; a different version of Avengers 2 and 3. Play along! However, I wouldn’t suggest reading this until after you have seen Infinity War, or it won’t make sense.]

So. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Infinity War (Avengers 3). Even though it left me numb from the action and deaths in the final moments, it did convey a sense of urgency rarely achieved in superhero films. I gave Infinity War a super rare A+, after all.

But — hey — just for fun, let me suggest another possibility for how the story of Ultron and Thanos could have played out.

Suppose Thanos appears in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and his plot to wipe out half of the sentient beings in the universe is discovered. The Avengers realize they are powerless to stop Thanos, so Stark pulls out his secret, powerful trump card: Ultron. After much debate, the Avengers agree and Ultron is created. All seems right with the world. Ultron evolves at an astounding rate and seems to be the force they need to contain Thanos.

However, eventually Ultron realizes that Thanos is only half right. He sees all biological life as a blight on the universe, and the next logical step is the perfection of existence: himself. (Basically, the idea Ego has in Guardians 2, but more so.)

Once the Avengers catch wind of Ultron’s motivation, they feel all hope is lost. Now they face TWO seemingly unstoppable foes. One who wants to wipe out half the life in the universe, and the other wanting to wipe out all life in the universe.

Once Thanos discovers this, he approaches the Avengers. As we now know, Thanos doesn’t think of himself as a destroyer, but as a savior. He wants to make the universe better. So he teams up with the Avengers to defeat Ultron and achieve his aims.

After barely defeating Ultron, the Avengers set upon stopping Thanos again…but now, Thanos is weakened from his battle with Ultron. The Avengers are — barely — able to defeat him, teaming their skills together (as we see in Infinity War).

Of course, along the way, we still wipe out a sizable portion of the Avengers cast, which feels necessary at this point in our decade-long franchise culmination.

What do you think? How would you like to see the story played out?

Mark Ruffalo Sneaks in a Hulk Movie

We’ve had two prior Hulk movies no one was happy with, and then Avengers rolled around. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was the one we’ve been waiting for, gifting us with a charming, quietly surprising underdog in his version of Bruce Banner. His friendship with Tony Stark enchanted, matching Robert Downy Jr.’s alpha male character unassumingly, while Banner’s tender, unexpected, and  tentative relationship with Black Widow was satisfyingly organic (if completely up in the air at this point).

Suffice to say Ruffalo could sell the big green goods in a way no one since the 1970s could, when the combo of Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno touched us via small screen.

All well and fine. So, will we finally we get a proper Hulk stand-alone movie? Apparently there are rights issues. Spiderman had rights issues, and it worked out eventually with Marvel’s Civil War and Homecoming. But at this point in the MCU (Phase Whatever), I’m not sure a Hulk standalone would fit. He’s shown up in an outstanding co-starring role for Thor: Ragnarok, and Hulk’s story will continue through Avengers 3 and 4 (the Infinity Wars).

According to this quick interview below, Hulk gets a “mini-movie” snuck in, spread out over the course of other Marvel ensembles. I guess we’ll have to be content with that. If Ruffalo is fine with it, we can be too.

So…for Thor 3 – Ragnarok…Rotten Tomatoes has it rated among the highest-rated Marvel films yet. Our two RunPee Ragnarok reviews (here and here) rate it in the A to A+ range, and we agree it’s a magnificent addition to the MCU. Thor’s Ragnarok is hysterically weird and beautiful, with a great plot and stylish characterization. It’s also got a direct lead-in to Thanos’ big entrance. A must-see before Avengers – Infinity Wars!

Where the Hulk will continue his “mini-movie” is anyone’s guess, now that we know Bruce and the Green Guy are at dire odds in their uneasy connection.  We’ll probably see Bruce Hulk out again…but at what cost?

How would you continue — or possibly end — this story? And will a Black Widow romance be a part of it? We find out part of these answers during the first part of Avengers: Infinity Wars. Soon, friends, soon.

Read More Marvel-Related Articles on RunPee.com

 

Best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Here’s RunPee Jilly’s list of the best-to-worst films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since so many of these movies are good, and there are so many of them, I’ve chosen to rank the films by “tier”. Top Tier, Middle Tier, and Bottom Tier. (And one that is simply Bad.) I’m not going to stress over exactly which ones are better than the others within the tiers.

Keep in mind this list only goes as far as The Black Panther at this point in time. This is pre-Infinity Wars. Keep mindful also: this is my personal opinion of the best/worst MCU films — I expect everyone will have their own list. Scribble down your top to bottom tiers in the comments below.

Top Tier

These are the BEST MCU offerings, IMO (of course). The most cohesive plots, solid connections to the through-story, best character pieces (whether solo or in ensemble form), prettiest filmation/scenery, and most enjoyable films that hold up to re-watches. Notice that the ensemble pieces largely wound up on top.

  • Avengers: Assemble — (Top notch; Joss Whedon got everything right. Including Shwarma, mmmmm.)
  • Captain America: Civil War — (Basically an Avengers ensemble piece, and perfectly executed. The airport set piece is as good as the hype surrounding it. More like this, please!)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1 — (My personal favorite movie in the entire MCU. And one of my new top five all-time films. I need this movie when I feel down. The humor, characters, music, and general story are everything I look for in a fun, feel-good, groovy film.)
  • Thor 3: Ragnarok — (I have to admit, I didn’t think anything in the MCU would approach the likability factor of GotG 1. Well…this one does. Chris Hemsworth is hysterical, for one thing. And while ostensibly a solo film for Thor, it’s more like an ensemble piece for the spacefaring MCU characters. I expect the Grandmaster’s ship  – nay, now Thor’s ship – is how we scoop up the Guardians in time for Infinity Wars.)
  • Spiderman: Homecoming — (Everything in this movie went right. And the villain, usually the sore spot in the MCU, just rocked it! <—- finally)
  • Black Panther — (Beautiful scenery, good characters, solid storytelling and a compelling connection to the larger universe).
  • Iron Man 1 — (The movie that kickstarted the entire decade’s-worth franchise…and rebooted the bank-ability factor to a personable, funny, and charismatic star that redefined how Superhero films could be writ. Can’t forget this moment: “I am Iron Man.” And the world leaned back in their seats, satisfied.)

Middle Tier

  •  Captain America: The Winter Soldier — (I know. This one is top tier for many. As a spy movie, it’s just not to my taste, and this is MY list.)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 — (I wanted to place this one in the top tier, but will concede it doesn’t hit all the marks it should have. If the first GotG is perfect, this one does show up and make the effort, in spite of not quite getting somewhere great.)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — (Another one just shy of greatness. I wanted to place it top tier, but there are just better ones to choose from.)
  • Ant-Man — (not an ‘epic story’, but fun ‘small tale’ with decent humor and a strong likability factor.)

Bottom Tier

  • Thor 1 — (Not a bad movie; just not awesome. The MCU was still figuring out their formula.)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World — (This one is easily one of the least exciting Marvel films, but on a rewatch it’s better served.)
  • Iron Man 2 — (Dull.)
  • Iron Man 3 — (Dull again, bummer.)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger — (It’s okay. Like Thor, movies with Cap improve as his trilogy progresses.)
  • Dr. Strange — (I wish I could place this one higher. It’s just a bit derivative and…well…strange. Not likable or particularly exciting…but we HAD to have the Gem of Amarra in place for Avengers: Infinity War).

Just Bad

  • The Incredible Hulk — (Edward Norton’s outing is the bottom of the MCU barrel. I can’t even sit through this film in its entirety. I’m ashamed to admit it…but, well, there it is. I love Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, but anyone else falls flat.)

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Jilly’s POV)

RunPee Jilly: So, DC has its own cinematic universe. That’s fine: I won’t turn down good entertainment. I’m a geek through and through, and NEED my sci fi fix to sleep well at night. But DC has a history of being either 1. Disappointing, or 2. Really and Truly Grim. Contrast this to Marvel and the Avengers, which engages me, making me happy. Life is tough enough; my entertainment choices should make me laugh and smile and feel better about being alive. Mostly, Marvel does just this. (And DC vs Marvel is the topic of a whole different article. I’ll link it here when I write it.)

So, DC. Specifically, The Justice League. I’m old enough to remember the original Saturday morning cartoons about the Justice League, AKA Super Friends. I liked it then, Wonder Twins and all. Now, I’m cautious. Ambivalent. Waiting to see where things go.

Here’s what I’m thinking: we had the earnestly serious but ultimately depressing Nolan-version Batman films. Health Ledger made those watchable. Then we had some rebooted Superman flicks that were also dark, which for Supes is simply unforgivable. Superman is about lightness, apple pie, and good vibes, and making the world a better place. See Superman in the 1980s, when it was done right. Ya with me?

The new Superman made him unbearably moody. I understand a broody Batman, who is admittedly an alcoholic, a loner, and just a breath away from being a supervillain himself.

Then DC brought them together in Batman vs Superman – more grimdark stuff – and Suicide Squad, which was…okay? Guardians of the Galaxy it wasn’t,  though it tried. It shot high, landed low.

Finally, DC hit a home run in Wonder Woman. YES! It was exactly what we, the long-suffering fans, hoped for. Fun, a tiny bit joyous, ambitiously pretty, and sprinkled with humor. It somehow felt like Fantastic Beasts in the Harry Potter franchise (that’s a good thing). Of course, all three take place roughly in the timespace of MCU’s successful and original Captain America movie, but those are different universes, right?

This loooong lead in brings us to Justice League. Did it do the job, bring it, give us what the DCEU needed? Hmmmm, somewhat. It was definitely an ensemble piece with fun beats, good 70s tunes, and an amiable premise. However, the producers seemed in too big a hurry to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not earned, so I’m ambivalent. The MCU has a lot of groundwork and years on DC. When The Avengers came together, it was simpatico.

To explain: We “get” Diana Prince/the Wonder Woman. She carried Justice League on her lithe Amazonian back. We know her; we like her. She brings the action and the humor. She leads the team. I have no WW complaints.

The Batman? Hmmmm. Gloomy and underserved. I don’t have much to say on his role in JL, besides, “What the frak he was thinking to bring Supes back?” Oh, is that a spoiler? (Not if you watched the trailers.)

It’s been said here before: the problem with Superman is that he’s too powerful. You can only hurt him with Kryptonite. There’s not much else to say or do with this guy.

He also makes The Flash unfortunately redundant. Why have someone who can run fast when Superman can best him in speed?

But, speaking of The Flash himself: awesome. Admittedly, he owned most of this film’s humor, and the actor was up to the task. He’s clearly the DCEU version of Spiderman, and I want more. Gimme, gimme. I’ll be very happy to watch the standalone Flash film when it comes.

But then, there’s Cyborg. He’s a cipher, an Iron Man without the personality. I think he could have been better written. Next…

That leaves Aquaman. Superbly cast and executed — he needs his own origin movie. That’s all, mike drop, end of story. I loved the energy, the raw power he brought to the screen. What was frustrating: his character’s lack of mythological depth. What is the deal with Atlantis? What’s his relationship with Norway? Do fish obey him or what? Stuff was missing. In the meantime, I LOVED what we got, which was funny and engaging, both. DC needs to move up his movie in their queue, and drop the terrible pathos of Batman and Superman, who are frankly played out.

It’s not like you HAVE to pander to the fans, but in this case, give the Bat a break. Move on. Give us something fun and pretty and new. We want good storytelling, not another angsty reboot.

So, the JL movie was fine. A solid B, IMO. The villain was a bust, but hey; I’m used to that and have learned to ignore it. Steppenwolf was a low-rent Sauron from Lord of the Rings, but I frankly don’t care. Marvel has had its share of Macguffin villains (see Guardians of the Galaxy, my favorite MCU movie). So, I can forgive the Justice League baddie as a sucky ripoff, as long as the ensemble story works. Which it mostly does. (Oh, and the “Mother Boxes” — give me a break. Infinity Stones much? Come up with your own plot. Even Voldemort was original.)

Altogether, was Justice League good? Well. It was fine. Middle of the road; basically non-offensive superhero fare. See it in the theater, but don’t pay extra for IMAX or 3D. Joss Whedon’s involvement helped the banter significantly (you can really tell his lines in this – they stand out – mostly with The Flash, and Aquaman).

To sum: the best DCEU movie yet, coming in just a hair ahead of Wonder Woman (mainly because I loves me a good ensemble film). But, really, if I had to choose, I’d see Thor: Ragnarok again. That movie just slayed me, and I’ve seen it four times now.

Movie Grade: B

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Dan’s POV)

I enjoyed the movie. Not a lot, but enough. There was some decent humor — most of which revolves around Barry Allen/Flash. The action/fight scenes were fine. A few awesome moments here and there.

The actors all did a good job. I’d say Ezra Miller, as Flash, stood out as the best. Ray Fisher, as Cyborg, was good, but his character is so basically unemotional that it’s hard to mess it up. Jason Momoa, as Aquaman, was almost great. He brings some power, and not just the physical type, and he handled few humorous scenes well.

That being said, there’s a LOT that I don’t like about the movie.

First, why is DC in such a hurry to create the Justice League? I can understand that the studio/producers probably feel like they’re light years behind Marvel, but who cares? They have all the time in the world. There were five stand alone(ish) MCU movies before we got to the first Avengers. But the DC team just skipped over at least three standalone movies: the origin of The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Each one of those could have been a movie by themselves. Plus, a few more to introduce the mythology in the DC universe. Oh well.

My biggest gripe is that the villain is honestly plain horrible in this movie. Basically, he’s a big bad god type thing, bent on destruction. There’s absolutely no lead in. And all I could think after seeing the one minute of exposition of the villain’s origin was, “Hello, Lord of the Rings much?” Really, he’s a big bad thing bent on total domination, because he has united these three boxes. And after the three armies of Amazons, Atlantians, and men defeat him, they divide up the three boxes so they can’t be reunited again.

Besides all that, the villain is basically a prop for our heroes to crush, after an appropriate amount of struggle.

My last gripe is a potential spoiler. So scroll if you want to read more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Superman is the single worst superhero ever. He’s just too strong. Once he enters the fight at the end, it’s like playtime for him. Where’s the fun in that?