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.

Avengers Endgame and a certain missing weapon [SPOILERS]

Heads up: this is about a specific plot point in Avengers: Endgame. Do NOT read this if you haven’t seen the movie yet. You’ve been warned.

At the end of the movie, Cap goes back in time to return the stones to their original timeline. He takes with him his shield and Thor’s hammer: Mjölnir.

Cap doesn’t return from the trip as planned,  and the crew notice an old man sitting on the bench. At this point Old-man Cap gives his shield to Mac. Very nice and touching scene. But, where’s Mjölnir?

One explanation I like is that during Cap’s time travels to return the stones he returns the Power Stone last, to 1970, and that’s where he stayed, with Peggy. At this point, there would have to be two Captain Americas in the same timeline that the MCU has traveled for the past 10 years. The Old-Man Cap decided to live with Peggy, in seclusion. (He couldn’t exactly go out and advertise who he was, could he?)

Update: in the comments Chris Estrada points out that Cap almost certainly goes back to the 1940s to be with Peggy. I highly suggest reading his entire comment. It sheds a lot more light on this topic.

If this is what happened, then Cap would have taken on a role of a average, nondescript citizen, and he would have to have an agreement with Peggy not to influence the timeline.

So here’s Cap, putting down his hero persona and living as a regular citizen. He has his shield and hammer, probably stored away in the hall closet. But at some point, Cap is no longer “worthy” of the hammer; he’s mowing the lawn instead of fighting the good fight against evil.

And so Mjölnir sits, unmovable, in the hall closet. I picture a scene of one day Cap goes to pick up the hammer and it doesn’t budge; he suddenly realizes he’s no longer a hero.

Unfortunately, none of that works for the continuity of the timeline. Because Cap would have to have left Mjölnir back in Asgard to replace the one that Fat-Thor brought back with him. Basically, they borrowed Mjölnir from the past to fight Thanos.

The big problem with Cap going back to live a life with Peggy — Peggy was already married and had a child with another man. We know that from an interview with Peggy shown in Captain America: Winter Soldier, recorded in 1953. We can say that maybe Peggy and this man were no longer together by 1970 when Cap went back — that’s believable. However, again in Winter Soldier there’s a scene with Cap and old Peggy, and she definitely doesn’t remember a relationship with him after he went down in the plane in the arctic.

The only way this works is if Cap told Peggy what would happen in the future, that he would be thawed out of the ice, and at some point she would have to convince young Cap that they never had a life together.

That’s some serious fan-wanking, but pretty much every single story that involves time travel requires those sort of blinders. Don’t pull too hard, or the whole story unravels.

I’m not complaining. I think Endgame did a fantastic job of injecting time travel into the plot in a playful and thoughtful way. But it’s not flawless. Clearly, this wasn’t the plan all along, because if it were they could have added a few tiny easter eggs in the previous movies that only hatch during the time travel scenes.

What do you think? Are there any other temporal paradoxes that the story glosses over?

YouTube: How a great grandmother became an MCU fan

The Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t just for geeks. Watch how RunPee Mom, reluctantly, became a huge fan.

About the End Credits Scenes in Ant Man & The Wasp

First off, it’s a Marvel movie, okay? You simply may not leave your seat until the lights come up. In this case, Ant Man and the Wasp is no different. Make your friends — and even strangers — “hold onto their butts.” (Ten points to Gryffindor if you remember where that quote is from.)

Spoilers for Infinity War and Ant Man & The Wasp ahead!

[pullquote]Some extra scenes/tags/stingers are fluffy fun, some add to the plot, and some hint at what’s to come. Some tease you in a sort of parody way, or just send you off with a little laugh. We’ve got a fine stew of all that in Ant Man 2, the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[/pullquote]

My advice: don’t leave until the bitter end.

As the credits roll, for two minutes we see scenes from Ant Man and the Wasp as miniature models, highlights from the film. There are posed dolls; there are miniatures sets; it’s nice and all. Since this bit of Title Credits begins exactly as the movie ends, we don’t call this kind of thing an extra. It’s neat to see, though, with some good music to enjoy while you wait for the big anticipated mid-credits scene.

Some background first : Ant Man and The Wasp takes place roughly before/during/around the momentous events of Avengers: Infinity War.  Maybe most of their timelime happens during Thor: Ragnarok, which leads directly into Infinity War. 

Seriously awful things happen in the last 20 minutes of IW. I saw it five times in the theater and still bawled like a baby. Peter Parker and Teen Groot destroyed me.

So when I say that I and the audience GASPED out loud in the crucial mid-credits scene of Ant Man 2, I mean it viscerally. It was a gut-punch that surprised us all. It was almost (ALMOST) worse than what happened in Infinity War. This reminder hurt.

[pullquote position=”right”]It’s not like the Ant Man crew are my favorite superheros, and while I’d hoped  this ‘small stakes’ lighthearted film would connect to the larger MCU, I was, by the end of the movie, lulled into a sense of contentment.[/pullquote] By then, I’d totally forgotten about The Snap. As the directors surely planned. When The Snap returned, during the mid-credits, making ash of Hank, Hope and the newly-freed Janet — simultaneously stranding Scott Lang in the Quantum Realm — I actually yelped in the theater. A huge audience “Nooooooo!” showed I wasn’t the only one lulled into complacency.

And that is exactly what the Marvel studios bank on. Light, fun  movie? Check. Awful last minute universe continuity meant to shock the audience — double check.

So, Scott is left alone in the Quantum Realm (to be fair, Luis, Bill Foster or even Ghost could retrieve him, and maybe he was immune to The Snap by being out of space and time…theories abound), but that doesn’t take the power of the moment away when Hope, Hank, and Janet disappear. Mic drop. End scene.

If you wait for the final, post credit extra, you’re treated to a hint of the world status, Post Snap. Streets are empty, while sirens sound in the distance. We pan through Scott’s empty house, in several rooms, see the TV switch over to the Emergency Broadcast System…and finally land on one of Scott’s giant ants playing his drums. Dire as things are, it’s still an Ant Man movie, providing a grace of comic relief, after the brutal reminder of the state of the universe.

The final nail in the coffin swiftly follows, when the screen fades to black and we see the title card: Ant Man and The Wasp Will Return.

Then a beat passes.

And a question mark pops up, to show: “Ant Man and The Wasp Will Return?”

Nice. Ambiguity.

Then lights come up and you’re left feeling like you saw a cutely made, well-done late phase MCU film: a rollicking good time with refreshingly small stakes (sans the very end).

So, now what?

My theory is that people we didn’t see dissolve are still with us. So, Luis is still in the front of the van. Bill Foster and his Ghost ward know how to operate the Quantum Tunnel. Getting Scott out may be a simple affair, and his knowledge of the Quantum Realm might hold the key to undoing Thanos’ damage.

It’s a long wait til 2019’s March release of Captain Marvel and the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4, due later that summer.

[pullquote]I do have a burning question: How did Hank Pym and family not know Earth was under attack by massive waves of alien monsters in Wakanda? You’d think this wouldn’t be the time for starting a risky new quantum experiment. Personally, I’d be glued to the news of world events.[/pullquote]

And for that matter, in Infinity War, how did Nick Fury, of all people, not realize his planet was in a serious state of war? Shouldn’t he be dialed in to everything the Avengers say or do, at all times? Running around panicking in NYC, he seemed strangely out of the loop.

Here’s the Mid Credit Scene from Ant Man and The Wasp, mixed in with the real-time last moment of Avengers: Infinity War. (2.3 minutes long.) You might need a tissue.

Coda. Final Scene:

What do you think happens with Scott, the Quantum Realm, and the Post-World Snap?

Every Stan Lee Cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

stan-lee-cameos-in-marvel
Stan Lee with his new Borg implants.

We all know about Stan Lee. He’s one of the big name co-creators of Marvel Comics, is a co-producer and co-writer for the movies,  and seems to be a little bit nuts. He’s been inducted into the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Hall of Fame.  He’s also, in one way or another, in every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie since Iron Man 1 introduced the modern superhero film. For a man who’s 95 years old, we’ve kind of got a wee crush on him and his wacky humor.

Just for fun, here’s the entire complication of Lee MCU cameos, from 1989-2018, plus a special appearance in the fabulous music video Guardians Inferno. [pullquote]You’ll have to sit back and enjoy all this as a sort of mini-movie, since it takes a half hour to view it all.[/pullquote] We’re not including his X-Men Marvel cameos here, or from any prior Marvel franchise (those other Spidermen, or the Fantastic Fours), or even the ones in Deadpool, since this article is long enough. We’ll pull those together for another time.

What’s cool about this Stan Lee mini-movie is that Marvel has confirmed Lee has an actual character within the MCU — as a Watcher Informant.

But, one of these is reportedly Lee’s absolutely favorite MCU cameo. Can you guess which one, before it comes up?

2008 – Iron Man

2008 – The Incredible Hulk

2010 – Iron Man 2

2011 – Captain America: The First Avenger

2011 – Thor

2013 – Iron Man 3

2013 – Thor 2: The Dark World

2012 – Avengers

2014 – Captain America  2: The Winter Soldier

2014 – Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1

2015 – Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (THIS is Stan Lee’s favorite MCU cameo. The reason? It’s a subtle two scene event, where he asks Thor for a drink, who responds by saying it will kill him…and then is later seen being carried out. Blink and you’ll miss it.)

2015 – Ant Man

2016 – Captain America 3: Civil War (This is the infamous “Tony Stank” Fed Ex scene)

2016 – Dr. Strange

2017 – Lee’s two-part cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 (Seeing both makes his ‘secret character‘ make sense.)

2017 – Taking place between GotG2 and Avenger’s Infinity War, this video is just plain fun, giving Lee his full celebrity due (not a canon part of the MCU).

2017 – Spiderman: Homecoming

2017 – Thor 3: Ragnarok

2018 – The Black Panther

2018 – Avengers 3: Infinity War.  This is leaked footage and pretty new, so it’s not as clear:

2018 – Ant Man and the Wasp  — JUST IN!….UPDATE, next day: this is no longer available…blame Disney, who went in and blocked it. Poopers.

Allrighty. Here’s another version. Let’s see how long this one lasts. The scene is short and cute.

Updated again: Really, Disney? You know we’re just going to keep posting these, so peace out! Here we go again:

More will be added as the saga continues and the clips become available. Sources say Lee hates to fly, and it’s getting harder for him to do these appearances, so he shoots a bunch of them back to back now. I hope he sticks around long enough to see the saga through. (Although at this point at the box office, it may never end. Everyone reading this could die before it’s done.)

Which is your favorite Stan Lee cameo? Comment below!

Stan Lee – His Marvel Cameos are a Secret Character

More Marvel Articles on RunPee:

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy 

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2

Deadpool is (sort of) a Cross-over Character Between Marvel Franchises

The Ant Man Movie — Sexism and Real Ants

Assuming the MCU is in our universe, every ant we see in the film Ant Man is female. All worker ants are sterile female clones. Male ants are called drones, and are only used for breeding, then discarded. Queens stay in the nest. This is how ant society works, and if you study ants at all, it works well for them — it’s geeky fun science stuff. But to mention this kind of insect reality in the Ant Man movie would be a little uncomfortable.

[pullquote]Scott Lang (Paul Rudd, in a charming role as the Ant Man) names his ant sidekick Antony, a male name.[/pullquote] Not that this matters at all to the insect in question, or to the movie even. But I think it’s still interesting to consider in these films that all the ants are female.

Wasp society is similar — if you’ve ever been stung, it’s by a female. The stinger and the ovipositor (egg layer organ) are the same thing. So putting Hope and Janet in Wasp suits seems more satisfying.

Yellow Jackets, which are a hornet, are also a type of wasp. Again, the ones you see are female. [pullquote position=”right”]So the bad guy is wearing a female suit as well. That character seems like he wouldn’t be up to wearing “insect drag” — but none of this matters to the film or to us as viewers.[/pullquote]

Again, I am not trying to say there are gender or sexism issues here — the real reason Hank would not put Hope in the Ant Man suit was from fear of losing her, like he lost Janet. It wasn’t a case of sexism. (Seemingly he had no problem with his wife in a Wasp suit and they worked together developing the entire project. )

I used to study social insect behavior in Tucson, AZ. For what it’s worth, I’m just adding some neutral perspective. I prefer stories to use actual science and it impresses me when they do. The Bullet Ants, Crazy Ants (controlling electricity?), etc, is made up nonsense. But if they stick to the rules they themselves establish, I’ll be content.

After all, as far as we know there is no Vibranium in the world. No Wakana, which uses the Vibranium tech to incredible heights. But so far, they are consistent in how said tech is presented, and yay to that.🙂

Read the RunPee Rewatch Review of Ant Man

The Quantum Realm In Ant Man 2 Offers Answers for Avengers 4

Movie Rewatch Review – Ant Man

I really used to like the original Ant Man. I thought it was underrated, charming, funny, and a lighter take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And that’s how I remembered it until my rewatch last night.

What I forgot: since it came out, a lot more amusing  and enjoyable MCU films came along, ones that made me laugh harder, thrilled me visually, and set up characters I cared for in a visceral, deeper way. [pullquote]Now, having rewatched Ant Man’s 2015 origin story after having viewed top of the line films like Thor: Ragnarok, the Guardians films, Black Panther, Civil War, Spiderman, and Infinity War, I’m suddenly underwhelmed. [/pullquote]Paul Rudd as Scott Lang does what he can, but aside from his sweet little kid, I didn’t feel much of anything for anyone else. I cared more for poor Antony the Ant than the cast of people, which isn’t a good sign.

And the plot. It was just about another set of guys in another set of suits. Really. [pullquote position=”right”]A guy of dubiously good morality in a tech suit, plus a clearly definite bad guy in a meaner suit, exploiting the tech. Am I describing Iron Man or Ant Man?[/pullquote]

We now have normal guys in suits up and down the MCU — Iron Man, War Machine, Falcon, Ant Man. (Batman is the same, but hey, different universe.) I’m not sure we needed to put Wasp in yet another suit, but it’s a gal, so that’s new. Yay?

Some indirect spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follows. 

Who else dons supersuits? Spidey finally has a cool tech version, and so does the Black Panther, but those are also dudes with legitimate innate superpowers.  And lest I forget, Bruce Banner now sports a Hulkbuster Suit, for days when the rage monster refuses to come out and play.

Back to Ant Man. What really sets him apart from the other suit guys are two things: he’s got an ant army, and can move back and forth between many sizes — from normal, to tiny, right up to gigantic (making him “Gi-Ant Man”), and then back down to the subatomic, in the Quantum Realm.

Now, let’s pick this apart. At a normal size, he’s really just a cat burgler with engineering skills wearing in a leather jumper. We didn’t see him do the Gi-Ant thing until the (far superior) Captain America: Civil War. [pullquote]His role in the Quantum Realm was so short that it wasn’t more than a cameo excursion. (Hopefully, in Ant Man and the Wasp we’ll get a lot more quantum goodness.) So, what did he really do in his origin story?[/pullquote]

Well, Scott had a cool fight with Falcon: it was brief, but fun, and he was adorably fan-girly in meeting an actual Avenger. He had cute scenes learning to control the various ants and bonding with Antony. Um. Hmmm. He kissed a girl in an awkward transition. And the bad guy smushed some sweet little lambs, which I forgot happened and never want to see again.

So, what about those ants, anyway? I was able to stop the screen and write it all down. Keep in mind most of this entymological science is totally made up:

  • Crazy Ants (control electricity)
  • Bullet Ants (really painful bites)
  • Carpenter Ants (great for transport and flying)
  • Fire Ants (can get in and out of difficult places)

So when the critters show up in the next movie, you’ll know which ants do what, for what its worth. But what I’m really looking forward to is seeing how the Quantum Realm relates to the larger Avengers storyline. I mean, it HAS to. Because another stand-alone plotline would not be very satisfying after what Thanos just did to the universe.

It’s still a well constructed movie; it’s just not very exciting. I don’t mind a ‘small’ story — I often prefer it — but it has to be good.

Movie Rewatch Grade: B

Read more on RunPee: 

The Ant Man Movie — Sexism and Real Ants

How the Quantum Realm Offers Possible Insights to Avengers 4

 

The Quantum Realm in Ant-Man 2 Offers Answers for Avengers 4

People are wondering why the big beautiful Avengers 3 – Infinity War is being followed so closely in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by, of all heroes, the Ant Man. With Ant-Man and the Wasp smashing across theaters July 6, we’ve barely had a moment to absorb the calamitous events of the Infinity War. Where, as you might have heard, a LOT OF STUFF happens. (If you haven’t seen it yet, GO NOW.)

Ant Man and the Wasp, strangely, will be the 20th film in the MCU. If you’ve been up to date with the Avengers, you might be curious why one of the lower ranking MCU heroes — who’s been on hiatus since Captain America 3: Civil War (on ‘house arrest,’ just like Hawkeye) — is the next star in this ten-year-old lineup of films. Why him? Why now?

[pullquote]Most people across the internet guessed that Ant Man and the Wasp was intended as a palette cleanser, serving up a comic, lighter fare to audiences — just like the original Ant Man in 2015 did for the heavier Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. But there may be more going on this time than previously assumed.[/pullquote]

———-

Spoilers for Avengers Infinity War to follow. Plus idle speculation about Ant Man and the Wasp. 

It seems like we NEED an Ant Man story right now. Remember the Pym Particle, and Hank Pym, and the Quantum Realm (QR for short)? The QR wasn’t a huge part of Ant Man in 2015, but we do know Hank’s wife is stuck there, and that Scott Lang somehow escaped it. He should have been trapped, “forever shrinking.” There’s a lot we don’t know about such a vast, and yet tiny, playground. Fans have assumed Scott and now Hope (as the Wasp) will be going back and getting Hank’s lost wife in their next outing.  Sounds good, right?

[pullquote position=”right”]But what if the QR provides a way to undo Thanos’s big universe killing snap, somehow?[/pullquote] Who else might know a few things about the QR?

Possibly Dr. Strange, who’s seen and done many “strange” things, especially in his own movie. He has a connection to space and time that goes beyond the Time Stone. And while he’s dust now, he did look into over 14 million timelines to see the ONE that works out for the good guys. Maybe he saw that Ant Man and the Wasp have something to do with this, on a sub-particle level.

Okay, who else might come into play? There’s the 21st movie in the MCU queue: Captain Marvel. At the very bitter end of the Infinity War, Nick Fury seemingly sends a page back in time to Ms. Marvel. What are her powers? Without using the comic books for reference, we have to assume there’s something Fury thought she could do to save the universe…and maybe bring back those who turned to ash. [pullquote]It’s possible the Quantum Realm, outside normal space and time, has to do with this. In which case, bringing the Ant Man back now makes sense. Maybe there’s more than just a need for lighthearted comedy on the larger MCU plate.[/pullquote]

Movie Web has this to say about our conjecture: “At this point in time, it seems that the exploration of the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man 2 will play a large part in Avengers 4, leading to a journey through time and space to reverse the snap of Thanos. Time travel was the guess from most fans of the MCU, but it seems that some interdimensional travel will be closer to what actually happens in the final movie of phase 3. The real question will be how they implement the Quantum Realm in Avengers 4 and who is able to come back.”

In this piece on Movie Web, they explore this idea more, focusing on Captain Marvel taking her own trip to the QR, and tying directly into Ant-Man’s oeuvre.

Inverse.com takes everything a huge step further, implying that Ant Man might not be a second string hero at all, but could potentially be the most powerful superhero. (I’d like to add that this doesn’t refer actually to Scott Lang, but potentially anyone using the suit to enter the QR.)

Here’s what Dr. Spiros Michalakis, quantum physicist, wrote in 2015: “[I]f someone could go to a place where the laws of physics as we know them were not yet formed, at a place where the arrow of time was broken and the fabric of space was not yet woven, the powers of such a master of the quantum realm would only be constrained by their ability to come back to the same (or similar) reality from which they departed. All the superheroes of Marvel and DC Comics combined would stand no chance against Ant-Man with a malfunctioning regulator.”

What this means: The Ant Man 2 movie might not be as fluffy as it appears. The trailers look fun and silly, the posters seem light enough, and the first movie had admittedly smallish stakes. Plus, it was almost entirely comedic. But right now, things in the MCU are dire. Ant Man and the Wasp might be a sneakily serious story, and of greater import than anyone previously suspected.

We’ll find out next week.

Read the RunPee Rewatch Review of Ant Man

Ant Man and Sexism: Real Ant Science

 

Tom Holland is an Adorable Bigmouth

You can’t trust some actors not to spoil their own movies. People like Mark Hamill and Mark Ruffalo can maybe be excused. Chris Pratt too. They didn’t grow up with the internet and Twitter, where everyone knows what’s been said within minutes (seconds, really). Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn doles out his spoilers on purpose whether we want them or not, just to break our hearts (thanks, Gunn…).

[pullquote]But then there’s happy go lucky Tom Holland, the world’s finally perfect  Spiderman. And Holland’s apparently as chatty as his superhero character.  🙂  [/pullquote]Benedict Cumberbatch, Marvel co-star from Avengers – Infinity War, is now amusingly being told to watch over his “inherited” ward (see video below). So, as the song goes, “Oops, [he] did it again…” and Holland leaked the supposedly secret name of his new movie.

And this isn’t even the first time Holland said movie things he should not have. Holland has been all over the web, dropping more secrets than Mark Ruffalo, the previous holder of Spoiler King.

STOP HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS

During a Seattle Ace Comic Con video, Holland said he has “no real revelations coming out this weekend about Spider-Man 2”…but then admitted he has the script for it, and showed the title directly on his iPad. The title is Far From Home. Um, Spidey, are you back to life and still stuck on Thanos’ home planet of Titan?

Want a nice laugh? Here’s Dr. Strange himself trying to rein in an overly exuberant Spiderman:

And here’s last year’s video of War Machine shooting Hulk a look after revealing a big spoiler for Avengers 3 – Infinity War: 

So, anyway, now you know the official title for the next Spiderman film, where, we assume, he will be somehow reconstituted. Spider-Man: Far From Home will be in theaters on July 5th, 2019

More, on RunPee.com:

Mark Hamill Reveals Possible Spoiler For Solo

All Movies Tagged with the Marvel Cinematic Universe