Avengers: Endgame Re-Release Extra Footage Explained

avengers endgame logo with the A
The End(game) of an era.

In an attempt to knock Avatar (2009) off the Biggest Box Office high horse, the Marvel Cinematic Universe opened their vaults and added some extra footage to Avengers: Endgame in a ‘re-release’.

Normally a re-release happens after a movie has been gone awhile, but with MCU fever still running high, Marvel Studios added six minutes of goodies to the end of Endgame before it ever left the theaters.

What follows are spoilers for the extra footage only of Avengers: Endgame, if that wasn’t obvious from the title. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t worry – this article won’t spoil any actual Endgame plot.

The Original Endgame Extras

First off, here’s what extra scenes appeared in the original theatrical release: none. Or, at least, nothing like the full-on bonus scenes we’re used to, the extra bits giving us a laugh or hinting to what’s to come next  in the MCU.

It does make sense to get “nothing”, when you consider how Endgame is the end of the Infinity Saga. (Spider-Man Far From Home is considered an epilogue.)

So, for those who saw Endgame opening week, the only things playing over the credits are:

1. A lovely bit where the Original Six Avengers sign off with their actors’ signatures over a few memorable call-back images.

2. Then nothing until the very end, when we hear an audio-only extra harkening back to the first Iron Man film in 2008. We wrote about that hammering sound here.

And that was it.

3. Until a few weeks later, when the studio added a nice long trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home.

The New Bonus Scenes

In  the July re-release, here are the extra six minutes Endgame got. This starts after the rolling credits end and the ‘hammering’ audio clip concludes:

  1. A loving tribute to Stan Lee. Since Endgame is the last movie to use Lee’s vast array of cameos (remember the long-haired hippy driver in the 70s flashback scene?), it makes a lot of sense to use some behind-the-scenes footage remembering this amazing man, and his contribution to the world of comics. It’s a sweet-natured look at Lee filming some of his best cameos, in a nice little video. Well done, Marvel, well done. RIP Stan Lee.
  2. Second, we have an introduction by Endgame director Anthony Russo, thanking the fans for sticking around. He says: “As you may have noticed, we packed a lot into this movie. There are a lot of characters, a lot of action, a lot of emotion, and I think a lot of fun. But, believe it or not, we shot some scenes that needed to be cut. I know, the movie could have been even longer!”
  3. Next, we get an unfinished bonus scene with the Hulk. We see what he’s been up to since we saw him last: saving people (here from a burning building), right before taking a call from Steve Rogers. Clearly, this is meant to happen right before the “Hulk Lunch Scene.” While the Hulk himself is an animated version inserted into real footage, he’s still got Mark Ruffalo’s face.
  4. The last thing is a fully-finished scene introducing the coming jeopardy in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Nick Fury and Maria Hill show up in Mexico to a town ravaged by a cyclone “with a face”. They meet Mysterio, who tells Fury and Hill, ” You don’t want any part of this,” cuing the next action scene.

One More Extra Goodie

I also got a nifty Avengers: Endgame commemorative poster, just for showing up again. Marvel, I love you 3000.

So, Is This Working to Get Butts Back In Seats?

I’d say, most definitively, yes. I went to the theater Saturday night (July 15th) and the screening room for Avengers: Endgame was PACKED. There were only a couple of empty seats left in the front. And the audience was very much into the spirit of things: laughing at the jokes, gasping in horror at the shocks. Endgame fever is clearly still running high. I’m glad to see it.

Did Endgame Beat Out Avatar?

Will Endgame knock Avatar off the throne? It kind of doesn’t matter. The Infinity Saga has been an incredible ride for 11 years and 23 movies, with even the worst film (The Incredible Hulk) being far from bad. At RunPee, we’ve had to grade each entry on a curve, because they are so consistently good. The only useful grading system is to weigh their merits against each other. If they all get an A, then how can we talk about which are better? (The short answer is to rank them in tiers of bottom, middle, and top, which we also covered here.)

So it’s already won. Knocking Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Titanic out of the running was exciting, and it would neat to be part of a world-wide event ousting Avatar. I don’t see any other movie coming close to this honor — but since we’re talking the cream of the box office crop, they, and we, are all winners.

It’s not over until it’s over, and it seems that Marvel Studios will do #WhateverItTakes. We’ll keep our eyes out for you and give a final report when all is said and done.

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

Movie Review – Spider-Man: Far from Home – Fun, but a little underwhelming

RIP Stan Lee – you will be missed

Avatar – plot too simple? Actually, a good idea.

Spider-Man & Iron Man – Lyrics to Back in Black by AC/DC

spider man far from home
Back in Red and (eventually) Black

Starting way back in 2008 with Iron Man‘s use of I Am Iron-Man and, yes, Back in Black, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has never been shy of using classic rock hits in their superhero movies. While 2019’s Spiderman: Far From Home doesn’t have as many rocking songs as Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s got a winning use of AC/DC’s Back In Black.

Why Back in Black Works So Well

For one thing, Peter Parker makes a hilarious mistake when Happy Hogan gives him some of Stark’s favorite music to work to, shouting he loves “Led Zeppelin!” This makes us oldsters grimace in sympathetic understanding with poor Happy. Remember, Peter thinks Aliens is an “old movie.” (Ouch.)

It also reminds us of Tony Stark’s love of classic rock, in a beautiful bit of unspoken narrative.

Finally, on a meta-level, the song’s title is perfect. This is something the MCU does well — like their cute use of The Kink’s Supersonic Rocketship to stand for Rocket Raccoon’s actual spaceship. For Back In Black specifically, look at the costumes Spider-Man wears in Far From Home. One is entirely black — as “The Night Monkey” — followed by one he makes using Stark’s nano-tech, ditching the garish red-blue look for a spiffier red-black suit.

Here’s the video used for the Back in Black “full Iron Man intro scene”  (which really brings things full circle, as Happy’s little smile shows), followed by the song lyrics:

Something cute if you read the comments on YouTube: the amount of attention this video has from folks looking for Back in Back after seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home. Yes, Iron Man used it first. Ultimately, it’s a great callback to the ‘heir’ of Tony Stark, just as neat as Tony’s killer line at the climax of Avengers: Endgame.

Back in Black Lyrics (Live at River Plate 2009, by AC/DC)

Back in black
I hit the sack
I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back
Yes, I’m let loose
From the noose
That’s kept me hanging about
I’ve been looking at the sky
‘Cause it’s gettin’ me high
Forget the hearse ’cause I never die
I got nine lives
Cat’s eyes
Abusin’ every one of them and running wild

‘Cause I’m back
Yes, I’m back
Well, I’m back
Yes, I’m back
Well, I’m back, back
Well, I’m back in black
Yes, I’m back in black

Back in the back
Of a Cadillac
Number one with a bullet, I’m a power pack
Yes, I’m in a bang
With a gang
They’ve got to catch me if they want me to hang
‘Cause I’m back on the track
And I’m beatin’ the flack
Nobody’s gonna get me on another rap
So look at me now
I’m just makin’ my play
Don’t try to push your luck, just get out of my way

‘Cause I’m back
Yes, I’m back
Well, I’m back
Yes, I’m back
Well, I’m back, back
Well, I’m back in black
Yes, I’m back in black

Well, I’m back, yes I’m back
Well, I’m back, yes I’m back
Well, I’m back, back
Well I’m back in black
Yes I’m back in black

Ho yeah
Oh yeah
Yes I am
Oh yeah, yeah oh yeah
Back in now
Well I’m back, I’m back
Back, (I’m back)
Back, (I’m back)
Back, (I’m back)
Back, (I’m back)
Back
Back in black
Yes I’m back in black
Out of the sight

[Songwriters: Angus Young / Brian Johnson / Malcolm Young
Back In Black (Live at River Plate 2009) lyrics © BMG Rights Management]

PS: Some commentators are saying Tony Stark uses a peace sign in every MCU movie in honor of that soldier in the scene linked above…can anyone confirm he does this, ever, and where?

Lyrics and Video to Blitzkrieg Bop from Spider-Man – Homecoming

Movie Review – Spider-Man: Far from Home – Fun, but a little underwhelming

Movie Review – Iron Man – Genius, Philanthropist, etc who started it all

Movie Review – Spider-Man: Far from Home – Fun, but a little underwhelming

 

Movie Review - Spider-Man: Far from HomeI liked Spider-Man: Far From Home. I liked it a lot. But I didn’t love it, and that surprised me.

I adore Tom Holland‘s version of Spider-Man, and think he’s the best Peter Parker ever done, no question. (Notice how this sidesteps Miles Morales‘ stunning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse quite nicely.) And every appearance by MCU’s Spider-Man, from Civil War to Endgame, sparkled with wit and verve.

I rewatched Spider-Man: Homecoming to get ready for Spidey’s ‘European Vacation’. I was again taken with how absolutely lovely, charming, funny, and exciting Peter Parker’s first solo outing was. (With one of Marvel’s better villains, to boot.)

Far From Home was enjoyable, but not up to the level I expected. Some nits to pick (with spoilers for Avengers: Endgame):

– Ned wasn’t The Chair Guy this time. He was mostly sidelined. Ned had funny lines, but was no longer Spider-Man’s sidekick. Making him foolish — and a damsel in distress, even — didn’t sit right.

– Peter was too low-key. I get that he’s been through a lot, and mourns Iron-Man like a father, but EVERYONE in the post-post-post Snap world (yes, there were three Snaps, remember?) is suffering. His friends seemed fine. I would have written Spidey as his usual irrepressible self who’d get sad when reminders of Tony Stark hit him out of nowhere. Grief is like that: you’re grooving along until you get a gut-punch reminder.

– There wasn’t enough care and attention paid to how Earth is handling the new reality: billions of people returning to life five years later. Yes, it was alluded to a few times, but I expected more. And Europe seemed to truck on with no problems at all. Even seeing some of the homelessness and ruin in the background would have helped keep the sense of continuity alive. The MCU usually provides better world-building than that.

– I missed the fun rock and pop music that made Homecoming so fun. (We did get one rock hit underscoring a poignant/funny moment, but I won’t spoil it.)

– And another nit: Spider-Man is the only A-List hero left on Earth? After 23 movies packed with super beings, I can’t buy that.

So, Where Were the Other Avengers?

As said, in-movie:

Dead:

Not mentioned, but should be around for Fury to call upon:

  • Professor Hulk
  • War Machine (who’s basically an Iron Man already)
  • Ant-Man
  • Wasp
  • Scarlet Witch (who should be able to wipe the floor with anyone)
  • Valkyrie, Korg, and a whole city of Asgardians
  • Black Panther, Shuri, and a whole country of Wakandans
  • Falcon (AKA new Cap)
  • The Winter Soldier/White Wolf
  • Hawkeye (I presume he returned to retirement…)
  • Pepper Potts-Stark is at least name-dropped (apparently she doesn’t want to use her Iron Suit any more than Peter does, for the same reason)
  • Lots of minor heroes could also be asked to ‘step up’…this could be a whole article. Which I’ll probably write, if there’s interest.

Again, those are mostly nits. But there’s one big problem, and for that I have to give Spider-Man FFH a B grade. That’s hard to do, since I loved a lot of it. I am a huge MCU fan, a Tom Holland-as-Spidey fan…and I really do think this is the best genre movie out right now (not including the Endgame re-release). But since we at RunPee tend to grade the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a curve, I’d have to rank this as a “middle tier” movie. MAN, I hate saying this.

It might have been that all the major plot points of FFH were spoiled for me, but I normally love anything the MCU does, so that shouldn’t have mattered.

Where Spider-Man: Far From Home Faltered

The single biggest problem is the bad guys are kind of an underwhelming/overwhelming mess. They are huge; they are CGI, and have no personality or motivation whatsoever…or even facial expressions. How is that supposed to be fun to watch? It doesn’t matter that that part doesn’t matter (have to be vague), but it made every fight with The Elementals boring. They felt more like the worst kind of bad guys done in the DC Universe (on the level of Incubus or Steppenwolf, or all the other villains no one remembers).

MCU has the occasional villain problem, but nothing as bad as these guys.

The point is, it doesn’t matter that the Elementals are [redacted for spoilers]: they still got too much screen time. They brought the movie down. Watching European landmarks get destroyed isn’t entertaining by itself. Even Godzilla has a personality.

Notice I’m not mentioning Mysterio. Or the promised Multi-Verse. I can’t go into any of this without spoilers, and this review is already too long. Suffice to say if Iron Man had a love child with Dr. Strange, you’d kind of get Mysterio. The trippy, psychedelic stuff was the best part of the action. It’s too bad they couldn’t get Dr. Strange on the phone. I’ll stop there.

Overall, How’s Spider-Man: Far From Home?

I’m making a bigger deal out of the Villain Problem than I meant to. Far From Home is still a super fun film, with laughs, school trip shenanigans, great on-location scenery, emotional moments, and a fun class reunion with Peter Parker’s (conveniently) co-blipped pals. And Happy Hogan stole every scene from Peter, which I didn’t expect. Tony Stark’s absence was keenly felt, but his character still managed to permeate the story, and even drew one of the best laughs.

So, yeah, absolutely see the 23rd movie officially closing out the Infinity Saga. It’s the last MCU film we’re getting this year. (We don’t yet know when Phase 4 will begin.) Far From Home really has some great moments and a lot of heart, so go and enjoy yourselves, Elementals be damned. 🙂

PS: The extra scenes over the credits are AWESOME. The implication are pretty big (for one of them) and pretty cool (for the other).

PPS: Also, in the background at near the end of the movie, there’s a building mural Peter swings slowly by that reads: “We can’t wait to show you what happens next!” Clearly that’s a message about Phase 4 from the MCU. Nice nod.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 3 good Peetimes, spaced out nicely through the movie.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Spider-Man: Far from Home. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Superhero, MCU

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

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

The entire MCU Movie Order – Several Options for your pre-Avengers Endgame Watch or Rewatch

Stan Lee – His Favorite Marvel Characters

Marvel Phase 4 Predictions – Some MCU Sure-Fire Guesses

 

The Conjuring Universe Explained


With 2 mainline movies and 5 spin-off movies filling out the Conjuring Universe, no one would blame you for getting lost in Annabelle’s eyes… I mean getting lost in slight confusion. Obviously there are spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen these movies, then read at your own risk. But either way, we are going to start with the one thing that connects them all — the Warrens.

The Conjuring is where we start. Here we meet Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed and Lorraine are paranormal investigators who just so happen to have a room in their house filled with haunted/cursed items. This is essentially the thing that holds this universe together. In the room we can find Annabelle, among many other things that all help connect this universe. But let’s talk about Lorraine. 

Lorraine is a clairvoyant, meaning she can perceive events in the future beyond sensory contact. This may not exactly make sense, but if you watch just the first Conjuring you’ll understand what it means. With that said, all you need to know is that when Lorraine helps with a case, a little bit of the case becomes a part of her. So this is where we get into The Nun. In The Conjuring 2 the Warrens, and Lorraine in particular, are haunted by the Nun. But how did the nun get there?

Let’s go back to 1952, when the movie The Nun takes place (and let’s use a few spark notes.) Basically an abbey is haunted, and three people go in to try to find out what’s going on. The abbey is haunted by the nun named Valak, who just so happens to be a demon from hell. Valak the demon managed to possess a nun that killed herself so Valak could take the body for itself. So, long story short, a portal to hell was opened and that’s how she got there to begin– with but at the end of the movie when the good guys manage to close the portal, Valak possesses 1 of the 3 good guys (a man known as Frenchie).

So Valak is now on the move inside of Frenchie. Now, we jump back to The Conjuring where we see when Ed and Lorraine are giving a lecture. They show a video of Frenchie having an exorcism performed on him, where by no accident Ed and Lorraine Warren are there to help. Obviously they didn’t know he came with so much baggage, but Lorraine happens to touch Frenchie and now Valak has attached itself to Lorraine. This is how Valak is present in The Conjuring 2. 

Now with one big baddie out of the way, let talk about the next: Annabelle. How did Annabelle come to be? Simple. When young Annabelle Mullins loses her life to a tragic accident, her parents start praying to whoever will listen and bring her back. Little did they know they prayed to the wrong people. The demon ended up getting permission to move into the Annabelle doll and decided to turn things up to 11. As it turns out, a demon was pretending to be their little girl in order to get a soul from them. 

Years later, when an orphanage stays at the Mullins place, the demon takes ahold of one girl named Janice. By the end of Annabelle Creation, we see that Janice, still possessed, managed to escape the orphanage and eventually got adopted. Sounds like a happy ending, except for the fact that Janice grows up under the name Annabelle and joins a satanic cult. Eventually grown-up Janice (now Annabelle) goes and kills her adoptive parents with her boyfriend, and eventually herself. And on top of that, it turns out the Annabelle doll is still possessed. We see this happen in the first Annabelle movie. 

So in the first Annabelle movie we follow the Form family, as their neighbors just so happened to be the adopted parents of Janice. Of course the Forms have a doll collection which includes the possessed Annabelle doll. The Annabelle doll does her thing and eventually gets another soul, and the demon is satisfied. Until we get back to The Conjuring, where we see that the girls who got the Annabelle doll next invited a demon to live in the doll once again.

So at this point the Warrens obtain and contain the possessed Annabelle doll. 

Now with Annabelle, we get to the newest installment in the series, Annabelle Comes Home. This one takes place in between The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 and explains that the Annabelle doll is a beacon for demons. Which would explain how one can come and go so frequently with this franchise. With the next movie planned being The Conjuring 3, all you need to know is Annabelle is contained and possessed very much still. Valak has been banished but probably not completely, and we might see some Easter eggs from The Curse of La Llorona

And with that said, that’s basically the confusing winding road of the Conjuring Universe explained. There are a few minor details, like how Father Perez from Annabelle shows up in The Curse of La Llorona, making that movie tie in loosely with the Conjuring Universe, but that’s about it. And these movies, quite frankly, like to add additional bits every chance they get, but also retcon some details or forget to explain something every now and again. Or maybe it’s just that I didn’t understand. Who knows? But I now have explained all of this, and honestly I might’ve gone insane. 🙂

Movie Review – Annabelle Comes Home

Movie Review – The Conjuring

Movie Review – The Curse of La Llorona – A Good Scary Time in the Conjuring Universe

 

Movie Review – Annabelle Comes Home

Movie Review - Annabelle Comes HomeI enjoyed Annabelle enough to garner a solid B+. I was hoping for a perfect A, but wasn’t blown away.

It’s a good movie. There were several times I had chill bumps over my entire body and the audience seemed to share my feelings. I heard a bunch of screams and I was lucky enough to be in a lively theater. (I love hearing people talk to the screen.)

I’m wondering if they are going to keep this franchise going. They have the perfect in with the daughter Judy. She has the same talent as her mother — Lorraine Warren. I’d like to see more of this elusive doll. There is something fascinating about Annabelle that draws me in.

This weekend we have plans to go back and see it as a family. Yes, we are taking the grandchild, because that’s how we roll. Our amazing Savannah is going to be turned into Annabelle. She will be a perfect recreation of this ever-so-popular doll.

It’s a fun film I will recommend. They were able to weave in plenty of humor, which is why it stood out. When you can be scared to the point of jumping, and in the very next moment you laugh, that’s a job well done.

Enjoy yourselves, and if you see a little Annabelle running around the theater, fret not, it’s just Savannah…or is it?

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: There are 2 great Peetimes to use. I highly recommend the 2nd one since there is absolutely no dialog.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Annabelle Comes Home. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for horror violence and terror
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Sequel

The Conjuring – movie review

Movie Review – The Curse of La Llorona – A Good Scary Time in the Conjuring Universe

Movie Review – The Nun

 

Top Toy Story Adventures You May Have Missed

Toy Story 4 is finally here.  Everyone knows and loves Buzz and Woody.  But do you remember the time Buzz got lost in the ball pit at Poultry Palace?  Or the time Rex held a rave in the bath tub? Or the creepy hotel where the toys started disappearing?  If not, there are some adventures you may have missed. Buzz and the gang have appeared in more than just the three feature-length films most us know them from.  If you need to catch up, we’ve got your back. Here are the Toy Story adventures you may have missed and where to find them.

Toy Story Toons:  These three Pixar shorts all take place after Toy Story 3 and involve the toys adapting to their new life with Bonnie.  

Hawaiian Vacation

History:  This cartoon originally played before Cars 2.

Plot:  When Ken and Barbie miss out on Bonnie’s Hawaiian vacation, the other toys recreate Hawaii in Bonnie’s room for them.  

Where to find it:  Available as a bonus feature on the Cars 2 DVD and Blu-ray

Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Small Fry

History:  This cartoon originally played before The Muppets in 2011.

Plot:  Buzz is replaced by a miniature fast food toy version of himself in a case of mistaken identity.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Partysaurus Rex

History:  This cartoon originally played before the 3-D re-release of Finding Nemo in 2012.

 

Plot:  Rex learns to relax and have fun with the help of the bath time toys.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available as a bonus feature on the 3D Blu-ray and updated Blu-ray of Monsters, Inc.

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

TV Specials

These specials are also set after Toy Story 3 and the toys belong with Bonnie.

Toy Story of Terror!

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in October of 2013.  

Plot:  The toys are on a road trip with Bonnie and her mother when the car gets a flat tire.  They have to stay at a motel for the night. One by one, toys start to go missing.

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital (It comes with all three Toy Story Toons as a bonus feature.)  

 

Toy Story That Time Forgot

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in December of 2014.  

Plot:  Buzz, Woody, Trixie, and Rex have a playdate with the Battlesaurs who are dangerously unaware that they are toys.   

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital

 

If you’re a fan of the Toy Story Universe, these are definitely worth your time.  Even though they aren’t feature length, the same thought and care has been put into these shorter cartoons.  They even include the same celebrity voice cast. These make a great appetizer to whet your palette for Part 4, or as a dessert after seeing it.  Especially since Toy Story 4 will be the first Pixar movie to be shown without a short since the original Toy Story.

You know what else is worth your time?  Our amazing app that tells you when to pee during all the wide release movies and if there are scenes after the credits. Never miss an important movie moment again with the RunPee app.  Be sure to use it when you see Toy Story 4. Or any other kid flick this summer! We’ve already got Peetimes for Aladdin and The Secret Life of Pets 2.  And we’ll have Peetimes for The Lion King and Artemis Fowl, so you won’t miss a second of movie magic. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee for the latest movie news. 

Incredibles 2 & the Success of Animated Movie Sequels

Virgin Movie Review – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

First View Movie Review – Jumanji (1995)

Newbie Movie Review – Suicide Squad (2016)

margot robbie as harleyquinn in suicide squad
What? We’re bad guys.

Surprise, Surprise. Justice League is Actually a Good DC Flick

Movie Truism: Maybe going into a movie with low expectations makes it better. I didn’t bother to see DC’s highly anticipated 2016 Suicide Squad in the theaters because it was so lowly-regarded among critics and viewers alike. So I just let it slip by.

Cut to 2019. When I heard James Gunn  — beloved director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — was taking over the creative reins of Suicide Squad 2 (as a ‘soft’ reboot), hope flared anew that finally DC would have a group film brilliant enough, funny enough, and just damn worthy enough to counter the amazing ensembles produced by the MCU.

A Whole Lot of Good

The stars of Suicide Squad come down to two charismatic roles — Will Smith’s Deadshot — a decent man trapped by a nasty super-skill set, and Margo Robbie’s gleefully, lethally, nutso Harley Quinn.

Here’s Quinn’s efficient backstory from the movie:

Honestly, I enjoyed the whole misfit group. There was a one-take moment where I grinned from ear to ear, as the misfit crew executes a dynamic Hero Shot. It’s an expected trope in superhero films, right? In Suicide Squad, it felt earned and triumphant…until the next second, where you realized, hey, this is a Villain Shot. An Anti-Hero Shot? An Anti-Villain Shot? The sheer amount of dissonance was delightful.

(Some spoilers for Suicide Squad 1 follow)

This is good story making. Really. Suicide Squad had a ton of viewer treats that broke from DC’s usual grim-is-good comic world. I too wanted to see “The Bat” put away: as Quinn says, “He ruins all the fun.” Batman shows up, but he’s relegated to the background. Superman’s only mentioned in passing. Good and good. This isn’t about them.

There are so many Easter Eggs in the background, with great signage, throwaway lines, and outright allusions to other characters inside the DC universe and out. [They even predicted 2019’s “Evil Superman” Brightburn! ] This is some lively shit.

Another treat: the appropriately brief cameo of Flash. (Ezra Miller can do a lot in a small role, and was a bright spot in the mostly dreary Justice League.)

Suicide Squad has Two Great Music Tracks

As on Guardians of the Galaxy (which Suicide Squad was supposed to mirror) the extensive rock playlist is perfectly used. It’s great that movies list their songs during the credits, so I can remember to add them to my tune rotations. Suicide Squad leaned heavily into The Rolling Stones, which felt just right.

The second track — that instrumental background music we generally consider the “soundtrack” — was top-notch. In my notes, I scribbled several scenes where the music greatly underscored a character’s growth, emotional confusion, or was just plain…well…heroic. No other way to put it.

Another movie truism: bad guys can be heroes, and heroes can be bad guys. I think DC’s entire oeuvre is an ode to this concept.  (Exceptions: Wonder Woman and maybe Shazam.)

I’ll say this, though — the over-reliance on Queen tunes in genre films is starting to wear on me. When a scene perfectly uses a song in one film, said tune should be retired, like a great athlete’s number. So hearing Bohemian Rhapsody used by this crew was a nice moment, but as far as I’m concerned, BoRhap belongs to the wonderfully wacky Wayne’s World, forever. Can’t Stop Me Now was jarring in The Umbrella Academy, because why would anyone want to compete with the iconic zombie scene in the Winchester in Shaun of the Dead? (“Kill the Queen!”) And ripping Spirit in the Sky off the back of Guardians of the Galaxy went beyond homage.

Exposition and the Suicide Squad Characters

This is how you do it. With a large cast of super powered and/or crazy people to introduce, the best solution is to make the movie about THEM, not a MacGuffin plot. In a surprisingly smart move, that’s what Suicide Squad did. I loved the stylized flashback scenes of these criminals doing what they do best, their blink-fast list of skills, and how they each got taken down. These were very amusing scenes. Killer Crock especially was a hoot (Crock doesn’t seem actually evil, unlike most of the crew). His line about being beautiful was unexpected and well-played.

We also got some meaningful scenes with DeadShot in a text-book example of how to tell an emotional backstory in an efficient, effective way.

Speaking of DeadShot, he was a natural group leader, and Will Smith carried the movie effortlessly. Strangely, Smith apparently bugged on the James Gunn Suicide Squad 2 sequel. The news is Idris Alba is slated to recast Smith, which seems like a fair trade. Alba is the man, woefully underused as Heimdall in the MCU.

How About The Big Bad?

What really brought Suicide Squad down was the villain, and here I mean The Incubus. I’ll treat him separately from his sister, The Enchantress.

Actually, I don’t have time to discuss bad writing. The Incubus has zero development and isn’t worth delving into. He’s overpowered and boring. Next!

The Enchantress showed some promise in her CGI form, but when little June Moon started writhing around, it looked ridiculous. I appreciated the line that Mankind worships machines instead of gods now, but nothing was done with that intriguing concept. Fail. I don’t care. Bad villains are an ongoing superhero problem, but I mostly ignore that at this point.

An ensemble origin movie isn’t about who they fight, in any case. It’s about  group-building and world-building, which Suicide Squad got very right.

And the Joker?

Now, let’s talk about the real controversial role: Jared Leto’s Joker. So many Jokers over the years. Some get it right. All are distinctive.

I’ve got my favorites, but Leto’s not one of them: I’ll just say I’m glad his role was little more than an extended cameo. Let’s keep it that way in the sequel. Quinn on her own is much more fun and I prefer her out of the Joker’s shadow. With the Suicide crew she’s a fascinatingly deranged soul, instead of being a pet to the Joker. (Seriously, he whistles for her like a dog.)

I’ll give this Joker one thing: he had one deeply interesting line. It resonated so strongly for me that I wrote it down to think about —

“Desire becomes surrender…surrender becomes power.”

Suicide Squad, Overall

Something I hoped Suicide Squad would do is create real stakes and jeopardy…where not everyone you like is going to make it out alive. I had a feeling who that would be if they went there, and was satisfied with the payout when they did. It’s a brave gamble to take when you’re working with an ensemble you’re hoping to grow.

However, I didn’t buy their warm family feelings after sharing feelings over a few drinks, but I’ll give them this — bonds can form fast in life-threatening situations. And they had so much in common on a fundamental level: severely misguided people, good at being bad, damaged moral compasses, isolated, frequently abused, seen as the dregs of humanity, then abandoned in a dark hole with no hope of atonement.

Still, I’ll forgive some storytelling shortcuts in a movie this amusing.  With Gunn in the saddle, I’ve high hopes for Suicide Squad 2.

Color me pleased. I’m happy to add a third movie to the DCEU that I actually enjoyed, along with Wonder Woman and Shazam.

(BTW, stay through to the end credit scenes. Justice League was no Avengers, but it was thrilling to see JL’s inception anyway.)

Movie Grade: B

Guardians of the Galaxy Ex-Director James Gunn to Direct Suicide Squad 2

Movie Review – Batman vs. Superman

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

Is Shazam Part of the DC Universe or a Stand-Alone Film? How Shazam Could Fix the DCEU

Avengers Endgame Song and Lyrics to Supersonic Rocketship

The Bentatar stranded in space in Endgame
Rocket and his Supersonic Rocketship

Rock Music in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you’re paying at all attention to the music during the already overcrammed events in Avengers Endgame, you’ll notice a few classic rock songs stand out. This technique’s been in play since Iron Man, but really ramped up with Guardians of the Galaxy and just kept on that path.

Warning: Spoilers follow for Endgame.

Endgame is no different. The Marvel Studio Credits sequence play, usually, to the same orchestral Avenger’s themes we’re used to. Endgame logos opens with a soft credits sequence set to Mr. Fantasy (just another way Endgame chose to stand out from 22 years of world-building and as a saga coda), and there are a few more 70s rock hits along the way.

When Supersonic Rocketship Plays in Endgame

My favorite is Supersonic Rocketship, when Peter Quill’s — now Rocket’s — ship (The Benatar) lands while poor Ant Man has his taco blown away by the jet’s engines. Professor Hulk sweetly hands hims two new ones (the big green guy now has a lot of food at all times), and smiles at him. This is a nice moment, since everyone else in Endgame treats him with zero respect, starting with Tony Stark, and ending with Rocket himself. (“Does the puppy want to go to SPACE?”)

Then Hulk and Rocket, the two Avengers left who care most about, Thor get in the back of an old pickup to head to new Asgard (a Norway fjord town), to convince a guilt-devoured Thor to rejoin ‘the team’ to take on Thanos. Thor refuses to even speak his name, in spite of delivering the killing blew. (“I went for the head.”) Thor spent the last five years self-medicating in New Asgard with junk food, booze, and video games, hiding out with fan favorite Korg and their little buddy Meik. When Rocket promised there’s beer on the ship, Thor agrees to come along.

The Kinks’ Supersonic Rocketship mostly plays during the truck ride to New Asgard, but it’s a perfect song choice. The happy chords and silly lyrics are perfect, since Quill’s ship is now Rocket Ship’s by default (get it), and he’s planning let the team ‘use it at their disposal if they feel so inclined,” as the lyrics go. A lot of this song is really perfect, and at the time of the narrative has a fittingly happy quality it.

Listen to the song below and see how well this works in the film. A complete list of the lyrics follow the music video. Enjoy!

Lyrics to Supersonic Rocketship

(Performed by The Kinks, 1927)

Let me take you on a little trip
My supersonic ship’s at your disposal
If you feel so inclined. Well alright.
We’re gonna travel faster than light
So do up your overcoat tight
And you’ll go anywhere you want to decide. Well alright.
Too many people side by side
Got no place to hide.

On my supersonic rocket ship
Nobody has to be hip
Nobody needs to be out of sight. Out of sight.
Nobody’s gonna travel second class
There’ll be equality
And no suppression of minorities. Well alright.
We’ll take this planet, shake it round
And turn it upside down.
My supersonic rocket ship.

It ain’t no magic, ain’t no lie,
You’ll laugh so loud you’ll cry.
Up and down, round and round
On my supersonic rocket ship.

Let me take you on a little trip
My supersonic ship’s at your disposal
If you feel so inclined. Well alright.
Nobody’s gonna travel second class
There’ll be equality
And no suppression of minorities. Well alright.

Let me take you on a little trip
On my supersonic rocket ship…

[Songwriters: Ray Davies
Supersonic Rocket Ship lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC]

Avengers Cameo – That random kid in Endgame is someone we’ve seen before

Avengers: Endgame – What was that hammer sound in the credits?

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

Movie Review – X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Movie Review - X-Men: Dark PhoenixThe X-Men Universe, produced by 20th Century Fox,  had a twenty year run. Now that it’s over, they should be applauded for the influence they’ve had on the superhero movie genre.

Fox movie assets are now owned by Disney. That means the X-Men can, at some point, be wrapped into the MCU with the Avengers.

Dark Phoenix was produced before the Disney purchase. It was intended to be a bridge between the previous X-Men Universe and a newly imagined X-Men Universe with a new and young generation of mutants. Instead it stands as an unintended swan song to the X-Men as we know them. Which makes it a shame it had to end with such an underwhelming effort.

The Dark Phoenix story is an absurd mess. Let’s start with the villain… Okay, I’m not even sure where to start with that. Never has a superhero villain been so poorly imagined. Vuk, played by Jessica Chastain, has barely more than a cameo role. You wouldn’t even know the villain’s name except it’s shown just once in a subtitle. Even Xavier himself refers to the villain as: that thing, that woman, I don’t know what.

And what do we know about that “spark/solar flair” thing? We get one line of exposition from Vuk: “It’s the spark that brought life to the universe and now goes around destroying planets, including my own.”

What? How does that even make sense? Lazy storytelling much?

Who’s the Villain, Really?

Maybe Vuk and this spark/thing aren’t really the villains. Maybe Jean Grey is the villain. Which could have worked brilliantly if they hadn’t introduced Vuk/spark in the first place. Take the entire alien storyline out and just build up Jean a little more. There’s plenty of material there for us to relate to in our everyday lives, as an “internal demon” takes over a loved one and how their family copes with it, and then reconciles their feelings.

That’s what the X-Men have always represented: family. But in Dark Phoenix they tried to have it both ways, which drowned all the potential this movie started out with.

Grade: D-

About The Peetimes: The movie is full short, choppy, scenes that made it difficult to get good Peetimes. The 2 best Peetimes are the 3rd and 4th. Both work well, but are only around 3 minutes long.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Every X-Men Film Explained

X-Men: Apocalypse (movie review)

X-Men: Days of Future Past – movie review

Movie review : X-Men First Class

A Godzilla Newbie Watches King of the Monsters

godzilla rodan king of the monsters
Rodan erupts in Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Having not seen any of the previous Godzilla movies, I’m not sure what I was expecting going in to see this 4th film. I had no notion what was coming, other than ‘large monsters destroying cities’. The beginning of the movie does a fair job filling the viewer in to what’s going on, but there could have been more, I thought. Once it got going, however, it was a nonstop thrill ride.

The sheer plethora of monsters was very satisfying. Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidora were joined by other unnamed monsters. These Titans, as they’re called, could be the Earth’s destruction or salvation.

It all depends on which scientist you ask. A corporation of scientists by the name of Monarch nominated itself the keeper of the monsters. However, the government wants the military to control this group.

Then a threat comes from an outside and unexpected source.

The special effects were fantastic. The Titans came alive on the screen. It reminded me of the first time I saw Jurassic Park. Those dinosaurs were believable, as are these monsters. The fight scenes are very satisfying. Add in the military’s weaponry and you have yourself a recipe for a spectacular bout.

The script is a bit rushed. It seems as though the producer really just wanted those Titan scenes, and everything else was a means to get there. Revelations are made, but the viewer is given no chance to digest the information before we are thrown into another battle. It’s all just treated as filler almost.

Which is sad, because the film has a great cast that are mostly overrun. The only two who leave a lasting impression are Ken Watanabe (Inception, The Last Samurai) as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) as Madison Russel. Even the “bad guys” are just blah.

Overall, the film is a fun ride if what you’re looking for is a good action movie with great monsters. Just don’t expect to come away with something intellectually thrilling.

Grade: B

Our Modern Godzilla – Grading Legendary’s Monsterverse (plus Godzilla 1998)

Movie Review – Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Movie Review of Kong – Skull Island

Virgin Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – Not as bad as the last one

Rewatch Review – Godzilla (1998) – More overthinking than this film deserves