Movie Review – Gemini Man

 

Movie Review - Gemini ManNothing amazing, nothing awful. This is a stylish little film where every actor gives it their all and makes a nice 2 hour action excursion.

Here’s a Pro-Tip for audiences: wait for this to come out on streaming. While old and young Will Smith both look great ( I suspect they aged up one version and de-aged the other — meeting somewhere in the middle), they both look like super fit, handsome men. And both have his trademark humor.

Benedict Wong is a wonderful addition, proving he can be more than just a sidekick MCU wizard. More Wong, please, in better films? K, thx.

What else to say about Gemini Man?

The good guys and bad guys are all somewhat sympathetic. What price should freedom cost in our nation/world? This is for better minds than mine to decipher…although I lean on the side of the Hippocratic Oath: DO NO HARM.

I’m sure politicians would find me hopelessly naive. Even Sci Fi shows like Men in Black find it better to keep humanity in the dark in dark times.

Gemini Man, Overall:

So: there are MANY exciting films coming down the pike for the upcoming holiday Blockbuster season. Save your dough. The FX here are middlin’, and the story is fine…but not great. A good film to catch at home.

PERSONAL PLEA: Will!!! Smith!!! Please return to the Suicide Squad 2 fold. You can’t go wrong with Director James Gunn. Robbie and you were the only reasons the origin story even worked. Gemini has no franchise future. Go have fun being a super-person instead!

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: In a movie with this much action and surprises, it was hard to find good Peetimes, so use these and be quick. Here are 4 decent Peetimes with no crucial action and just a bit of exposition. The 2nd Peetime is much longer/better than the others, if that helps you decide which is best to use. This is not a long movie, but a lot happens.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Gemini Man. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Ad Astra

 

Movie Review - Ad AstraThis is a very intense and thought provoking movie. I can’t write the review today, but I’ll give it a B grade for now. I saw in in IMAX, which I recommend for the best “space” experience, and for the constant extreme closeups on Brad Pitt’s face.

Suffice to say for now the film (which means To The Stars in Latin) is extremely low key and existential. And is sort of about God without being anything about God at all.

Much to add later. I’m sure future classes about philosophy will eat this movie for lunch and dinner.

D-Box Experience
You really feel the experience of the rocket ship at take off and some feeling of what it is like when they are weightless in space. For this movie, I would give the D-Box experience a 5 out of 10.  (Special thanks to Troy Borysko for the input.)

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Although the movie is 2 hours, it was easy to find Peetimes. It’s a slow, contemplative film, with a lot of ‘scenery’ scenes, and closeups of Brad Pitt talking to himself. I recommend the 3rd Peetime at the halfway point — it’s a nice long break with nothing going on. A lot of people (like a dozen!) got up just before the climax and missed the best part of the film. So go proactively at the one-hour mark.

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

Rated (PG-13) for some violence and bloody images, and for brief strong language
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – The Matrix

 

Movie Review - The MatrixAfter reading RunPee Dan’s amazing retrospective on “The Matrix After 20 Years“, I’m a little intimidated to try and pen my own review. He’s RunPee’s resident Matrix EXPERT. And I don’t say that lightly. Uber. Fan.

I especially get nervous trying to do justice to classic A+ level films. But I do have a few things to say, and here we go…

I’m packing for a move and might add more later. Suffice to say: this movie was a total mind-f#ck when it came out in 1999…and still is. The only really dated aspects are the corded phones and noisy modem (if you’re old enough, you KNOW this sound and it’s still as jarring as it was back then).

If you’re seeing The Matrix for the first time, remember this was the first film to attempt anything like this. At all. It’s a game changer that subsequent dystopian sci-fi films emulated to varying degrees over the years. “Inception“, for one, got it right. And then quite a few missed the boat more or less, like “Looper” which is a decent movie itself, but doesn’t come close to The Matrix.

(Funnily enough, both Inception and Looper featured one of the the same actors).

Why The Matrix is Still so Good

The difference is STYLE. And terrific direction, color palette, intelligent writing, and actors who couldn’t be better suited — both in the casting department, with each actor going balls to the wall in to the new world they had to sell.

Keanu even gets to say “Whoa,” and it doesn’t seem like fan pandering. It IS a WHOA moment.

the-matrix-bullet-time-keanu-reeves
Bring it.

Not to mention The Matrix sports a fabulous soundtrack, and effects that hold up extremely well. I just rewatched this yesterday to get Peetimes, since The Matrix is enjoying a theater revival. It’s still spectacular in look, feel, and story.

(Little realized fact: Most of the effects were done realistically with real actors in wires, and the 360 degree use of physical cameras to create the “Bullet Time” effect we take for granted now. I’m a huge fan of truly realistic physical effects in a modern age of CGI Everything.)

the-matrix-trinit-carry-anne-moss
Practical effects shot on wires. Trinity can still kick your butt.

This is how to make a movie. I can only hope the Watchoskis are up to the 2020 fourquel after all this time. Some crucial threads are left unresolved, so I’m fine with bringing the original cast back, dead or alive. (In Sci-Fi, death is relative.)

Deeper than The Usual Sci-Fi Flick

I’m not even going to handle the intense philosophies presented in the Matrix Trilogy — Philosophy professors wrote many books and teach actual courses just on this.

Enough for now. This will get you started. Also, if you hurry, this will be your only time to catch The Matrix on the big screen after two decades, so go get on it. Our three good Peetimes on the RunPee app will help you remember what scenes NOT to miss.

Free. Your. Mind.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: We just noticed The Matrix was released on a limited basis, so we added Peetimes now. Keep in mind this is a seriously intense mind-bending movie that you have to pay close attention to. All 3 Peetimes are really good. The last time to go is at 1 hour into the 2 hour film, so make sure to empty your bladder proactively, especially if this is your 1st time watching the film. (Or if it’s been a while.) #TheMatrixHasYou

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Matrix. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for sci-fi violence and brief language
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Dystopia

The Matrix After 20 Years – A Retrospective: A Different Kind of Hero, a New Kind of Science Fiction

Analysis of Inception

Movie Review – Looper

 

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

 

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

Movie Review – Brightburn – An Ingenious Anti Superman Film

Movie Review - BrightburnLast night I was thoroughly entertained. Brightburn has something for everyone. There is horror, science fiction, humor, drama, suspense — the list goes on and on.

The special effects garnered most of my applause. There were sequences I’ve never seen done before. One scene in particular was a literal jaw dropper. I won’t spoil anything for you, but you’ll know the moment I’m talking about once you see the movie — which I highly recommend doing. One word of warning: it’s graphic. If you have a weak stomach, you may want to cover your eyes.

The casting was done perfectly. Normally, while watching a movie there are a few characters I could care less about. You know the ones I’m talking about — the ones with no spark. I can honestly say that doesn’t happen in this movie. It felt super cohesive and everyone’s onscreen chemistry was out of this world.

The way the story unfolds is really refreshing. They don’t follow your typical outline we’ve become so used to. It’s not predictable, you’re fed little pieces here and there and the outcome is unexpected.

So, is Brightburn anything like Superman?

You are most definitely led down a Superman like path. The resemblance is there but boy, that feeling ends.

I don’t know about you, but personally I’m tired of superhero movies. I’m not a big fan of them, but this one is more my speed. We know the boy has super powers; it’s how he chooses to use them that is tickling my fancy. Yes, I’m one of those folks that’s usually rooting for the bad guy. I know they never win, but my hope will never die. Brightburn stoked my fires of hope. Good doesn’t always prevail…sometimes evil comes waltzing in and steals the show.

I really hope there are more Brightburn films to come. The writers and the director worked magic — they had me spellbound. Great job, everyone! I left the theater very pleased.

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: This was a really short movie and moved fast. I chose only 1 Peetime to keep you from missing anything in the last half of the movie. It’s full of nonstop action and critical developments.

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

Rated (R) for horror violence/bloody images, and language
Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Venom

Movie Review – Man of Steel

19 Entry-Level Horror Movies for the Squeamish

Movie Review – The Incredible Hulk – Not Bad. Not MCU Good. Watch it and move on to better things…

 

Movie Review - The Incredible Hulk
Poor little Edward Norton. He’s cute; he can act, and he really tried. He just didn’t do MCU-level work. Or maybe it was the script. Mark Rufflalo is da HULK. #SorryNotSorry

I finally finished watching The Incredible Hulk last night. The big fight scene with The Abomination is awful. Looks terribly fake and is surprisingly boring. I wanted to skip the whole scene. My idea of a great Peetime is a terrible action sequence. #DontBoreMe

I expect better from the MCU. But then, this Hulk came out the same year as Iron Man 1, which was pretty much improvised by Robert Downey Jr and was a “Marvel’, almost a fluke, in how RIGHT they got a superhero film. MCU owes him EVERYTHING. He showed them the way. The path to enlightenment!

The Incredible Hulk is an okay movie. But OK is not acceptable in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Honestly. The Incredible Hulk is a better movie than I expected after avoiding it for ten years, but it doesn’t FEEL like the MCU, except for the Stark bonus scene just before the credits.

I can’t believe I finally watched this. I felt like I needed to turn in my Geek Card all this time, so I did it. It’s NOT awful, okay?

It’s a far sight better than that previous “abominable’ Hulk attempt, but Edward Norton, cute as he is in the role of Humble Banner, is NO Mark Ruffalo. Where is the fun, the humor, the clever world-building?

Arg. Trying to not get all HULKY in my anger with this piffling film. See this only it you’re an MCU completist. And for the very last scene (or just find it on You Tube). Really. If not for that final ten seconds, I’d never know this was a part of the greatest film franchise in history.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: I added the 1st one now, at just before the half hour mark — a great time to go. I’ll be adding 2 more soon. Captain’s honor!

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Incredible Hulk. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sequences of intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images and brief suggestive content
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Superhero

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

Why Hulk is a Big Weenie and Loki Isn’t

Endgame Pee Planning from Rudd, Ruffalo & RunPee

The Matrix After 20 Years – A Retrospective: A Different Kind of Hero, a New Kind of Science Fiction

The MatrixThe year was 1999 and all any sci-fi fan could think about was: finally, another Star Wars movie. Had Phantom Menace come out in the age of social media it would have been, well, pretty much what we’re seeing with Avengers: Endgame right now.

But, I remember reading an article online — I don’t recall the source — that essentially said: if you think The Matrix is just a sci-fi appetizer to watch while you wait for the The Phantom Menace main course, then think again; this year of 1999 will be known forever as the movies that came out before The Matrix, and the movies that came out after The Matrix. #Truth

Remember the first scene of the movie — Trinity, stylishly clad in black leather, alone in a dilapidated room, typing on a computer. Contrast was everywhere: Trinity’s sleek appearance with the grungy room; her calm demeanor while being handcuffed with the nervousness of the police officers; and then, with the ease of a video game character playing in god-mode, she struck.

The Trinity character was instantly elevated to the level of superhero, then seconds later she was running scared for her life. We had no idea, but these men in bland suits were on another level completely.

Then, the payphone rang and Trinity sprinted to answer it — before being crushed by a massive truck.

What Just Happened?

In medias res (in the middle of things) hasn’t been done better, before or since.

The movie doesn’t relent for a moment. The audience is left as stupefied as the main character, wondering what is the Matrix, until Morpheus finally explains it to Neo: the Matrix is a prison, for your mind.

There’s a risk to building expectations in a movie plot, because it isn’t enough to meet those expectations; they must be exceeded. More often than not, stories let us down when the veil is lifted. You know those movies that succeed because you remember the titles: Inception, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Sixth Sense…The Matrix. Movies that don’t exceed their own expectations litter the movie timeline, like irrationals between the integers.

All the story elements of The Matrix had been explored, to one degree or another, by previous stories. It’s nearly impossible to come up with a meaningful trope that wasn’t worn ragged by the time the Greeks got around a campfire.  But, all through my adolescence and early adulthood every superhero story left me slightly dissatisfied. Something was missing, but I didn’t know what.

A great superhero movie needs a suitable balance between hero and villain. The vast majority of these stories end with the hero winning, because the heroes want it more…usually because they are fighting for something bigger than themselves. The villain usually fights for their own ends.

The closest these stories ever came to satisfaction was when the superhero discovered and accepted who they were, and let go of perceived limitations. But these limitations always centered on physicality or some superpower.

And then we watched Neo die. The unmistakable hero of the story lay dead on the hallway floor,  simultaneously dead in the chair holding his real physical body.

We’ve seen this before. This isn’t new.

What was new: Neo awoke/metamorphosized into a new state of understanding. He wasn’t faster, or stronger than before — he showed those traits of speed and strength already. Only now he had knowledge (gnosis) of everything in The Matrix. He was The One.

Neo distractedly fought Agent Smith, gazing in wonder at the surroundings he truly saw for the first time. There was no fight left to fight. Neo stepped through the doors of perception and saw infinity. This was the hero I was waiting for.

Analysis of Inception

Movie Review – Inception (No Spoilers)

60 Movies Standing Up To The Test Of Time

Movie Review – John Wick 1

Movie Review – Captive State

Movie Review - Captive StateCaptive State had a good idea of dropping the movie goer right into an alien invasion. The aliens have been in control of earth for years and are known as “legislators.” They control the law and humans.

Okay, great idea up to that point. It’s a dandy way to start a movie. I like the idea of seeing how the humans and aliens basically have to work together. That’s where the greatness ends. The mere idea of it. The execution was retched, absolutely discombobulated and confusing.

It’s really an hour and a half give or take of humans passing messages and traveling from one secret location to another secret location. I honestly didn’t even know the characters names until I got home and looked them up on IMDB.

One of my biggest gripes is John Goodman. I’ve loved that guy since the beginning of Roseanne. He is a staple in the strong male actors category. Did he have bills to pay? Why in the world did he take this role? The character was written so poorly that even the great Goodman couldn’t bring life to the role. Sad face.

The only reason I’m not giving this movie an F is because the sets were done really well. They immersed you into a bleak, poverty stricken world that oozed with desperation and hopelessness. Good job there.

Another positive note was that while doing my job I have to sit through the credits to tell you wonderful people if there is anything extra. Happily they were only four minutes long. I thought to myself, “Wow, those credits were really short. Woohoo for that!” Most movies run at least 7 minutes, sometimes longer. I figured out why as I was falling asleep last night trying to forget this movie. The credits are so short that no one wanted to take credit for this farce of a movie. I chuckled to myself as I fell into a peaceful sleep that luckily contained no part of this movie in my dreams.

Treat yourself to a wonderful movie and get out of the house for a while. You deserve it! I just wouldn’t pick this one.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: I only submitted 2 Peetimes due to the fact that this was a really hard movie to follow. I chose scenes that were fairly easy to summarize.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Captive State. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief language and drug material
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller

Movie Review – Captain Marvel – A Pretty Good Origin Story

Movie Review - Captain MarvelI’ve seen Captain Marvel twice now, and can honestly say I enjoyed it more the second time around. With my initial impressions I gave the movie a B. I’m bumping it up to a B+ now.

As a big Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, I think the most useful rating is to place it along with all the other 20+ MCU movies. Personally, I don’t dislike any of the movies, so the worst ones are still decent. But there are clearly the best of the best, the really good ones, and just good groupings.

In no particular order, I’d say the best of the MCU best are:

Avengers (the first one), Infinity War, GotG, GotG2, Thor: Ragnarok, Civil War, and Age of Ultron.

You’ll notice that all of these are ensemble movies, and none of them are an origin story, unless you consider that the first Avengers movie is a quasi-origin story for the ensemble.

When I look over that list, I can’t say that Captain Marvel can bump any of the top tier of MCU movies out, but it’s close…very close.

How Was Brie Larson as Captain Marvel?

I think Brie Larson did an adequate job with her character, but it’s going to take time to see if she can really “own” the role of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. However, the action scenes lacked a certain physical presence I think the role requires. Personally, I wish they had chosen Blake Lively for the role. She has the snarkiness — and definitely the physical presence —  to express Captain Marvel. I hope in time Brie can show us she was the right choice, but for now, I think the jury is still out. Let’s see how she measures up when she’s grouped with the other Avengers going forward.

The humor in Captain Marvel is good. It’s nothing like either of the Guardians movies, or Ragnarok, but there are still plenty of good laughs to be had.

I love the way the story gives us not only Captain Marvel’s origin, but also Fury’s. That was deftly handled.

What I liked most about the movie was the theme of the story. Which I can’t really get into without mentioning spoilers, which follow below.

Captain Marvel Spoilers Ahead – You Are Warned

Without coming across as preachy, the story deftly explores how important it is to always question one’s allegiances.

Early in the movie Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) says, “Know your enemy. It might just be you.” We later learn the statement is literally true, when Marvel discovers she’s fighting on the wrong side of an unjust war.

There is a scene early in the movie that foreshadows Marvel’s change of allegiance, when Agent Coulson lowers his weapon and allows Fury and Marvel to escape. That not only sets the stage for putting Coulson on Fury’s map as his “one good eye” (a line from the original Avengers) but in a conversation shortly after that, Fury tells Marvel that what Coulson did –listening to his gut — is a hard thing to do, but that’s what makes us human.

MCU movies have also explored this idea with Captain America. He starts out as the dedicated patriot, and evolves into a fugitive from the very same authority that created him.

I personally find it ironic that society/authority/governments continually preach loyalty and patriotism. Essentially encouraging citizens to offer robotic support, while the computers we create are becoming more adept at questioning, understanding, and adapting. What makes us human — humanity — may soon be the purview of our creations.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: Overall, all 3 Peetimes are pretty good. I would recommend the 1st Peetime over the others. It’s very easy to get caught up on what happened. The 3rd Peetime is almost as good, but includes a little humor. The 2nd Peetime is almost all dialog so it has a longer than average synopsis.

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

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