In which I’m only saying this one time, damn it

TRIGGER WARNING: HEAVY GEEK CONTENT.

Let’s talk about Nick Fury’s beeper.

And by “let’s talk,” what I really mean is “I’m going to talk, and you’re going to listen,” because while I probably should not stoop to taking the bait here, the manbabies have gotten on my nerves again, and this time they’re taking people who don’t particularly pay attention to Marvel movies with them, and the result is a whole lot of dumb for what is actually a perfectly goddamned rational decision and I am tired of it and this is my blog and it’s this or telling you to send money to Pete Buttigieg again so siddown and read goddammit.

Nick Fury’s pet project for all of Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was to get the Avengers Initiative up and running. We see at the end of Captain Marvel that she is the literal inspiration for the Avengers. That she named the goddamn Avengers, in fact. Nick Fury is not present for the finale of any of the Phase One MCU films, and most of them, frankly, have minor stakes. The one with the highest stakes is Captain America: the First Avenger, but Fury doesn’t have a big role in that film because it’s set in 1945.

Why does he not call Captain Marvel at the end of Avengers, when aliens are invading Earth? Because the goddamn Avengers are there. That’s his whole damn deal. The Avengers can protect Earth from threats that conventional military can’t. He blatantly uses Agent Coulson’s death to manipulate the team into pulling together, remember? There’s no way he calls Captain Marvel down to rescue his team on their first major mission together unless they blow it, and they don’t.

The Phase Two movies are Iron Man 3, which does not feature a world-ending emergency, Thor: The Dark World, which does not take place on Earth, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which features SHIELD crumbling into tiny little bits and isn’t really a thing that Captain Marvel could have helped with much, Guardians of the Galaxy, which also doesn’t take place on Earth, and Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, where, again, Fury has the Avengers, who have shit well in hand and Captain Marvel’s “for emergencies only” beeper is not necessary. After Age of Ultron but before Phase 3 we have Ant-Man, which he doesn’t appear in, and Captain Marvel is not required to beat up Yellowjacket at the end of the film.

Phase 3 is much of the same. Three films (Guardians 2, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther) take place in either outer space or a part of Earth that Fury has no way to reach. Captain America: Civil War, despite being a tremendously important character movie, has such low stakes that I bet you can’t name the villain. Fury doesn’t appear in Doctor Strange or Spider-Man: Homecoming, and wouldn’t have used the pager if he had.

And then he uses the pager in Infinity War. Why? Because the Avengers are no longer a thing, because they make sure to have Maria Hill point out that Tony Stark is missing right away, and because there has already been an alien invasion in New York and wherever in Germany (right?) the Vision and Scarlet Witch were, and by the time they hear about the battle in Wakanda they know that it’s “ten times” the size of the initial NYC invasion …

… and then Maria Hill dies right in front of him. And it’s abundantly clear that some serious shit is going on, and the helicopter crashes, and at that point he practically knocks somebody over to get to the backseat of the SUV they’re driving to get to the beeper and summon Captain Marvel immediately, because now we have a fucking emergency, y’all. Because we very clearly need somebody, and the movie has made sure to set things up to make it equally clear that they have nobody. Remember: he doesn’t even know Thor and Hulk are on Earth. He doesn’t know where Cap is. He’s got nobody, so he calls Captain Marvel.

Because, yes, this really is the first “emergency” we’ve seen since he got handed the beeper.

Now shut up.

The end.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, the spoiler #review

AS ALWAYS, I intend to spoil the absolute everloving shit out of this movie.  I intend to do this as one post and hopefully in less than 3,000 words, but we’ll see.  If you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, well, maybe get on that before reading this.  Although the damn movie has already made a billion dollars and it’s only been in theaters for a week, so the likelihood that you’re reading this blog and haven’t seen the movie yet is maybe not super likely.

That said, and yes I’m still filibustering for Facebook, wouldn’t it have been better if the movie had been called Shuri and Her Friends?  I mean, c’mon:

Shuri-as-Iron-Man-and-Spider-Man-1

Badass.

Okay.  Real review begins now.  Here be spoilers, motherfuckers:

avengers-infinity-warI was not prepared.

I need y’all to understand just how unbelievable that statement is to me.  I’ve been buying comic books almost every Wednesday for over thirty years.  I recently went out and bought the original Infinity War trade paperback (which is terrible, by the way) to refresh myself on the source material for the story.  I had said to multiple people that my preferred way for this movie to end was for Thanos to snap his fingers and then the screen to fade to black and the damn movie to be over.

I had, I thought, considered every imaginable combination of characters dying, both informed by real-world stuff (Downey’s contract is up!  Holland is already filming the next Spider-Man movie!  Black Panther has made more money than any rational person ever imagined!) and the knowledge that this is a comic book movie and they can basically kill whoever they want because the two movies in between Avengers 3 and Avengers 4 are set before Avengers 3 happens.  They have time to fix it.  And Thanos wins in the original series!  Everyone’s going to die!  I knew this already!

And somehow never once in any of those conversations did “Thanos is gonna choke Loki to death in the first ten minutes of the movie” come into my head.  Loki?  They fucking killed Loki, and they killed him first?

Oh.

Shit.

I was not prepared.

There were screams in my theater– actual fucking grief-induced screams– when Black Panther died.  I had to choke back a sob at Steve Rogers’ “Oh God,” his last line in the film. And I completely cracked when Spider-Man died in fear and disbelief in Iron Man’s arms.  I have never heard a theater as quiet as mine was for the few seconds after the film ended, as everyone processed what had just happened.

I was not prepared.

This movie should not have been possible, guys.  First of all, it is the eighteenth fucking Marvel movie.  No other series in film history has done anything like this; the James Bond movies are the closest thing and they have no real internal continuity to them.  Star Wars and Star Trek have done a ton of movies each but, well, we’ll dodge a lot of controversy and say that they’ve both had ups and downs and at least one real reboot in there as well.  And neither series is at eighteen movies yet, much less eighteen movies over just ten years.  How the hell am I not tired of this yet?  How the hell is everyone not tired of this yet?  What Satan-born devil-deal allows them to wring this much emotional reaction out of the eighteenth fucking movie?  How the hell did they write a movie where the main villain has to collect six different McGuffins and not have the entire middle chunk be boring as hell?

It’s impossible.  It should have been impossible.  And yet … God, I’m at the point where trying to rank these movies is the basest lunacy, especially since they’ve been on such an amazing roll since fucking Captain America: Civil War, which somehow came out just two years ago, and I’m still occasionally overcome with The Giddy about Black Panther.  But if it’s not the best movie they’ve done, again, it’s amazingly close.

Marvel movies catch shit for, other than Loki, not having especially compelling villains.  Thanos is an outstanding character, and they took his weak-ass motivation from the original comic series and tossed it into the trash heap in favor of making him basically an environmental terrorist.  He kills half the goddamn sentient beings in the universe and you understand why he did it.  He throws his adopted/stolen daughter off a cliff with tears in his eyes so that he can kill half of the universe and his motivations make sense.

Let that shit roll around in your head for a second.

That sentence wasn’t supposed to be italicized but fuck it I’m leaving it that way.

There’s so much going on in this movie that’s worthy of at least a few hundred words of geeking out about that I’m honestly paralyzed right now trying to figure out what to talk about.

  • Rocket, the character with the most issues about friendship and belonging, is the last surviving member of the Guardians.  Yes, I know Nebula’s still out there, she doesn’t count.  And Rocket doesn’t know Groot is dead. (EDIT: not true. I misremembered where Rocket was at the end.)
  • I need to see Thor: Ragnarok again to decide how I feel about the idea that the Hulk is literally too terrified of catching another ass-whipping to come out.  This is, to put it mildly, an interpretation of Hulk that I haven’t seen before, and as a Hulk fanatic I’m kind of fascinated by it.  That said, if I have a gripe about this movie it’s that Banner seemed a bit too comfortable with his alter ego, and was verging a little too close to “C’mon, little buddy!” territory.  But again, I need to rewatch Ragnarok.
  • Is Gamora still alive?  Is she trapped inside the Soul stone?   What was with that brief scene of Thanos and baby Gamora right after the Snapture?
  • Serious kudos to whoever came up with “Snapture,” btw.
  • We’re all agreed that Dr. Strange knew what he was doing, right?  Because he went straight from “I will sacrifice you in a second for the Time Stone” to “Please take this and spare Tony” with nothing in between other than, well, seeing the future.  And he, unlike every single other character who died, seemed awfully serene about his own passing.  I feel like the possibility of him having fucked with the Time stone somehow is high.
  • Possibility: that Thanos is actually trapped inside the Time stone, and has been since he took it.
  • Wanda killed her lover for absolutely no reason.  It got them nothing, as Thanos just undid the death, and she died minutes later anyway.
  • Black Panther finally opens Wakanda to outsiders and dies for it.
  • Star-Lord’s character flaws are basically responsible for the death of half of the universe.
  • Tony’s worst nightmares– his best line in the movie was “Thanos has been in my head for ten years”– have come true right in front of him, and he has to survive to see the aftermath.
  • We don’t know if Pepper survived or not.
  • THE GODDAMNED RED SKULL HAS BEEN HANGING OUT AND GUARDING THE SOUL STONE SINCE 1945.  I don’t know that non-comic-book people recognize how big of a deal this is.  This is absolutely Chekov’s gun on the wall.  There is no way you let us know the Goddamned Red Skull is still alive and it’s just for a quick cameo.  I’ll be stunned if he doesn’t play a serious role in Avengers 4.
  • The fight between Black Widow, Okoye, Scarlet Witch and Proxima Midnight was amazing.  
  • They coulda thrown us a bone on the names of the Black Order, I guess.
  • If they killed Shuri offscreen, I riot.
  • No, seriously.
  • There is talk that there will be a time jump of a couple of years in between the movies.  All the talk about the deaths being meaningless if they’re erased is nonsense if that’s the way they go, because can you imagine what basic human existence will be like two years out if they actually let this storyline play out?  Holy crap.
  • Thor.  That is all.  Every second Thor was onscreen.  Ragnarok was okay but it wasn’t much with, y’know, the actual heroism.  Thor kind of reclaimed that mantle in this movie and it was amazing.
  • And Captain Marvel is coming.

This is barely a surface-scratch, folks, and I know that, but the alternative is to rattle on for twenty thousand words.  This was an amazing goddamned film and I need to see it in theaters again on one of my days off.  It takes a whole hell of a lot of movie for that to happen– I didn’t manage to see Last Jedi or Black Panther a second time, but I think for this one I’m gonna make sure that I do.  Now that Thursdays aren’t Dentist Day any longer (short side note: I survived the Great De-Cavityfying, and I’m no longer sure why “dentist” is a job when he drills my teeth for two minutes and assistants do everything else) I may actually have time and will at the same moment to go see it.  Just gotta beat God of War and then I’m all good.

So yeah.  See Infinity War.  That is all.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR spoiler-free #review

avengers_iw_poster.0

STANDARD CAVEATS APPLY:  I cannot always be trusted within the first couple of days after seeing a geek movie I really like.  I’m twelve hours out from this motherfucker.

This is the best movie ever made in the history of all the movies ever and if you haven’t seen this movie yet WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU EVEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE JESUS GO SEE INFINITY WAR RIGHT NOW IF YOU CAN EVEN GET TICKETS BECAUSE I’M PRETTY SURE IT’S SOLD OUT FOR THE NEXT SIX WEEKS OH MY GOD I DON’T EVEN HAVE THE WORDS

 

HOW DID THEY DO THIS

HOW

 

THIS MOVIE SHOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE.  ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE.

 

THEY FUCKING

N

A

I

L

E

D

 

IT

 

OH MY GOD WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE GO SEE INFINITY WAR GODDAMMIT

 

NOW

 

NOW

 

NOW

DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD THANK YOU GOODNIGHT

I would say words, but…

…I’m limiting my Internet access as much as I possibly can until I’ve seen Infinity War tonight.  Yes, I know, this is my blog, and it’s difficult to imagine spoiling myself on my own blog, but the tendency is to websurf while I write, or at least monitor Twitter, and I can’t have that.

In particular, I have lots of things to say about the God of War reboot that just came out for PS4, but you’re going to have to wait a bit.