Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022): Marvel’s Phase 4 Ends with a Fine, But Not Perfect, Sequel

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is directed by Ryan Coogler, who also directed the previous “Black Panther” installment. This film stars Letitia Wright (Sing 2, Black Mirror), Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 12 Years a Slave), Danai Gurira (Treme, The Walking Dead), Winston Duke (Us, Person of Interest), Florence Kasumba (Wonder Woman, The Lion King) Dominique Thorne (If Beale Street Could Talk, Judas and the Black Messiah), Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You, Chewing Gum), Tenoch Huerta (Mozart in the Jungle, Narcos: Mexico), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Sherlock), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, Onward), and Angela Basset (Akeelah and the Bee, Soul). This film is the sequel to “Black Panther” and follows Wakanda as its people attempt to defend their home from the king of Talokan, Namor.

I have always wondered what a “Black Panther” sequel could look like, especially given how successful the first film was. If you are Disney and/or Marvel Studios, there is no way you would just sit pretty after earning a billion dollars at the box office. Sure, you might pop a few bottles. But once you are done drinkin’, you must soon be back to grindin’. Although my wonder supposedly peaked towards the end of 2020. For one thing, the predecessor’s lead, Chadwick Boseman, passed away. This brought a gigantic question. What is going to happen to T’Challa?

On December 10, 2020, the world got its answer. During a Walt Disney Company Investor Day event, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced that the character of T’Challa would not be recast and the sequel would explore other characters in Wakanda. While I am under the philosophy that actors can be replaced to a degree, I understand the tough decision that had to be made here. Boseman’s character was more than a guy who looked cool on screen, he was a symbol for the black community.

While there have been other black protagonists and superheroes on-screen, very few had the impact that Boseman’s T’Challa/Black Panther did over recent years. If you ask me, I liked the first “Black Panther,” but I did not love it. That said, I recognize there are plenty of people who do and I nevertheless celebrate how the film remains a symbol for a specific audience. I still remember where I was when Chadwick Boseman died, sitting in my room, browsing on my phone. While this may not be my first idea for a “Black Panther” installment, I like that the film went for an angle where art somewhat imitates life.

This movie dives into how the Wakandans live after the death of T’Challa. The execution of this is brilliantly realized and delivers certain segments of the movie that I consider to be phase 4 highlights. If I were to judge this movie simply as a tribute to Chadwick Boseman, I would give it two thumbs up. Unfortunately, there is also the rest of the movie. Some of which is solid, some of which is not.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is by no means a bad movie, but I think it comes down to the classic saying in regard to sequels. It goes bigger, but it does not make it better. It goes to new places, introduces new characters, but the execution is not as stellar as it could be. The first movie succeeded partially because of how it handled the character of T’Challa as a protagonist. As mentioned, he is not here for obvious reasons. Sadly, while the tribute to Chadwick Boseman delivered the feels, something was missing because T’Challa’s character was not replaced with another actor. What may have been missing is an escape. Because the first film at its core, even in its more dramatic moments, is fun. Kind of like the recent “Thor: Love and Thunder,” there are clashing tones that do not mix together all the time. This tries to be a traditional MCU movie with some of the flair of the original “Black Panther,” but falters because it unsuccessfully mixes this with a grieving process for T’Challa, and the actor who played him. This is not to say all of it did not work. Some happier moments worked. Some sadder moments worked. But I did not feel as happy or sad as this movie maybe wanted me to feel by the end of it.

It is time to talk about the villain, which in regards to MCU movies, are often considered a weakness. Thankfully, for the case of “Wakanda Forever,” Namor is serviceable. Although not perfect. While Namor had his moments, I think if you were to compare “Black Panther” and “Wakanda Forever” side by side, the first film clearly has the superior villain with Killmonger. His fleshing out was better, Michael B. Jordan gives a compelling performance, and I had a bit of an emotional attachment to him by the end of the film. Namor is threatening and there are some highlights with him on screen, but his motivation did not feel as prominent as it could have been. The best thing about Namor is how our heroes deal with him. There is a particular scene past the halfway mark into the film where from the heroes’ perspective, I got a sense of what they must have been thinking, what they were feeling. While 2018’s “Black Panther” did a good job at handling both the perspectives from the protagonist and antagonist, I think the former’s perspective was done better here than the latter’s.

A lot of Marvel movies, including good ones, often fail to deliver on the villain. I was not a huge fan of Ronan in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but the movie nevertheless worked for me. But almost every time the film slips on the villain, I am still onboard when it comes to understanding and rooting for the hero. I feel like I am given enough justification to continue liking them, to keep cheering them on. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” while its villain is not a dumpster fire, is no exception to this rule. That said, when I say that I am siding with the protagonist in this case, the movie comes to a decision as to who “the protagonist” is, but much of it does not resemble a centered story. There are so many things going on in this movie that until the end, it almost feels like there is no main character. There is ultimately a main character, but at times, it feels like there is not. The movie feels overstuffed, which I hate to say, because I liked some of the concepts in it.

For me, the highlight of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is Angela Basset. I liked Angela Basset in the original “Black Panther,” but her portrayal of Ramonda in this sequel is an improvement over the original in every way. Part of it is because the script gives the character a reason to perhaps have a more prominent presence on screen, and when it comes to the Wakandan society grieving over the loss of their king, I often connected with her based on her position in said society, in addition to knowing that her child is gone. Going back to what I said about art imitating life, Basset’s performance, alongside others in this film, came off as more than the characters going through their own reality. At times, Basset seemed to channel herself in regard to her connection to Chadwick Boseman. I bought into Basset’s performance, and as sad as Boseman’s death is, it may have enhanced Basset’s ability to deliver an excellent screen presence, one that could potentially be a talking point this awards season.

This movie is 161 minutes. Just over two and a half hours. At moments, I felt the runtime. Some of the exposition, specifically in regards to Namor, went on for way too long and I almost tuned out. In addition to being a “Black Panther” film, “Wakanda Forever” also somewhat doubles as an ad for Disney+ with the addition of Riri Williams, also known as Ironheart. Other than that, another notable flaw, and maybe this is just the case of my theater, maybe not, the sound mix was not perfect. There were select lines of dialogue that were hard to make out. It is not “Tenet” bad, but as far as the MCU goes, this is probably the first time I can recall having a problem like this during one of the movies in this series. Then again, I just turned 23 a little more than a week ago, therefore this is a possibly a sign that my hearing could be slightly deteriorating. Do not grow up, it is a trap.

If I had to compare “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” to anything else right now, it would have to be, of all things, the television series “Impractical Jokers.” …Hear me out.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” much like the most recent iteration of “Impractical Jokers,” loses one of its core cast members, tries to reinvent itself while also keeping certain elements audiences are familiar with, and fails to recapture some of the magic of what made its previous material great, but through a situation that it cannot fault itself for. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a film that I would have been terrified to be a part of if I were a higher-up at Marvel. I know “Black Panther” is a popular IP and there is no question as to whether or not a sequel should be made. But my question from the beginning was how the heck the story could go on without the title character.

If you look back at films like “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” you would notice in the posters and marketing that the subtitle is a tad bigger than the title itself. The same is true for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” One could argue this is coincidental, but I would contend there is a reason why “Black Panther” is tiny and “Wakanda Forever” is enormous. This film, while it is ultimately a “Black Panther” story, is ultimately about the Wakanda community. How they come together. How they deal with grief. How they engage in politics. There is no way this film would not have had “Black Panther” in its title. Because if it did not, it would probably lose money. Although at the end of the day, this is part of what I mean when I say the film is overstuffed. Again, there is almost barely a center character. If anything, Wakanda itself is debatably the central character.

Now that I have seen all of phase 4, one of the commonalities during some of phase 4’s stories is the concept of grief. If you ask me, despite being an example of art imitating life, I think “WandaVision” and weirdly enough, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” had better execution when it comes to grief. Maybe it is because of my connection to one specific character either during the story itself or in previous installments and how they end up dealing with it. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” dealing with grief was perhaps unavoidable because of a real life event. There are moments, especially towards the film’s end, where grief comes into play that continue to stick with me. But part of what made “WandaVision” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” more fulfilling is that I knew who to root for. Wanda and Peter Parker. Of course, “Wakanda Forever,” a movie where, again, Wakanda itself may as well be considered the central character, presents a scenario where an entire society is mourning. But because the movie had an overabundance of characters and things going on at times, it becomes less powerful for me.

Although if there is one thing “Wakanda Forever” does well despite its flaws, it would be consistency. “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the previous MCU film, was like a seesaw in terms of tone. At certain points, it is as goofy as can be. At others, it is wildly dramatic. There is almost no in between. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” again, like “Thor: Love and Thunder,” clashes in terms of tone, but it is probably the most somber MCU film to date while also having pinches of much needed fun in between. Much like many other Marvel movies, there are moments of levity, but the film itself is a consistent downer. From scene one, the movie does everything it can to remind its audience that not everything is happy go lucky in Wakanda. Much like “Wakanda Forever,” “Love and Thunder” made grief a paramount topic. The film however goes too extreme on both ends to the point where it fizzles the goldilocks zone. While “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is more depressing than the average MCU film, including other movies that have their downer moments like “Eternals” or “Avengers: Infinity War,” it is at least both steadily, not to mention believably, sad.

Although because this movie is sad, does not mean there are no ounces of joy to be had. In addition to the recently mentioned levity, which is noticeably not as prominent as say “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” I liked the chemistry between Shuri and Okoye. The action, during this film’s collection of sequences, is well-done and kept my attention throughout. There is even a segment where someone catapults into the air via fish. I do not remember if it was a dolphin or a whale. I would have to watch the movie again, but that caught me off guard. This has to be arguably the craziest cool sight I have witnessed in a comic book movie since that one scene in “Aquaman” where an octopus plays the drums.

With all this sadness though, some of you might ask, can you bring your family and children to this movie? After all, Marvel movies, in addition to being box office hits, are also traditionally fine options for large groups like families. Even for children despite the usual PG-13 rating. To answer the question, I would say yes. This may not be as fun as “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Although there is nothing absolutely offensive, nothing overly gory, and despite the film’s serious nature, there is nothing in it that I would think would instantly turn off younger viewers or the parents trying to entertain said younger viewers.

Before we move on, without giving a ton of detail, there is a fantastic joke in the movie about MIT. You will know it when you hear it. It got a good laugh out of me, and I think many people reading this will react similarly.

In the end, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” while still a decent movie, is a step down from the original. It is the neither the best or worst film of phase 4. It is somewhere close to the middle. The film is ambitious, but cannot quite fill the massive void that Chadwick Boseman left. I admire that “Wakanda Forever” took the risk of killing off one of its core characters and making that a backbone as to where things go in the film. Unfortunately, it led to a movie of both hits and misses. Is the film worth watching? The answer would be yes. It has its flaws, but in a thumbs up/thumbs down world, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a thumbs up, not to mention a 7/10.

Well, that is the end of phase 4! If I have to be honest, while this is not my favorite phase in the MCU, I will give it credit. Unlike phases 1, 2, and 3, every movie that came out in phase 4, had some semblance of decency at minimum. In phase 1, I was not a fan of “Captain America: The First Avenger.” In phase 2, I did not like “Thor: The Dark World.” In phase 3, I disliked “Captain Marvel.” Phase 4’s movies, from “Black Widow” to “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” were all entertaining, fun, and worth watching. They all had flaws, but they were also worth watching. I have no idea what phase 5 is going to be like, but I hope that like phase 4, the movies continue to be solid.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is now playing in theatres everywhere including premium formats like IMAX and Dolby Cinema. Tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for the brand new Searchlight Pictures film “The Banshees of Inisherin.” I just watched the film this weekend, and while I look forward to reviewing just about every movie I see, I mean it with this one. I cannot wait to review “The Banshees of Inisherin,” I hope to drop it soon.

If you want to see more of my thoughts on phase 4 of the MCU, check out my reviews for “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Eternals,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.” If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?” What did you think about it? Or, what are your thoughts on Marvel’s phase 4? What is your favorite movie or television show from the timeline? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Death on the Nile (2022): Kenneth Branagh Brings a River of Intrigue in This Engaging Murder Mystery

“Death on the Nile” is directed by Kenneth Branagh (Belfast, Thor), who also stars in the film as Hercule Poirot. Joining him in this Agatha Christie novel adaptation is Tom Bateman (Demons, Murder on the Orient Express), Annette Bening (American Beauty, Captain Marvel), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Arthur), Ali Fazal (Mirzapur, Furious 7), Dawn French (French and Saunders, Coraline), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Criminal), Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., On the Basis of Sex), Rose Leslie (Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones), Emma Mackey (Sex Education, Eiffel), Sophie Okonedo (After Earth, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls), Jennifer Saunders (Sing, Shrek 2), and Letitia Wright (Sing 2, Black Panther). In this film, Hercule Poirot finds himself on a voyage, set on the Nile River, and ultimately has to investigate the behind the scenes shenanigans of a murder during said voyage.

I want to make a couple things clear. I have never read any Agatha Christie works, therefore I have nothing to compare this movie to as far as her material goes. I also will note that this could technically qualify as a sequel. “Death on the Nile” revolves around a group of people under the eye of Hercule Poirot, who was also portrayed by Kenneth Branagh in 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” He directed the film as well. I have never seen the film, so I cannot tell you anything in regards to Branagh’s previous efforts, whether they are in front of or behind the camera in said film. I was not particularly interested in it at the time, and my lack of interest unfortunately contributed to what I call a lack of knowledge in this circumstance. Nevertheless, the trailers intrigued me enough, Kenneth Branagh is on fire right now with “Belfast” having just come out, and the cast is stacked to the brim.

Well, there’s also Armie Hammer, I should also mention that.

With that being said, I kind of saw “Death on the Nile” on a whim, I bought a ticket less than an hour before the show because I was in the area, although I did intend to see it by the end of the weekend, and I have to say the movie in some ways pleased me in the ways I expected it to. Although it does have a double-edged sword.

One of the best things about “Death on the Nile” is the feud between the newlywed couple, the Doyles, and this one woman, Jackie, played marvelously by Emma Mackey, or as I call her, Samara Weaving’s lookalike. Prior to Simon Doyle’s connection with his new wife, Linnet, he used to be in love with Jackie, who just so happens to be following everyone else. I loved getting to know these characters and every scene Mackey is in is one that had my attention, partially because of how well she played the character. But this also brings me to my main con with the film, and it is that it takes a bit longer than I expected to actually see the murder shenanigans go down. Now don’t get me wrong, the film is entertaining from start to finish. I was invested in most of the scenes that were written, but that would have to be my big pacing issue of the film. For a film that calls itself “Death on the Nile,” the “death” is not exactly much of a standout until the film’s second half. Is the book the same way? Again, I do not know. I do not plan on reading it anytime soon, so frankly I do not care to know.

Although if I had to bring another positive to the table, it is that the film is easy on the eyes. The film is as exotic as it is suspenseful. The color palette throughout feels like an old-timey flick but with a modern twist. It is a film that feels like it simmers itself in tradition, but infuses some sugar and spice to make it more attractive.

The performers all do a great job at bringing their own flair to the mix in “Death on the Nile,” I cannot recall one performance that either underwhelmed or annoyed me. Well, kind of…

Going back to Emma Mackey’s character of Jackie, I want to focus on her for a bit because I admired Mackey’s performance, but I did so with the acknowledgement of how much I disliked her character. Let me just be clear, I watch a lot of movies, and usually when I watch one I like, I usually like all the characters because they make the movie fun and enjoyable to watch. This one is different. I can only recall a few movies I watched in my life where I hated a character who was in it, and used that hate to remind myself of how effective the movie was at doing its job. “Whiplash” and “The Lion King” are the first two titles that come to mind. Mackey’s behavior in the film made me feel like I was part of the film, and films are always better when they can immerse you into the frame. Mackey did so in a way that made me want to punch her in the face, and all respect to the actress. Emma Mackey, if you read this, I think you have an amazing future ahead of you. I would totally cast you in a film if I find the right role, but I will not lie when I say, your character should have been thrown into the Nile to sleep with the fishes.

I like you, I hate your character. And for that, the movie did its job.

I also want to talk about Gal Gadot. She is an actress I have admired ever since I saw her in “Batman v. Superman,” because while that film showed a weakness from her as a performer, specifically on some line delivery, I saw enormous potential in her, because she carried the action sequences like a champ. I probably said this a couple times in my life. In “Batman v. Superman,” the real winner is Wonder Woman. And I think in just about every movie that has come out since, she has at least improved in some way. In “Death on the Nile,” I think casting Gadot as Mrs. Doyle is appropriate, partially because Gadot looks like someone who can symbolize beauty and wealth at the same time (also, she statistically is very wealthy), but this film shows that she has improved as an actress. She is more able to carry a film now than she has ever been, and there are a couple of scenes where I was able to feel the weight of some of her lines.

And of course, I cannot ignore Kenneth Branagh, who not only makes this film look as pretty as it is, but he carries his weight to bring a lively performance to the table. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch Kenneth Branagh rock a mustache? If they’re making a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” adaptation set in Northern Ireland, I think Branagh would slay as Willy Wonka, and it would be better if the mustache stays. I think Branagh flat out just looks like someone who would be a detective in his spare time, so the fact that he’s cast as Poirot is undeniable. It’s perfect. Again, I have not seen “Murder on the Orient Express,” so I have nothing to compare this performance to franchise-wise. Having said that, “Death on the Nile” is good enough to the point that I want to go back at some point and give “Murder on the Orient Express” a try. Maybe compare the two and see which one’s better.

In the end, “Death on the Nile” is intriguing from beginning to end and offers an ensemble that gives you all the feelings from grace to anger to sadness. This may not end up being the best film of 2022, after all, the year is only beginning, but as far as this year’s fare, I recommend “Death on the Nile.” It has one or two pacing issues, but I feel like that could be a fairly subjective notion on my part. I probably won’t remember every single character, but there are quite a few that stand out to make this film one of the more entertaining experiences of the past number of months. I’m going to give “Death on the Nile” a 7/10.

“Death on the Nile” is now playing in theaters everywhere, tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed this review, I have more coming! My next review is going to be for the movie “Uncharted,” which just hit the big screen over a week and a half ago. Also coming up, I will be tackling my thoughts on “The Batman,” which hits theaters everywhere this week. If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Death on the Nile?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Agatha Christie book? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Sing 2 (2021): Where Modern Music Meets Overly Goofy Cartoon Gags

“Sing 2” is written and directed by Garth Jennings, who was the writer and one of the two directors behind the original “Sing” as well. This film stars Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, Serenity), Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies, Wild), Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2, Lucy), Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Rocketman), Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man, Blue Jasmine), Tori Kelly, Nick Kroll (Kroll Show, Sausage Party), Pharrell Williams (Black is King, The Grinch), Halsey, Chelsea Peretti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, TruTV Presents: World’s Dumbest), Letitia Wright (Black Panther, Black Mirror), Eric André (The Eric André Show, The Lion King), Adam Buxton (8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, The Adam and Joe Show), Garth Jennings, Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy, Shaun of the Dead), Jennifer Saunders (Shrek 2, Absolutely Fabulous), Nick Offerman (The Founder, Parks and Recreation), and Bono of U2 fame.

Hey don’t blame me! I cannot leave a single name untouched!

This film is the sequel to the 2016 film “Sing,” which was about Buster Moon trying to save his theater and attempts doing so by creating a singing competition, which provides for some bumps along the way. In this sequel, Buster Moon and his pals are attempting to create a new science fiction live show for a venue in Las Vegas wannabe Redshore City. In doing so, they pitch to Mr. Crystal, a sleazy producer, the idea of getting Clay Calloway, a reclusive lion who used to make music, to be part of the show. And of course, nostalgia being nostalgia (look at “Star Wars” dominating the world), he loves the idea and thinks the group should get him to be in the whole thing. Between the intense mission of convincing this former artist to tag along in addition to nepotism and internal drama, things have only gotten harder for our SINGers.

Is that a proper term? SINGers? Does that work?

“Sing” is the kind of film that you watch, have fun with, and then move onto the next thing. And sadly, despite my slight negative vibe that could be triggered with such a statement, “Sing” was what I considered to be my personal favorite of Illumination’s content. I don’t care for “Despicable Me.” The minions kind of drive me crazy. “The Secret Life of Pets” was an okay watch one time, but never again. The sequel however, is just plain insufferable. “The Grinch” almost made me hate Christmas. And I love Christmas! I think Christmas, in more ways than one, is one of the best times of the year, minus all the blasphemous music. Mariah Carey, all I want for Christmas is for you to go away. It’s like if top 40 started drinking eggnog! And speaking of top 40, “Sing” and its sequel partially rely on their own interpretations of popular songs. In the original film, you had songs from Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Frank Sinatra. I feel like my biggest critique of that first film is the fact that a few of the standout songs come off as processed radio brought into the mix simply for its popularity. And I think the same can be said for “Sing 2.”

I don’t think it’s wrong to put newer songs into a film like this, but doing so also risks the film possibly relying on what’s trendy. This new film has songs like “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back,” which has been a hit for some time. I really like the scene where it is performed, but I wonder if people will look at it years from now and think of it as a product of its time.

If you want my short, honest opinion of “Sing 2,” I would have to say it is… Fine.

…Just. Fine.

Crap.

I think that is one of the most interesting things one can say about a movie. The fact that a movie can be considered just fine does not mean it’s great nor terrible. However, in the case of “Sing 2,” the film cannot convince me to land on a particular side of the spectrum. In some situations, the movie feels like your typical Illumination fare, because unlike Pixar, which always seems to understand the assignment in creating a FAMILY movie, “Sing 2” occasionally relies on gags that feel as if they’re only aimed at younger viewers. Granted, the film is fun for all ages, but compared to some other films I’ve seen this year, including the recently reviewed “Encanto,” it feels a bit more on the kiddy side.

The thing I appreciate about both “Sing” installments is the idea of not giving up on your dreams. I think both films succeed when trying to convey that message to its viewers. The heroes in this film collectively struggle in their own way when it comes to accomplishing their goals, or in this case, following their dreams. We see Rosita struggling to live up to the pressures and enormity of being in a starring role. We see Buster Moon trying to encourage everyone to stay on their toes and try to fight for another day. We see Clay Calloway deal with the internal battle of his past. He stopped playing his music because it reminded him way too much of his dead wife. WAIT, did Christopher Nolan have some writing credit in this film I’m not aware of? I think an additional takeaway this film can provide is that not only do we see these dreams potentially hit roads that contain possible dead ends, but part of why these dreams hang in the balance is because of entertainment giants. Mr. Crystal, ever since I first saw his character, kind of reminded me of a Simon Cowell-type, and that vibe is significant in terms of where the film goes.

Speaking of Mr. Crystal (left), this film introduces a couple new characters, Mr. Crystal included. Alongside Mr. Crystal is his daughter, Porsha (right). As our heroes enter the urbanized, neon streets of Redshore City, they meet these two characters who become integral to the story. Mr. Crystal is an entertainment mogul who puts his faith in said heroes. You may think someone like him to be a bit of a snobby, almost creepy, egotistical moron who wants things to go his way. If so, you’re right. He’s also well-dressed, and I think when it comes to getting a guy who can sound snarky and snobby at the same time, Bobby Cannavale is a great choice. When I hear his voice, I feel like I’m watching an older mob movie with modern elements infused. But Crystal’s also a family man. …Kind of. That’s because this film contains a subplot involving his daughter, Porsha, potentially taking on the lead role of the space opera everyone’s producing.

For the role of Porsha, they managed to get Halsey to lend her voice. Halsey is not known for having an acting career as much she is known for singing. I think this is a somewhat fascinating, yet practical choice, because I have rarely seen Halsey on screen. Apparently she had a small role in “A Star is Born” a few years back but I would not be able to remember when she was on screen. I barely even know anything about Halsey. But having seen her IMDb, most of her work has been music related, so seeing her cast in this role makes sense. It is a movie about music, about singing. Why not have her? And I would say given her material, she was well directed on Garth Jennings’s part. Going back to what I said about her not being in many pieces of film or television, one of the driving aspects of her character was that she was a terrible actress. Halsey, who does a good job acting in this film, managed to convince me that her character in particular was the worst actor of all time.

Ladies and gentlemen, acting!

There are also a couple new characters who I was not particularly fond of. There’s a monkey named Klaus that instructs Johnny and others through an intense dance routine. I think in terms of the script and story, he served his role adequately. But he kind of felt one-dimensional. The same can be said for Darius, an actor who wants nothing other than fame, fortune, more fame, and more fortune. When Darius is on screen, he’s occasionally entertaining, but he lacks depth. He lacks dimension. He almost feels like a throwaway character despite being part of the film. Although it was fun to see Meena the elephant try to accustom herself to being romantic despite not having much experience in such a thing.

In the end, “Sing 2” is a step down from the original, and frankly, just proves once again that when it comes to animated studios, I still prefer DreamWorks and Pixar. If you asked me years ago if a “Sing 2” was a good idea, I’d say yes. It would not be the first thing I’d see, but it is worth at least a glance. I’d say the studio and crew should give it a shot. The first one was good. And having rewatched the first one recently before going to the cinema to see this, it’s still good. I just wish “Sing 2” lived up to its predecessor. I’m going to give “Sing 2” a 6/10. This is a positive grade despite some negative things I have previously stated. But I think if anything, the positives will not be enough to get me to watch this film again anytime soon.

“Sing 2” is now playing in theaters and is available to buy now on streaming platforms.

Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be a for a film that is somewhat personal to me. And if you know where I reside, you’ll get where I’m coming from. Some of you reading this may feel the same way. That film in particular is Amazon’s new feature, “The Tender Bar!” This film just released over the holiday season, it just dropped on Prime Video, and now it is a good time to talk about it. I cannot wait to discuss this film. It’s going to be a ball. If you want to see this and from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Sing 2?” What did you think about it? Or, which is better? “Sing” or “Sing 2?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Avengers: Infinity War (2018): 2018’s Movie Event of the Year

Before we dive into what some may call my most important movie review of the year, I’m gonna go ahead and ask you something. How terrifying is Thanos? The answer, objectively, he’s a monster that might eat other villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for breakfast. One thing that’s probably just as terrifying, is responsibility, and a new responsibility will be handed over to a couple by the name of Genevieve and Paul. The two are trying their hardest to have a child, therefore increasing the absolutely scary idea of responsibility, but before they totally get scared, they get… failure. Specifically, the failure of making a child, which is all explained… in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” is a series on YouTube about a couple who are trying to have a baby but based on experience, trying is not enough effort to grant the couple’s wish. Genevieve and Paul go through an extended journey where trying is redefined. Throughout, they face victories and failures, and go through hell as they encounter unfortunate events when it comes to sex, tests, procedures, and EVERY. F*CKING. NEEDLE.

You know, kind of like this, but a little different. New episodes are uploaded to the channel every Monday and pretty much each one has their own little dramatic story for the couple to tell. The most recent episode however, strays away from the dramatic tone. In this latest installment titled “The Waiting Game,” the name pretty much says it all. When the couple is waiting for results on a test, they try to distract themselves and make themselves feel normal. Watch the episode, or if you want a more dramatic episode, watch a few of the earlier ones. If you like what you see, hit the subscribe button on their YouTube channel, like their videos, hit the notification bell, and if you want more of “What the IVF?” outside of the YouTube universe, be sure to check out their other social media profiles and their website! Also, be sure to to tell them I sent you over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/

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“Avengers: Infinity War” is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Community, Arrested Development) and stars Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, The Judge), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Gifted) Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher, Spotlight), Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther, 42), Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Lost City of Z), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, Star Trek: Into Darkness), Scarlett Johanson (Iron Man 2, Lucy), Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2, Crash), Paul Bettany (Iron Man, A Knight’s Tale), Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Godzilla), Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hurt Locker), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Covenant), Danai Gurira (Black Panther, The Visitor), Letitia Wright (Black Panther, The Commuter), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049), Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar), Josh Brolin (The Goonies, No Country For Old Men), and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World). Just… HOLY CRAP. This is just scratching the surface on this movie’s overwhelming number of characters!

With the infinite (pun sort of intended) number of cast members/characters this movie is trying to fit in, they all are featured in this two and a half hour extravaganza where we reach one of the biggest points in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that’s when Thanos makes an attempt to unleash havoc and chaos upon the universe by destroying half of it.

Let me just get something out of the way, this review is being called “2018’s Movie Event of the Year,” and reasonably so. Because for one thing, it is the culmination that is ten years in the making (or six depending on who you ask). We are finally at the point that we get to see Thanos in action. Not to mention, this movie is RIDDLED TO THE BRIM with surprises! I can’t believe we’ve made it as far as we did, seriously! The birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with the 2008 movie “Iron Man” is about to make its ten year mark on May 2nd! Unbelievable! Anyway, that movie and a bunch of others have all lead to this, and since I mentioned there are many surprises in this movie, I should have you all know that this review is going to be spoiler-free. A lot of people and I mean A LOT OF PEOPLE are going to see this movie after I get this review up, and this is pretty much a “Star Wars” situation. If I reveal one thing about this movie that is in spoiler territory, somebody in the comment section is going send me a death threat. So if I sound vague compared to some of my other reviews, you know why.

Now let’s get through some characters, but before we get to that, I could literally make a joke at this point saying that this movie featured every soul in existence. And I’ve heard some comments about this movie at times. I’ve heard comments saying that it feels cluttered, and that it has too many characters. I one-hundred percent disagree. And that’s because when it comes to utilizing these characters, I feel like just about each and every single one that has some sort of importance to the plot happened to have their moment. There are segments of this movie that stand out and those segments happen to be exclusive to certain characters. I don’t want to get into them however, because if I do, it will just mean I drop one character’s name, and now I allow each and every one of you to have a ruined surprise, which as mentioned, this movie has a lot of. If I were to go into them, I wouldn’t get all that specific, I’d just say a character’s name and kind of move on, but for the sake of humanity, sanity, and a decreased chance of getting killed by someone who may hunt me down after getting this review posted, I won’t do that. Another thing I will say, I will not be talking about all of the characters in this movie that has a bit of the importance to the plot. That will take forever and a half, and there’s not really as much to say about certain characters compared to others. So I’m sorry, there’s no explanation for characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Doctor Strange. There are more that are unlisted, but these are just examples. I feel I should say less about them for the sake of a more quality review. You’re welcome, by the way.

I don’t have any order I want to go in when it comes to these characters, so let’s just talk about Spider-Man, because there is something that stands out about him that I need to bring up. As you may know, Spider-Man recently had his own movie and in that picture, he had some technology added to his suit. But this time around, if you watch the movie, you’ll notice that he has a new suit. And while I was not a fan of Peter Parker’s suit in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” I thought this new suit, which is making the character of Spider-Man ultimately marketed to the public as Iron Spider, was a sack of crap. Sure, it looks kinda cool, but the idea of Spider-Man combining with Iron Man makes me think some people thought the idea of Spider-Man, and by that I mean SPIDER-MAN, was not cool enough. I would have said all of this before going to see the movie. As of right now, I change my mind. The Iron Spider outfit was properly utilized, had a purpose in the movie, mainly when it was first put on, but even so, and best of all, it didn’t have a stupid artificial intelligence that was literally holding Peter’s hand and telling him to kiss his crush. Thank gosh!

Another standout character in this movie is Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Now her character as you know and would expect, is badass. But there is one thing that I consider what may be a flaw with this character, and it’s a nitpick, but it’s there. It makes me ask, why is she blonde? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some douchebag who demands other people to have a certain hairstyle. Although not only does it feel weird, but given the fact that something like this is a change of pace after seeing many movies with Black Widow such as “Iron Man 2,” “The Avengers,” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which has the character having different, but in ways, alike hairstyles, you’d probably expect some explanation as to why Black Widow’s hair is blonde. Did she want to have more fun? Did she suddenly become a Marilyn Monroe fanatic? Did she get tired of people asking her if she was, I dunno, “REDy?” I’m not really taking many points off for this, but it kind of feels somewhat weird because this, again, feels like a change of pace. I don’t even remember there being a joke, even though there were a good number concerning other subjects, regarding Black Widow’s hair.

When it comes to who has the biggest presence in the entire movie in terms of the heroes, I gotta say that the Guardians of the Galaxy probably qualify as the number one spot. Their overall story has a tremendous effect on where everything goes in regards to a number of heroes and Thanos. As far as the Guardians go, I think their storyline is a contender to be the best storyline in the movie. It was somewhat dark and depressing while still allowing them to be the same hilarious crew we all grew to know.

And that does lead me into this movie’s overall tone. “Avengers: Infinity War” is marketed as this beyond dark, ambitious, important, bitchslap to the face f*ckstravaganza, and with bits of humor here and there. One worry I had that didn’t exactly stand out because I had faith in this being worked out well, was a clash in tones. I was somewhat worried that there would be too much humor in serious situations, but not only was the comedy incredibly hilarious, but it seemed to be utilized at the right times. I saw this movie with about 500 people, and based on their laughs, they seem to agree with me.

Now let’s move onto what is quite literally the biggest part of the entire movie, Thanos, which if you’re unfamiliar with Marvel…

Think of Terence Fletcher from “Whiplash” combined with Darth Vader from “Star Wars,” add in a hint of Count von Count from “Sesame Street,” you get this PURPLE GUY who CHUCKLES over the fact that he destroyed a NUMBER of planets, who is a FATHER per se of multiple heroic characters, and has a SHAVED head that will make you look at him as the INTIMIDATING, Jupiter-sized dickbag of Doucheville, otherwise known as Thanos. The character of Thanos is the probably the movie’s best character, and also the one that gets the majority of screentime. Also, if you have been following the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the villains have usually been disposable bad guys that are just there for the heroes to defeat. Recently however, I will say that every villain featured in a Marvel film since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has been incredible. The streak of awesomeness continues here in “Avengers: Infinity War.” And to be completely honest, Thanos is quite possibly the best villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and definitely in the discussion of being the best comic book movie villain of all time. I don’t know if I’d say he’s as perfect as The Joker from “The Dark Knight,” but Thanos is up there. As mentioned, Thanos gets a majority of the movie’s screentime. And this is part of why his character is so great. Given his high amount of screentime, you get to know Thanos very much, and the film is more about him as opposed to anyone else. The film’s main point of focus is the journey to find the stones. The Avengers are the just the defenders (pun sort of intended). You view Thanos from the beginning as the very definition of evil, and he just f*cks s*it up no matter where he goes. If there’s one character that you should look forward to when seeing this movie, it’s Thanos.

Speaking of journeys, certain journeys have certain endings, and this journey has an ending to remember. Out of every ending I’ve seen in the MCU, this is BY FAR my favorite of them all. Like, holy f*ck! I saw this movie with three other people, a couple of the people next to me were just speechless, and so was I! I’m not even gonna say the ending! I don’t want to be a dick! That’s Moby’s job!

I APOLOGIZE TO EVERYONE NAMED MOBY, WHICH LUCKILY, DUE TO RESEARCH THERE AREN’T MANY PEOPLE NAMED MOBY THAT STAND OUT SO I WONDER IF APOLOGIZING IS EVEN NECESSARY.

Overall, the ending for this movie, is not only brilliantly written, beautifully directed, but also has some of my favorite editing in the MCU. Again, something I won’t go into for the sake of not getting anyone mad, but it’s freaking sick!

Also as mentioned, this movie is directed by the Russo Brothers, who directed the previous two “Captain America” films. When it comes to the cinematography, I was noticing lots of shaky cam, which is not new for a film directed by this duo. If you watch “Captain America: Civil War,” that film has tons of shaky cam, and I thought the action in that film actually happened to be some of the best in the MCU. It was fast paced, exciting, and as I watched the film, fun. When it comes to the action sequences in this film, you can say I had fun watching them, but this is one of those times, where I literally felt there were high stakes involved in this universe. As mentioned, Thanos has an intimidating and demanding presence, you’ve also got a bunch of Thanos’s minions, including those of the Black Order, and while some other Marvel movies seem to have some predictable action sequences and all that, you never really know exactly how every action scene here will conclude. You constantly root for the heroes, who are going up against the f*ck-up of purple people, and Thanos’ determination makes the rooting exist. I mean… For a guy who happened to be rather speechless once leaving the theater for this movie, it’s almost like a true feat for the amount of words shoved onto this review! What a revelation!

In the end, “Avengers: Infinity War” is EASILY one of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! I LOVED just about every single second of this movie! It’s my favorite “Avengers” movie! The way they handled all of the characters in this movie was amazing! I mean, seriously! For a movie like this that has more characters than perhaps the number of lights people leave on for new visitors at a Motel 6 in a day, I can’t imagine many other directors taking on this project and doing a better job of balancing everything as masterfully as the Russos did. I said it before, just about every character had their personal moment to shine, and fans will be going crazy over at least one them. Maybe not as crazy as the crowd I had since I went on opening night in a crowded IMAX, but fans will go wild. Speaking of which, I do recommend you go see this in the IMAX format, because this is the first movie shot entirely on IMAX cameras. Not the ones I really like talking about, but this is kind of a big deal and the IMAX experience does add a bit to the movie in terms of immersion! With all of this being said, this movie is the Marvel Cinematic Universe edition of “The Empire Strikes Back,” and it is a f*cking ride from start to finish! I’m gonna give “Avengers: Infinity War” a 10/10! Once again, I’m trying to be as vague as possible in this review for a reason, and I’ll just remind you, when it comes to spoiling this movie, I don’t recommend it. If you spoil this movie, there’s a good chance you’re only just gonna make someone’s life only worse. You know, unless being spoiled is your thing then you’re OK there.

#ThanosDemandsYourSilence

But seriously though, this movie’s the s*it!

Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon, as promised, I’ll have my review for “Mission: Impossible II.” I’m probably going to watch the movie tomorrow, and I’ll start the review soon after, and publish it some time following that. Stay tuned for that review, and also stay tuned for other reviews! I want to know, did you see “Avengers: Infinity War?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite “Avengers” movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Official Trailer 2: Do We Seriously Need This? I Was Already Satisfied!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I can’t believe I’m saying this. But this is my first trailer review of 2018. The last trailer review I did believe it or not, was for the same movie whose trailer I’m reviewing right now, otherwise known as “Avengers: Infinity War.” A lot of news has come in about it recently. Tickets have gone on sale! We have a new poster to gloss over! You know, just after we got another recent set of posters to gloss over! By the way, Spider-Man’s poster SUCKS. This new poster we got, the one you’re seeing up above, is actually really freaking badass. It’s got a f*ckton of characters, it’s indeed got some colors, and it just sets the tone for super duper destruction. You know s*it’s about to go down, and go down HARD when Iron Man is doing his version of Jesus symbolism. What is he Superman now? A lot of people call it cluttered, I don’t really mind it all that much, but that’s just me.

Before we dive into the trailer I do have to ask a question. What is the best ending to a movie you have ever seen? What is an ending to a movie that you personally think about when you think about satisfaction? You don’t need to see anything else, you don’t need to find out anything else, everything that’s been seen thus far is all that matters. I had a similar feeling inside me once I saw the first “Infinity War” trailer. I didn’t want another trailer. But apparently we got one. Am I mad? No. Am I disappointed? No. Do I think it is necessary? Not really. I was stoked to watch it when I had the chance, but in all seriousness, I didn’t think we needed something like this. Not to mention, the first “Infinity War” trailer, looked like A+ material. It restored my faith for the MCU, which has always been known as the current comic book movie group whose movies are the very definition of epic. I was highly underwhelmed with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” when it released in 2017. In fact I rewatched the movie in school this year for a class and I hated the movie even more. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. It was a HUGE downfall after seeing Spidey in “Captain America: Civil War.” “Thor: Ragnarok” was better than both of those films, but to me, it felt like it tried too hard with the jokes. Also, to say that it’s a DIFFERENT type of Marvel movie like everyone else is, yeah, that’s f*cking bulls*it. It has humor, a Stan Lee cameo, end credit sequences, multiple heroes in there, there’s action, all that jazz. HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT? Also, I like “Immigrant Song,” but why did it have to play twice? You can argue it’s a different “Thor” movie, but even so, that’s one thing I didn’t like about it. I know a lot of people hate the first “Thor,” but I thought it was the best phase 1 MCU film! It actually, at times, felt similar to the second “Thor” film, you know, the one that should have never happened ever. I want it to rot in a dark world where it shall never escape. This year’s “Black Panther” was better than all of the three films of focus, but I found it to be somewhat overhyped. I saw it twice already, but I found it to be overhyped.

The first trailer given to us towards the end of the fall, made me think “Avengers: Infinity War,” could possibly, be the best movie in the MCU. Because I think I just saw one of the best trailers in the MCU. I’m not saying that this new end of winter trailer changed my thought process completely, but I considered it a step down from the first trailer. I will admit, I enjoyed parts of the trailer, but I can’t really call it the greatest thing on the face of the Earth. Now let’s dive into it!

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So the trailer starts off and we get this opening shot where the camera is starting off in a near-upside down position. The shot I’m seeing here believe it or not, reminds me of one shot I saw in “Black Panther.” One thing I couldn’t help but think of as well is, you know how all the phones that are out now? If you flip the screen left or right, the image will change position? It’s kind of like that. Someone who might as well been on a helicopter took a picture of New York City, this is their homescreen, and it somehow the homescreen can now move when the phone is rotated.

Then we move onto a montage of shots where we hear Gamora and Tony speaking about the film’s main villain. His motivation is to wipe out half of the universe. When I watched this for the first time, I thought to myself, wait a sec, not all of it? OK, that’s unique. This conversation sounds rather compelling if you ask me. This is especially true when Tony wants to hear the guy’s name again. Gamora reminds him the name is Thanos.

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Speaking of which, we get this shot of Gamora as she mentions Thanos’ name. I love this shot because looking it at closely enough, it almost seems to foreshadow the ultimate strength of Thanos himself. I can already tell that Thanos is about to kick some ass in this movie, maybe kill some Avengers in this movie, and possibly depending on what happens in “Avengers 4,” kill more in that movie. This purple glow you’re seeing all over the place, that’s saying something. Sure, there seems to be a portal in front of Gamora, but I honestly feel this is definitely foreshadowing.

On that topic, we also get the first reveal shot in this trailer of Thanos, which if you’re unfamiliar with Marvel…

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He has Doctorates in asskicking and being an ungrateful f*cking son of a bitch. If he’s your doctor and he’s got a needle, he’s not gonna give you a shot, which by itself, is painful. Chances are he’d shove that needle down your throat.

One relationship that has been revealed to us throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the mentor-mentee relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker. So I see these two shots and they occur one after the other. You’ve got the shot of Spider-Man flying around, then you see Iron Man flying after some ship-like thing in the air. Maybe Spidey’s up there and Iron Man is trying to rescue him. That could totally just be there to get people to think that and this assumption actually is way off, and it could be, because look at the slight differences in the skies. I’m not saying that’s happening, but this does lead me to thinking that.

We also hear Stark say “We’ve got one advantage. He’s comin’ to us. We have what Thanos wants… so that’s what we use.” What does Thanos want? If you have not been following the overall storyline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’d probably be unaware that Thanos wants the Infinity Stones. Hence why this movie’s called “Infinity War.” So we see one that has not exactly been revealed in any promotional material yet, and it is in the possession of Doctor Strange, and another one which we have seen, is in the possession of Vision. Basically, anytime while I’m at the theater to see this film, I can imagine at least one audience member gasping or getting chills when they see an Infinity Stone.

Next up we have some shots of Wakanda, which moviegoing audiences have been introduced to in “Black Panther.” Appropriately, we get a glance of “Black Panther.” He looks super noble, welcoming, and charming. A bunch of the “Avengers,” including the gorgeous Scarlett Johanson as Black Widow can be seen in one shot. And speaking of Black Widow, she has blonde hair for a reason I still don’t quite get, but maybe there will be a reason in the film. I’m not saying a hairstyle can’t be changed on a character, but it’s throwing me off. You know how in the “Divergent” movies, Shailene Woodley’s character of Tris would always have different hair in each installment? It just felt odd! You also have Steve Rogers shaking T’Challa’s hand, very wonderful to see. And I must say once again, Wakanda looks nice. Although I wouldn’t say it’s as nice as possible. Maybe a little color grading will change it all, but that’s just a nitpick.

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Then we get… THIS SHOT. This is something a good number of people have been waiting for. Stark and Star Lord are standing next to each other! I also love the way Tony is standing. In this frame you can see he has eyes kinda closed, but even when they’re open, you can look at the way he’s standing and find it to be chuckle-worthy. You can also see at this point, Star Lord IS Star Lord.

“Let’s talk about this plan of yours. I think it’s good, except, it sucks. So let ME do the plan and that way it might be really good.”

It almost reminds me of another role Chris Pratt did. You know how in “The LEGO Movie” he plays the main character of Emmett and he meets Wyldstyle? They’re in the old west and at one point, they’re talking about the main villain and the current state of what’s going on. So they’re talking to each other and Emmett says this:

“Great. I think I got it. But just in case… tell me the whole thing again, I wasn’t listening.”

Part of me was nervous about the “Guardians of the Galaxy” crew being in this movie because I thought with their humor combined with the tone of the main “Avengers” crew, I thought it would result in clashing tones. This clip gives me hope.

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So everyone seems to be getting ready for a big battle, they’re still on Wakanda, and this is probably gonna be some brutal s*it. You can also hear Thanos speaking over with the music, it just sounds awesome! Also, this is something that I’ve been waiting to see for a good bit of time in a Marvel movie. Despair. While I don’t think it’ll be as dark as the source material based on what I’ve heard, I’m quite excited to see a possibility that maybe Thanos could end up winning the battle. His destiny could be fulfilled. As you can see in the shot above, we have Thor, and from what I can tell, he’s still got no hammer, but lightning is a true force of his. Also, another thing he’s missing is an eye. If you’ve seen “Thor: Ragnarok,” you’d know the story. That however is more visible in this shot, the one where Thor is basically Thanos’ puppet.

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I mean… Holy s*it.

But before that shot occurred, we got to see what I consider to be one of the most defining moments of the entire trailer. We see Thanos’s hand, and you can also see a much smaller green hand. And based off of what I can tell, that is Gamora’s hand. Specifically, a young Gamora’s hand. The two are walking, and this must serve some purpose to the story. I can basically bet a million dollars that this is a flashback to Gamora’s youth. You know I’m right. Throughout, Thanos says this:

“When I’m done, half of humanity will still exist.”

This is once again restating the plan I mentioned at the beginning of this post. As I heard this, one thought went into my mind. What if Thanos knows the Infinity Stones aren’t powerful enough to kill all of humanity, and now he needs to find another way to kill the rest? Maybe in “Avengers 4?”

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The fighting continues, and we get to see perhaps an updated and more quality version of the big battle towards the end of “Star Wars Episode I.” Also, there’s gonna be big explosions everywhere, so I imagine if Michael Bay sees this trailer, he probably has his IMAX tickets already.

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Then we have one the most chilling shots of the trailer, Doctor Strange who looks like he’s getting the worst acupuncture session of all time. I’m almost convinced this is part of a dream sequence, and if it is, I’ll be somewhat disappointed, but this just shows how much our heroes are going to suffer in this event they call a movie.

I gotta talk about this moment too. The one where Thanos, from what I’m gathering, is saying to Iron Man, “I hope they remember you.” If this is not exactly a trailer trick and the line is actually being used where I think it is going to be used, specifically, in Iron Man’s last moments (I’ll get to this in a second), that is the perfect line that could be used for this!

Next up, is a moment of the trailer that so many people are talking about, and it associates with why Captain America is a great hero. You have Thanos here, looking like he’s ready to do some collateral damage to Cap, and all of a sudden, Cap’s itty bitty teeny tiny hands are grabbing onto Thanos’ mega Five Finger Death Punch fist. Thanos looks confused, and the shot where this is visible on the top left has actually been compared by some to a recently popularized meme. Specifically, Patrick Star’s “evil face.” And you can tell in the shot after, the one on the top right, CAP IS GIVING IT HIS *ALL*. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

After the logo that seems to be taking as much time as it can to let everyone know what this movie is going to be called, we get one comedic moment. Or… at least that’s what people are saying. Because honestly, if this were comedy, it might as well be the cheapest form possible. I’m not gonna be too too hard on it, but it just feels out of place at least in this trailer, and it might be one of the weakest moments of comedy in the MCU. Essentially Spidey and Strange are introducing each other to one another. Spidey gives his real name of Peter and Strange is using his hero name, to which Peter says…

“Oh, so we’re using our made up names, then I am Spider-Man.”

Then we get a shot of Spidey swinging around through all sorts of destruction, everything looks like it has been f*cked over, and the trailer ends.

I’m not gonna say we NEEDED this trailer, but it also doesn’t mean it is bad. I think this is going to be a great film, but I was already all set after trailer 1. This just riddled my brain just a little bit. It gave me some things to be excited for, although part of me wonders how the comedy will play out. Now let’s talk about something we’ll all inevitably face in life.

That thing called death.

Seriously. SOMEONE HAS TO DIE IN THIS MOVIE. And I will probably give some major points if a death occurs to more than just a single character. If Hawkeye dies, I won’t f*cking give a damn. Hawkeye has done nothing for the MCU. Why should I care if he dies? The death has to pertain to someone I’d care about. Someone other people will care about. ALSO, IF THERE’S A FAKE DEATH IN THIS MOVIE I WILL SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FOOT! You know what Marvel? Pepper doesn’t die in “Iron Man 3?” Fine. Nick Fury doesn’t die in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier?” Alright, but it’s almost borderline stupid. As for the people whose death could affect the story, let me go down the list.

First and foremost is Iron Man. If Iron Man dies, this could be a perfect setup for a new story for Spider-Man, because obviously, Spider-Man is Iron Man’s mentee. This can lead to struggles in “Avengers 4” and the sequel to “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Not only that, but it can also lead to struggles among the Avengers themselves. Tony is basically the spark to ignite the Avengers (unless you count Nick Fury). He’s the hero that defines the MCU Avengers. The rest of them have to cope with his death and fight in his honor.

Another death that could truly affect the story is if Gamora dies. Now Gamora’s a newer character but her death could be the point of the script where Thanos goes from being an evildoer to a jackass. Thanos raised Gamora, and based on what we’ve seen in the MCU’s material, they clearly have different views on society. Sure, Nebula’s death could do the same thing since Gamora was her sister but I feel that the death of Gamora could leave me mourning a lot more due to a larger attachment to Gamora. And… maybe… Because she’s a good-lookin… green chick… I dunno. Oh, and speaking of that! That can definitely affect Star Lord! The two are romantically linked and if Gamora dies, Star Lord is gonna freak out. Maybe he’ll endlessly shoot up Thanos in rage! Also if EITHER of the sisters die, it’ll obviously affect the other because, well, they’re sisters. Although I don’t think this death might end up happening for multiple reasons. First, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is scheduled for a 2020 release. Second, Gamora is part of perhaps the most family-friendly part of the MCU. Third, she’s not exactly a main Avenger, and if it were to happen that people were to die, I think it wouldn’t really affect the Guardians as much. But you never know, anything can happen.

Other deaths can affect the story, and other deaths can definitely tug the audience’s emotional strings. But these are the two (or three if you count Nebula) that’ll probably have the most dramatic effect on the story and the MCU going forward.

Also, one question I didn’t ask after the first trailer. WHERE THE HELL ARE ANT-MAN AND HAWKEYE? IMDb suggests both characters will be in the movie, but we’ve seen nothing from them in the previews. One thing I’ve been gathering from a number of people, is that it’s possible that their lack of appearance has to do with something secret. Maybe having to do with “Ant-Man and the Wasp” coming out this July. I mean, if Hawkeye doesn’t show up, I don’t freaking care, he’s useless as hell anyway. Nothing against Jeremy Renner, he’s a good actor, but his character’s useless. Or… What if Ant-Man is hidden somewhere in this movie? Maybe in a good amount of frames in the trailer? But since he’s so small, it’s incredibly hard to see him! Or maybe, they’re in the credits.

Overall, I’m pretty stoked for “Avengers: Infinity War,” I already got my tickets, I’m going opening Thursday night at my local IMAX theater with laser projection. I’m gonna be seeing the movie in 3D, it’s gonna probably be one of the wildest experiences I’ll ever have at the movies. I’m undoubtedly excited that I know even if the movie sucks, I’ll have an awesome experience. I already enthusiastically tweeted about it!

Thanks for reading this post! “Avengers: Infinity War” has opening night showings on April 26th and will be everywhere on April 27th. I honestly don’t think I’m AS hyped as I was once before. In fact, after watching a recent “Ready Player One” trailer, I’m a little more hyped for that, but this movie looks like GOLD. My review for the film will be out at the end of next month and I’ll also soon have one for Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” to kick off my series of “Mission: Impossible” reviews. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know. Did you see this new “Infinity War” trailer? What are your thoughts? Do you think anyone will die in this upcoming film? If so, who? Will Disney actually allow the darkest possible film to happen? Let me know down below and if you haven’t already, get your tickets! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!