The last thing I published before the hiatus (interregnum? Period of indolence?) was a review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Several other pop culture blockbusters have been released since them, so let me tell ya what I thought:
Captain America: Civil War: Critically important to the ongoing MCU story. You should check it out.
Doctor Strange: Hoo boy, this is a visual extravaganza. Benny C. was born to play this role, IMO. Check it out.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: See it for the storytelling, because (SPOILER ALERT!!) everyone dies at the end. But check it out, as long as you aren’t overly creeped out by the uncanny valley of CGI replications of actual people. (Aside: You should check out some of Peter Cushing’s work where he plays completely against type. His continually befuddled scientist in “At the Earth’s Core” is, well, something to behold. And there’s bonus Doug McClure and Caroline Munro and rubber monsters. Definitely check that one out!)
Deadpool: Fun, but naughty. Don’t take the kids. Seriously, don’t take the kids, but check it out.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: Beautiful, fun, but a smidgen disjointed. I suspect Peter Quill will find a way back to some of that awesome power eventually. And Ego should have been riding around in a Burt Reynolds Screaming Chicken Trans Am, not a Mustang II. But still, check it out.
Spider Man: Homecoming: Another solid reboot of this franchise. I look forward to them trying it again in about 2025. There never was a reason for Aunt May to be 200 years old, so I strongly support the casting of Marisa Tomei in the role. And Michael Keaton is really good. So check it out.
Thor: Ragnarok: Big big fun! You kind of have to see this to understand Bruce Banner/Hulk’s deal in a later movie, so once again, check it out.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: This movie. Hmm. This movie. Lots of dumb and/or annoying stuff in this movie. Excessive slapstick. Sea cows with green milk. An entire subplot that goes nowhere important. Big Bad villain that we never really learned anything about is killed without us really learning anything about him. A rather Grandma-ish Leia. (RIP Carrie, I so desperately wish that hadn’t been your last performance in this series). Sloooooow speed space chases involving hyperspace-capable ships and lots of shouting. Dumb stuff.
But ya know, as much as I don’t like the character of Emo Ben Solo, his connection to Rey is no doubt going to be important to the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga. And if you don’t like the way Luke was portrayed, well, you don’t know how depression works. A partly-trained Jedi starts a new academy, it crashes and burns spectacularly, so he decides to walk away so he doesn’t screw anything else up. (Been there, done that). Yet sometimes, we find a way to rise above that and come back to make a difference in the end. And that is Luke’s story. I hope he comes back with some Force Ghost wisdom in Episode IX, and brings Yoda, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Anakin, and ever Mace MFing Windu along for the ride. Free your mind and check it out.
Black Panther: An incredible story that leaves you full of hope. I want to go to Wakanda. Check it out.
Avengers: Infinity War: An incredible story that somehow gives all these people a reasonable amount of screen time. And then you walk out without hope (other than the fact that this is, after all, a comic book movie, where universe-destroying events usually gets sorted out in a couple of issues.) Imagine it’s 1980, and you’ve just walked out of The Empire Strikes Back, and you’re sure Luke is dead (assume we didn’t see him grab the last antenna, so that plot point was left dangling) and you have to wait three years to see the next one. And then someone stole your puppy. That’s what the end of this movie is like, and I’m kind of pissed at the Russos for jerking our emotions around like this. They’d better stick the landing. Check it out so you won’t be left out of conversations for the next year.
There you go. My cold to slightly lukewarm takes on every Great Big Movie released since late 2015. Well, the ones I saw, anyway.