Ghostbusters: Afterlife Review: Bringing a Smile to my Face.

The Ghostbusters franchise has an interesting history, with the first one being considered a classic by many and its sequel also being enjoyed, although thought to be not as good.
Personally, it’s been a while since I saw the second one, but I do remember quite liking the first one.
Unfortunately this was not the case for the 2016 reboot, which I found to be quite bad and unfunny, apart from a few moments that made me chuckle.
Coming into the latest film in the franchise, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, I was actually pretty optimistic since it’s directed by Jason Reitman, the son of the director of the first two film’s, Ivan Reitman.
Sure enough, Afterlife is a charming movie which I am sure a lot of fans of the first two Ghostbusters films will enjoy. 

I found myself smiling a lot watching Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

The movie follows a struggling family who move to the small remote town of Summerville to live in their dead grandfather’s rundown farm.
However, after strange happenings, the daughter of the family, Phoebe, begins to realize that something paranormal is going on in Summerville, something which their grandfather had been trying to stop, as he may have been a Ghostbuster.
Phoebe is without a doubt the heart and soul of this movie, with McKenna Grace delivering an excellent performance as the quirky and courageous kid.

I hope McKenna Grace’s career takes off after this film because she is excellent in it.

Phoebe’s mother Callie (Carrie Coon), and her new science teacher Gary Grooberson are also interesting characters, and I actually wish Gary got more screen time, since I enjoyed Paul Rudd’s performance.
The one exception to all this is the son of the family, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), whose story I quickly became disinterested in and felt that it was kind of out of place with the rest of the narrative.
Said narrative is also entirely predictable and full of fan service.
However, I am not saying that either of those things are bad things.
Sure, I guessed where the story was going pretty easily as I was watching, but the story was so charming that I was just along for the ride.
As for the fanservice, we already know from Spiderman: No Way Home that it can be used excellently, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife is another example of this.
I remember grinning from ear to ear during one exciting chase sequence in the film.
It made me feel the same level of enjoyment that I remember feeling when watching the original Ghostbusters all those years ago. 

And this chase is not the only scene in the movie that brought me joy seeing.

This all culminates in a heartfelt ending that really pays respect to the old cast, both those still with us and one who has tragically passed.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a perfectly enjoyable movie with a lot of charm and I would recommend it to any fan of the franchise who has somehow not seen it yet. 

Avengers: Endgame, Review. Earns Every Minute of its Three Hour Runtime.

5 stars
When I heard Avengers: Endgame was going to be three hours long I was very concerned.
Not only about how I would sit through the entire thing without a toilet break, but also about how the film could drag due to this runtime.
Well, while watching Endgame I was overjoyed to find that, not only could my bladder hold, but also that the film earns every minute of its three hours.
In all honesty, the movie does not even feel three hours long.
Endgame is so investing that at no point does it drag, despite its long runtime, which is a huge achievement.
Directed by the Russo Brothers, the film picks up after the events of Avengers: Infinity War where Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped his fingers and wiped out half of all life in the universe.
The Avengers must then unite to find a way to stop Thanos and undo everyone’s deaths.
To say anything more of the plot, would be to spoil so many of Endgame’s amazing twists and turns.

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The story of Avengers: Endgame offers so many explosive moments, especially in its glorious final hour. 

For the most part the trailers only show the first half hour of the film, leaving me completely clueless as what was going to happen next, which made the experience even better.
So many movies spoil their big twists in trailers these days that it was a wonderful change of pace to have absolutely no idea what was coming.
This is made even more wonderful by how brilliant Endgame is with its story, characters, and action sequences.
The story brought out so many emotions in me.
I honestly cried at least five times during this film, both out of joy and sadness.
I think the last time I cried this much when watching a film was Logan, which was my favourite film of 2017.
Well, Endgame is certainly looking primed to take the top spot in 2019 for all its brilliance.
The characters themselves are a part of this brilliance, with many of their arcs being complete perfection.
My favourite characters of the film would have to be Tony Stark’ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers’ Captain America (Chris Evan), Clint Barton’s Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and surprisingly Nebula (Karen Gillan).
Tony is by far the standout though, with him providing a lot of the film’s emotional heart.

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Tony Stark is the heart and soul of this film, with Robert Downey Jr. turning in what has to be his best performance as the character.

Then there is the action, which is also stellar.
The final action sequence alone is one of the greatest final hours of any film I have ever seen.
It is absolute brilliance.
Sure, a lot of it is fan service, but it is earned fan service.
Every single part of Endgame is earned, especially that final bombastic hour.
Even the slower moments of the film are great, with so much amazing character development shown as our heroes deal with the aftermath of Thanos’ snap.
Speaking of the big guy, Thanos continues to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best villain.
He is not the main character of the film, like he is in Infinity War, but his presence it still massively felt.

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Josh Brolin is once again incredibly intimidating as the Mad Titan, who is the MCU’s best villain.

Overall, any problems I do have are relatively minor.
At the end of the film there appears to be a retcon to rules established earlier in the film, but this retcon is more than earned so it does not really matter.
Then there is Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), who I actually found myself disliking in this film because she is very stuck up and arrogant.
This would not have been a problem if this had been the start of her character arc, with her growing to learn that she needs the Avengers’ help, but she does not change at all.
Still, Captain Marvel is only a minor part of Endgame so my dislike of her here does not change my feelings about the film.
Avengers: Endgame is the true culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being its best film with the way it delivers excitement, intensity and emotion.
It is breaking so many records at the box office right now that it has me wondering if it might beat James Cameron’s Avatar, becoming the highest grossing film of all time.
I hope the film does because it has more than earned it.

Ant-Man and the Wasp stings with its humor (in a good way).

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Another day, another Marvel movie.
In all seriousness I am curious about how long Marvel can keep their cinematic universe going but based off Ant-Man and the Wasp it will probably be a while because this is another good addition to the MCU.
Directed by Peyton Reed, the film picks up sometime after Captain America where Scott Lang’s Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for his actions at the airport in Germany.
This is until he gets drawn back into the chaos by Hope van Dyne’s the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) on their mission to save Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the quantum realm.
By far Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s biggest strengths are its comedy and action.
This movie can be incredibly funny at times with one scene where Janet communicates through Scott making me have to hold my sides with laughter.
A lot of the humor also comes from Michael Pena’s character, Luis, who is one of the highlights of the film.

Michael Pena
Michael Pena’s Luis is one of the best characters in the film with his great comedic timing. 

As for the action it is very inventive with how Scott and Hope utilize their suits’ powers, which adds to the comedy as well.
I also liked a lot of these characters and even some of the new ones they introduced like FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park).
Along with the comedy the movie can also be impactful at times especially with the mid-credits scene, which I advise you stay and watch because I have not doubt it will be incredibly important for future MCU films.
However, while this film is funny and impactful it is far from perfect.
The film’s villain Ghost (Hannah John-Carmen) and the character of Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) both felt very weak and I found it difficult to like them.
I get what the film was going for with these two but it was just not set up or explained very well.

Ghost
The film tries to make Ghost and Foster sympathetic to the audience but there is very little setup and not a big payoff to who they are so it feels slightly contrived. 

Then there is the new character Sonny Birch (Walton Goggins) who was more a nuisance than an actual threat and had no reason to be in the story.
The way these three characters were used and portrayed really brought down the story for me because of how prominent they are in it.
Thankfully, the humor, action and likeable characters do bring the film up from these problems.
Overall Ant-Man and the Wasp is a good film with its likeable characters and great humor and action, even if it does falter majorly with a few of its characters.