Spider-Man: Far From Home

4 out of 5 stars

Who’d have thunk? There is a time after Avengers: Endgame! And it’s a jolly good time!

After all the dust has settled, I must say I’m surprised to see, that even after the ultimative comic-book experience that was Avengers: Endgame, there’s still room for movies of this sort.

Of course, «Spider-Man: Far From Home» plays in a whole different ball-park, even a different league than the superhero-movie that should have ended all superhero-movies (but of course hasn’t).

But that’s a good thing!

Thanos may not have undone 50% of all the life in the universe, but consequently, a reset button has been pushed: It’s as if all the pressure and excitement for «Endgame» has been built up and paid off so handsomely, there’s now room for «smaller» comic book films, not focusing on grandeur, but on storytelling, quality, and most important: fun – well aware that there’s no way to go against the humungous undertaking and experience «Endgame» was.

And I must say, they do an outstanding job at it: «Spider-Man: Far From Home» is one of the best written comic book movies in a while – the way they used a known villain (Jake Gyllenhaal at his best), marketed him as a hero and still got the curve to make the whole story work without seeming dishonest is unparalleled and probably the best thing in an overall very satisfying and entertaining movie that even would have worked without this gimmick.

Even for someone like me, who doesn’t really like the very specific sub-genre of Euro-Trip-Comedies,… it was a bliss to see Spidey, or better Peter Parker, reliving all the stale tropes of the genre put against the background of the aftermath of Tony Stark’s death and the legacy it put upon him, using it as a way to develop his character.

«Spider-Man: Far From Home» is the movie I wouldn’t have had the honesty to ask for after «Endgame».

It’s not the movie a now matured audience wished for, but it’s the movie we deserved after the scarring events in the last two Avengers movies.

Let’s enjoy this refreshing, light-hearted summer-breeze – it will get cold and serious again soon enough with «Joker»…

Well done! Go see it!

  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
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Hereditary

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Avengers: Endgame

5 out of 5 stars

I’m happy now.

I won’t even try to understand how confused someone who’s been living under a rock for the past eleven years must feel like watching «Avengers: Endgame». But this movie is not for them. This movie was made for fans – it was made for rafemen. It was made for me.

I wasn’t afraid.

I wasn’t worried this time around that the Russo Brothers wouldn’t be able to pull it off. They went all-in with «Avengers: Infinity War» and succeeded spectacularly. With «Avengers: Endgame» they still had everything to loose, but the pressure was off, it seems, and they delivered.

I’m not even mad.

I don’t care that as a movie, «Endgame» isn’t the masterpiece «Infinity War» was. By itself, it’s probably not even that good a film. At times it lacks in elegance and pacing, even some of the green-screen work seems rushed and unfinished.
What this movie is is an all-star potpourri, the ultimate fan-service delivery-device. And probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen on the big screen.
Where «Infinity War» was all about quality and build-up, «Endgame» is about quantity. A nostalgic, almost melancholic stroll down memory lane.
«Endgame» is nothing short of the ultimate payoff for fans like me, made possible only through the hard work, imagination and most important, the heart and soul of thousands of highly talented people, creating a phenomenon never seen before in the history of cinema: A dream come true lasting for more than a decade.

I cried.

For the last ten or so years I’ve been witnessing something that I’d never thought to be possible as young boy in the eighties, way beyond my bedtime, browsing all of six TV-Channels over and over again looking for something fantastic, something special,… something for me. Just to be let down time and again finding out that neither «The Electric Horseman» nor «The Kiss of the Spider-Woman» had anything to do with superheroes or comic books whatsoever…
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become everything that this now grown up boy could ever wish for, and more: It has shown me that it’s ok to be me: A nerd, a geek, a loner communicating first through drawings, then through websites, even a puny blog. In a cynical world I’ve learned to appreciate the ability to enjoy those ridiculous movies, unbelievable characters and fantastic adventures – the suspension of disbelieve truly has become my own personal superpower, giving me the opportunity to find excitement and happiness through escapism in times my depression wouldn’t allow it in any other way.

Without a doubt, there will be more comic book movies to come, even from Marvel Studios. But for me, with «Infinity War» and «Endgame» an era has ended. A most spectacular and emotional cinematic roller coaster ride has come to a stop, giving me closure. And what a truly amazing, satisfying ride it was.

I’m ready now….

It’s time to leave the dark movie theatre and go outside. To meet new friends, say thank you to my family and old pals and let go of even older ideas. To create new things and destroy bad habits. To make peace. To find purpose. To find love.

It’s time…

It’s time for me to take off those 3D glasses and open my eyes for the wonders this world has to offer, to experience whatever marvels this life presents for me to explore, embracing the good, overcoming the bad, growing into the person I am supposed to be.
Not to become a superhero, not even a hero – but a good man.

I am rafeman.

I am Raphael.

  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
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First Man

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Overlord

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Captain Marvel

3.5 out of 5 stars

Though I had been reading comic books before, I’ll never forget my first encounter with «Captain Marvel»:

Well, Mar-Vell was a dude back then, and sadly about to die in the very same issue. No spoiler, there – it was right on the cover: «The Death of Captain Marvel» by Jim Starlin.

I couldn’t believe what treasure I was holding in my hands, witnessing origin, live and DEATH of a superhero! “This must be a mistake!”, I thought to my much younger self: Multiple grave errors must have been made to lead to this: A boy, not even seven years old probably shouldn’t read this: Cancer – killing – a superhero – in a comic book? And then, all those wonderful panels featuring a plethora of dozens, even hundreds of characters, most I’ve never even had seen before! My mind was blown🤯!…

Photo of my original issue of «Der Tod des Captain Marvel» (Jim Starlin, Condor Verlag, 1983)

…blown! With this latest «Captain Marvel» movie – not so much. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fine. More than fine: Brie Larson is perfect in the title role, exploring a different, younger, more grounded aspect of the Super-Heroine I’ve learnt to respect and treasure with Gal Gadot’s «Wonder Woman»*.

Also Samuel L. Jackson seems to enjoy his much bigger part and, as a bonus, two intact eyes and it works like a charm. (Even Jude Law gives me hope in proving that not everything is lost with a receding hairline not unlike my own).

And yes, there’s a cat, and Ben Mendelsohn, and that’s ok, but I’ve honestly seen better work of both of them😺.

Almost everything else in this movie seems to be falling in place quite nicely: The VFX are bombast-top-notch, of course. And music, sound and story are as solid as we’ve come to expect from Kevin Feige and his team.

But nonetheless, the result seems somewhat unfocused in the beginning and then, once the story gains momentum, still remains oddly flat, without much sense of drama or impact – muted, almost compressed in scope – if you will – unsuiting for a movie about one of the most powerful characters in the MCU.

I didn’t want to go here in this text, but I must admit, while I don’t condone the badmouthing on social media and rotten tomatoes even before «Captain Marvel» was released, it’s hard to ignore that in some scenes the movie really seems to halt and announce: «See what we’ve done there? Yeah girl! You go girl, YOU’re our target audience! Women can be strong, too!»

That’s not too bad per se, Marvel and others have done a similar thing for years, calling it «fan service», but I can’t shake the impression that this time around a more focused, better movie might have gotten lost in the process. What makes this worse is the fact that it wouldn’t even have been necessary: With Brie Larson as the perfect strong, female lead, no additional distracting shenanigans would have been needed, no matter what song is playing in the background…

…you’ll know what I mean when you watch the movie, which you should, ’cause while «Captain Marvel» remains on the weaker side of MCU-Movies, it’s still very entertaining and Brie Larson, especially sporting the iconic suit, is worth the admission price alone.

  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷🐷
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ASIDE: I can’t help to think of the hilariousity we all got robbed of when DC decided to release their movie as «Shazam!» and NOT «Captain Marvel» (not that this ever was a possibility, but still). I guess the outcome would have been even more disastrous and entertaining than «Batman v Superman»’s multiple million dollar CGI moustache removal they had to do on Henry Cavill who wasn’t allowed to shave for reshoots because he had to wrap «Mission: Impossible – Fallout»!


*) As much as I love Black Widow or Jessica Jones, they’re in a different, minor league, compared to «Captain Marvel» or «Wonder Woman».

Alita: Battle Angel

3.5 out of 5 stars

Now I’m angry.

I didn‘t plan on writing anything about «Alita: Battle Angel» and just make it a quicky this time around. Or should I say «Alita: Battle Angel – Part Fu**ing One»? But nooo, they had to do this their way, didn’t they!?

The unwillingness of telling a complete story in a single film really pisses me off! It’s one thing to make a bunch of sequels after having delivered a successful initial film, fair enough. But until then, I expect a first coherent, finished standalone movie before the right is earned to bull pullshit like this! Not an episode, a movie!

Imagine «From Dusk Till Dawn» ending when the Gecko brothers enter the «Titty Twister». It’s like having «Titanic» cut to credits after Leo’s «I’m the king of the world!» speech. That’s exactly what the ending of «Alita: Battle Angel» feels like. (And don’t give me some pittyful casting-twist-crap, it really doesn’t help your case).

It’s not like «Alita: The Setup» doesn’t overstay its welcome by at least 20 minutes as it is. And I understand that the complete story of the manga it’s based on would probably be too big to handle in a single movie.

But please! This is just annoying as fu*k, leaving me unsatisfied and with an empty feeling, no matter how shiny and spectacular the whole build-up process for a money-making franchise might be.

«Earn this!»

And would you pleeeease get rid of that godawful Real 3D-technology already or at least adjust the projector’s brightness properly so that the expensive CGI gets a chance to shine, for cryin’ out loud!?

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