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: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷

Overlord

3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷

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: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷

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».

A Quite Place

4.5 out of 5 stars

Just having learned today what «Giri choko» or «Pflichtschokolade» means, I realized what a lazy bastard I can be, preferring eating chocolate, pizza and McRaclette instead of writing forced movie «reviews» no one will ever read anyway.

Celebrating this new found honesty, I’m hereby introducing a new review-format for all no-time-for-no-bullshit-film-fans out there:

The «Quicky» [measured in metric pigs]:

Here we go, starting with John Krasinski’s brillant «A Quite Place» (Categories may vary):

  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
«Pflichtschokolade»

Birdman

4.5 out of 5 stars

Too lazy (and too drnk right now) to write a proper review (and don’t have the time to get into details, I have to get even more drnkn in a minute), but after my «Roma» “Review” I feel that I have to show that I still have some sense of proper movie-appreriationtiaion for some to like SOME artsy-fartsy movies!

I’m just rewatching «Birdman» and wanted to let you know, that it’s great and you absolutely have to watch it! Like now!!!

I problaly shouldnt wirt e this but it’s really graet, where are those really grat movies now? Frget «Rpoma», watch «Birdman»! BIIIIRDMAAAN!!!

Lets get some more Oscars over here, plse, bevore «Roma« gets, tehm!

Dad?! Dad!?

Glass

3.5 out of 5 stars

For a moment there I really thought M. Night Shyamalan was finally back for good in all his former glory. But then «Glass» got a little clumsy and lost me somewhere along the way – just to win me back in the end.

As enjoyable and original the movie might be in general, Shyamalan once again tries a little too hard for my taste, lacking the elegance of his earliest work and for that matter, the charm of «Split», the movie that got me back on board for this one in the first place.

(In case you didn’t know, «Split» and «Unbreakable» are absolutely mandatory to see before «Glass» – it’s a whole thing now).

And though I love me some James McAvoy (I got so lucky to experience his wonderful stage performance as «Macbeth»), I’m sad to say, less «Horde» would have been more this time around.

All in all, revisiting Mr. Glass’ Meta-Comic-Super-Hero-World (almost two decades after «Unbreakable») in the weakest but still solid part of the trilogy, is absolutely worth its admission price.

M. Night really seems to be redeeming himself lately. Let’s be nice and give him just a little bit more time, he’ll get there again…

James McAvoy in Macbeth (Trafalgar Studios London, 2013)

Aquaman

1 out of 5 stars

The only good thing I can write about «Aquaman» is that it ends. (Which is true in more than one way; the final 10 minutes of the movie where almost enjoyable).

But since this appalling piece of crab (yes, I just wrote that) presented itself as such an offending incoherent mess, I really don’t feel like making an effort here, either. So let’s just open the floodgates, shall we:

  • Can we let the DC Extended Universe die now, please? At this point it’s just intolerable cruelty.
  • This movie has the pacing and elegance of a very bad «Family Guy» episode.
  • «Uncanny Valley – The Movie»
  • You know you’re in trouble when Patrick Wilson steals the movie. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Patrick Wilson).
  • On the bright side, «The Shape of Water» is no longer my most hated water-related film of late.
  • Poor Jason Momoa wasn’t given anything to work with whatsoever.
  • You know you’re in trouble when I think Jason Momoa was underused. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Jason Momoa).
  • This movie feels longer than Willem Dafoe’s dong. And it’s almost as painful to watch as its scene in Lars von Trier’s «Antichrist».
  • Like watching eight awful movies in parallel – while sitting on a trident, and not the comfortable way.
  • You had to cram «Black Manta» into this, did you? BTW, have you even seen «Black Panther»?
  • You know you’re in trouble when Dolph Lundgren’s hair becomes the most fascinating thing in the scene.
  • Sicily, reaally? You don’t say?!
  • Harry Gregson-Williams has a brother?!
  • Directed by James Wan does this garbage end?
  • Amber please stop, it Heards!
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by children in the winter. It’s called «Snowman».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by dogs in the winter. It’s called «yellow snow».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by my anus in the winter. It’s called «shit».
  • Aw, just Faqu,man!

Don’t buy them BeatsX earphones!

1 out of 5 stars

They are C R A P !

It’s almost sad to say, but the sound quality of the BeatsX by Dre earphones would be very decent, and imho they are way cooler than the standard AirPods.  And since the brand belongs to Apple they pair nicely with the iPhone and Apple Watch without always having to go through the bluetooth-settings  – AS LONG AS THE DAMN THINGS WORK!!!

But in the last SIX MONTHS I’ve gone through two pairs now until they just broke again. A blinking red LED error code all over again. No firmware update nor a reset would help. When I replaced the first pair the nice man at the Apple store told me this was not an unusual problem.

So, Dre, you might be a Doctor (which I doubt), but your BeatsX earphones suck balls! And Apple, f*ck you, too!

«Grohe Essence» Faucet

0.5 out of 5 stars

Maybe this is all my fault? Perhaps I should have honoured my father more. A humble, most esteemed plumber in a picturesque village in the middle of Switzerland, almost two decades ago. (He’s alive and well, thanks for asking, but still…)

Or I may could have started earlier with decalcify my faucet regularly.

Who knows such things?

Then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be forced today to come before you and use the mighty blogging voice that was bequeathed to me by you, the people, to inform you that the faucets in my bathroom (made by the company «Grohe» in their «Essence» product line) must be one of the very most stupidest examples of industrial design I’ve ever come across in all my years of endless, gruelling cycles of procrastination and cleaning.

«Why» you ask?

Because It’s just not fu*king possible to remove the damn faucet aerator (that thing at the end where the water comes out).

After a tiny little window of opportunity (sometime between five minutes and four years after installation) has passed, say goodbye to your hopes and dreams to ever remove and clean it.

PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT CONTENT. (Yellow marks the spots where the removing tool is supposed to get a grip.)

The problem presents itself as a combination of bad design and proprietary standards: Not only can the aerator not be reached by a monkey wrench. No, that devilish little thing is only accessible with a proprietary «Grohe Grooved Key Disassembly Tool» which may be purchased at a reasonable price on Amazon, but itself is built so extremely frail that I wouldn’t dare to use it without trying once more to descale the faucet beforehand. Which of course in itself is a futile endeavour because of gravity. But even then, my efforts remained an unsuccessful pipe dream (pun very much intended). Not even my new steam cleaner (the middle-aged man’s home workout station) would be of much help.

The condom was planned to hold the decalcifier fluid in place, which it didn’t do because of capillary action. (I guess. Damn you physics!)

Not only am I extremely disappointed by this latest experience with home appliances,… I might have lost the will to clean altogether. Don’t judge me. After all, I’m just a man…

…and not a woman. They are obviously genetically superior in cleaning…

…as someone less gender-sensitive may say…

…not me.

The fine people at «Grohe» in their ivory tower might call it a «faucet aerator», but for a hard-working (for the sake of argument), honest man like me, it’s a truly universally piece of sh!t, impossible to clean for all genders, species, classes and kingdoms alike. Removing this darn thing remains an interesting concept, an abstract idea,  an elusive mirage, if you will, unattainable maybe even for life and reality itself.

Who would have thought? After all, I may even have learned something today, even grown as a person.  Doesn’t that feel nice?

Love you, Dad!

Rafeman, Rafedad and a new faucet that is not mine.

 


Fun fact: A german synonym for «aerator» is «Vertikutierer» which translated back to english means «Scarifier» and seems appropriate in the context of this article. 


Photo credits: rafeman | grohe.ch | bernau-schwarzwald.de, Michael Trefzer