It’s gonna be a short one this time. I’m not gonna say anything about “Endgame” except talk about its box office. Zero spoilers. But every time Marvel drops another behemoth, my first thought is always, ‘Bambi, DC Comics.” And it’s a sincere “bambi” cos I really am rooting for their ambitious, grounded take on such a large scale. But every time they start to feel good about finally landing one, Marvel has to come along and remind them they’re still at the kiddie table. We had barely begun to celebrate “Wonder Woman”s success when Marvel dropped “Black Panther” and had everyone Wakanda Forever-ing. Then last Christmas, “Aquaman” proved that DC can be fun too and finally pushed one of their films past $1bn at the global box office.
“Avengers Endgame” has outgrossed that film, DC’s biggest hit yet, in just 5 days.
Can you imagine what that’s doing to the self-esteem of the folks over at the DCEU? This is basically a hate crime. I’m picturing lots of long showers and comfort food over at the Warner Bros studio lot. I’m still with you, DCEU! Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 1984” is going to kick all our asses next year!
Man, credit to the Russos for knocking “Endgame” out of the park. You know what, credit to Kevin Feige and his team for planting all these seeds over the course of 10 years and building to this spectacular payoff! It might get lost in the constant record-shattering headlines and the seemingly ubiquitous presence of Marvel in one way or another, but what this franchise has done is UNPRECEDENTED. Since the launch of the MCU in 2008, the studio has released 22 films, at a rate of about 3 Marvel movies a year, and every single one of them has been a hit. That’s FUCKING NUTS! Not even Pixar can claim that kind of success rate. It’s actually kind of scary.
Otherwise, it’s been a pretty uneventful year at the movies 4 months in. I mean Jordan Peele’s “Us” was definitely a highlight and proved that “Get Out” was no fluke. He’s doing genre films at such a high level of quality. What else has there been? “Shazam’ was pretty fun and had a particularly rewarding final act that I’m glad and kinda stunned they managed to keep out of the previews. “Captain Marvel”… I don’t wanna shit on this big moment for all our little girls to see themselves as champions so I’m a plead the 5th on this one. “ALITA”! Aliiitaaaaa!! I swear this movie isn’t bad and yet it’s definitely not great either. It’s such a disorienting mix of things, like it was made to appeal to all ages but somehow appeals to none at all? I don’t know but I definitely didn’t regret seeing it and actually kinda hope they make another one? Just so much Whyyyy juice with this one. Like right when it’s getting good, something happens and you’re left sitting there thinking, “Whyyyy?”
Where are all the mid-range quality films? Where my comedies at? Legal dramas? Romantic dramas? Remember when we had these fully enjoyable, small scale films outside of the Oscar season? Films like “The Lincoln Lawyer” or “Limitless” or “Moneyball”? And other good films that didn’t come out in 2011… It’s like all those kinds of films have shifted to streaming and all we get in the theaters are blockbusters and Oscar contenders. Sometimes you want some no-stakes engagement. Just a good story you can lose yourself in for a couple hours at the movies. Everything doesn’t have to be some world-ending event.
Currently sitting at the top of my list for the year is “Shoplifters”, an unassuming Japanese film that won the grand prize at “Cannes” like 2 years ago but was only released (on HULU) this year. I know I sound pretentious and I hate me too but this film is not at all what you might expect. It’s just a story about a makeshift family that lives in a sort of shack, finding their own happiness and love at the lowest rungs of society. Oh and they all shoplift for survival. It’s funny and sweet and heartbreaking and surprising and truly a special film. I miss the time where there were a dozen such films a year. Last year there were like 2.
Oh shit, I said this was gonna be a short one. Alright, Avenge away everybody! And do something nice and unexpected for someone, anyone. Arya showed her titty on “Game of Thrones” and it’s probably the most uncomfortable I’ve felt watching a show that’s full of beheadings, incest, murdering children and a 13-year-old breastfeeding boy.