Monday, December 9, 2019

2019, A Film Odyssey: Super! Fly!

Battle of the Franchise Stars

This year's hits you may have missed, flops that you should avoid, hidden gems to discover and more, plus where to watch 'em...

Heroes take to the skies:

Avengers: Endgame (now streaming on Disney+):
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a thrilling/frustrating superhero saga that climaxes in this epic denouement that actually perfectly represents the best and worst of this imperfect series. Good: there are so many crowd-pleasing moments ("Avengers assemble!" Steve and Peggy!) that it might as well be titled Fan Service: The Movie. Bad: the addition of time travel, confounding the MCU's already plot hole-heavy narrative. Oh, and Fat Thor. It's been a fun roller coaster through 11 years and 22 movies; you just can't think too deeply about it now that the ride is over. (7/10)

Spider-Man: Far from Home (now available on Blu-ray and DVD)
Positioned as a coda to Endgame, this latest adventure of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is much more than that. Set in a post-"blip" world, Peter Parker (the continuously delightful Tom Holland) teams up with the mysterious, uh, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal, himself a would-be Spidey back in the day) to thwart a multidimensional menace that may have ties to a certain multimillionaire mentor. A twist-filled plot, mind-bending special effects and a fist-pumpingly awesome last minute reveal make this the best comic book flick of recent memory. (8/10)

The Aeronauts (in theaters now; streaming on Amazon Prime starting December 20):
Based loosely on real 19th century treks up into the wild blue yonder via hot air balloon, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones (the erstwhile Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Hawking of The Theory of Everything fame) star in this period adventure as the pioneering title characters. Saddled with a hackneyed "will they or won't they" romance and a distracting nonlinear structure, the film only takes off (literally) during its aerial action sequences that are thrillingly visceral, particularly a nerve-wracking climb up the ice-covered outside of the balloon. (6/10)

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

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