Superheroes on big and small screens (with spoilers)

I finally found the time to catch AVENGERS: End-Game (2019) and while I think it could have been trimmed from its three hour length (and I don’t know it’s worth the big box office take), I don’t think it actually sagged at any point. We open with the Avengers and Captain Marvel hunting down Thanos only to discover he’s destroyed the Infinity Stones to secure his triumph. Five years later, however, Ant-Man emerges from the quantum realm where time flows differently — while they can’t change the past, could they take the stones temporarily from various points in time, then use them to restore all the dead?

This is a better concept than just using the timestone to fix things, which a lot of people expected (unfortunately we never get an answer for why Dr. Strange gave Thanos the stone in Infinity War) and it allows us a last look at several characters (Ancient One, Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Happy Hogan). Good, though not flawless (e.g., Jim C. Hines’ thoughts on Thor’s character arc). “It’s never been personal for me, but destroying your infuriating little mudball — I’m going to take pleasure in it.”

UMBRELLA ACADEMY is Netflix’s adaptation of Gerard Way’s bizarro superhero series, as the dysfunctional foster children of a British eccentric reunite after years apart when their father dies. And the timing is good because the apocalypse is looming — but can the combined talents of Spaceboy, Seance, Kraken, Rumor and Number Five turn the tide? Not as weird as the comic book series, but gloriously weird even so, with some excellent performances, particularly Ellen Page as the tragic violinist Vanya (though the climax of her arc did get a little too Dark Phoenix). “If the benchmark is ‘extraordinary,’ what do you do when you’re not?”

The fourth season of DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW had a disappointing finish — a bit too comedic, and too much mutie-hating (or a reasonable facsimile). That said, it was overall a gloriously oddball season as the Legends join forces with John Constantine, battle the Fairy Godmother of Salem and Gary’s hypnotic nipple and Sarah and Ava work out their relationship in the Ikea store of the damned.  Not to mention the mid-season cliffhanger, which gave us multiple alt.versions of the team (Ava, Gideon and Sarah as the Sirens of Space Time!). Uneven but still worth the time.

I had no particular interest in the CHARMED reboot on the CW but when I gave it a try, I found it still worked, and improved as it went along. This time the sisters are Latinas Maggie and Mel Vaughn (Mel is a lesbian, happy and out) and their half-sister Macy, who’s black. Their adventures are much in the urban fantasy vein of the original, but with some flashes of feminism (the demon in the opener is a sexually harassing professor) and a season finish that went in different directions than I expected. Looks like I’ve added another series to my Keep Watching list. “I need this job — it’s not like being a necromancer pays the bills, you know.”

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders; Avengers cover by Jack Kirby.

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