Movie Review: Avengers: End Game 10/10 (Spoilers)


This movie was everything I expected. It was action packed, emotional and let us enjoy all of our favorites in one movie, one last time. I give it a 10 out of 10.

Avengers: End Game essentially picks up where Avengers: Infinity War leaves off. (Though the first scene of End Game is a cold open and is so brutal to watch. Just a heads up, the tears come early in this one). So anyways, half of the universe’s population has been dusted, the other half is devastated. The following weeks after the snap the remaining of the Avengers {Rodgers, Stark, Romanoff, Hulk/Banner, Rhodes, Danvers, Okoye, Rocket, Nebula, and Thor} band together to find Thanos and undo the snap. Unfortunately by the time they get to Thanos he done fucked up their plan by using the stones to destroy the stones. But don’t worry. Thor finally gets to cut off his head, though his timing could have been better. The End. Fast movie right? Well no, in true comic book and sci-fi fashion, the beloved superheroes find a way to do some avenging, but it takes them a few years to get back on track, five years to be exact. Most of the remaining Avengers keep in contact and try to help fix problems in the universe, except for Hulk/Banner, Barton, Thor, and Stark, they are out there living their own adventures for five years. – Actually, Thor is not so much living out his own adventure as he is succumbing to depression.
But the movie plot keeps moving when Lang pops back up. When he finagles his way out of the quantum realm, he finds that he has missed a whole lot of shit. Lang makes his way to Avenger base camp and shares an idea for a time heist, this could be a solution to fix everything. This idea is brought up with Stark, who dismisses the team, as he has moved on with his life and wants to focus on his wife and daughter. So Lang, Rodgers, and Romanoff work with Hulk/Banner to figure out this quantum leap stuff. Of course, they struggle with this and some hilarious and terrifying moments occur. Stark gives in, figures out flawless time travel and shares his plan with the group. And at some point in time, Barton comes back to the team, as does dad bod Thor. All together (or what is left of) the Avengers hatch a plan for the time heist. Everyone is paired up to travel through space and time and collect the infinity stones in the past before Thanos and his goons get a hold of them. (An additional plan is also laid out to return the stones to the past as not to screw up timelines and cause paradoxes).Essentially each pair has a storyline with the stones. All filled with their own excitement and epiphanies,  but a few storylines are dark. There is too much detail to type but just know that: in one-time line, Loki disappears with the tesseract, and in the main timeline Barton and Romanoff go to retrieve the soul stone and Barton is the one to return. While Nebula and Rhodes are out beating up past timeline Star-Lord, Thanos finds out about the plan due to the paradox of two Robotic Nebulas existing in the same era. So while {almost} everyone returns from the Infinity Stone quantum realm adventures, Thanos does too. And again the team has to fight him. While having all the stones, the Avengers fashion their own gauntlet to snap. Hulk/Banner takes on that responsibility to snap the other half of the universe back into existence. He gets banged up. Then the new fight with Thanos ensues. Luckily, ALL of the Avengers, Guardians, Wizards, Wakanda folks, etc, show up ready to kick some ass. They all work together to fend off Thanos from the new gauntlet. Its a whole drawn-out battle scene, you get to see every Marvel character do some damage to the bad guys. There is a great scene where Danvers flies in to take the gauntlet from Parker, and all the strong badass female superheroes have a little moment and show off their super skills.  (Super cute, super feminista. I loved it). Well, things aren’t looking so great for the team, Thanos seems like he is going to get the upper hand again until Mr. Tony Stark does a selfless act and saves the world. Stark takes the stones into his own robot glove and snaps his fingers. Poof the bad guys disappear, but unfortunately so does Stark. Okay, Stark doesn’t disappear in the same dusty way. The power of the stones truly fucks him up and we lose him. He gets to share his last moments with Pepper and Parker. The good guys won, but there were good people lost along the way – IE Stark and Romanoff. Stark’s funeral is included in the movie, everyone who is anyone is there. The movie shows everyone returning to their lives and with the appearance of moving on. But what about those stones and ripped timelines that occurred when everyone went galloping around in the past? Hulk/Banner rebuilds the time travel machine (lost in the battle) and sends Rodgers back to return all the stones. Unfortunately or fortunately, Rodgers does not come back as planned. He sticks around in the past to be with Agent Carter. We get a glimpse of Rodgers as an old dude {had a Joe Biden feel}, passing his shield on to Wilson. Rodgers finally got to live the life he missed out on. Very touching. But I’m still sad about Romanoff and Stark not being alive.

As I said, people returned to their lives after Starks’ funeral. Thor though instead of going back to New Asgard, jumped on the Milano with the Guardians. Should we expect a Guardians of the Galaxy 3? Great Oden’s Raven, I sure hope so.

So this movie tied up the loose ends from Infinity War. It was a great movie with adventure, drama and lots of sarcasm. I’m looking forward to the next phase in the series, though I will truly miss some characters. I’m also super concerned with the paradox that Captain America had to have created by staying in the past. Guess the Russo brothers will continue to keep us on our toes for a little longer.

I would recommend this movie to Marvel Fans, and if you aren’t a Marvel fan, at least watch Infinity War before you see End Game.

Hellboy, 7/10

I’m conflicted. I love Hellboy, I love David Harbour (still hot even as a red demon with horns), but I did not dig this movie to the extent where I don’t feel I will buy it or stream it.
There are great scenes, great lines and great characters, but it just didn’t do it for me. There was a lot of things going on, people with unclear motives, etc. You may need to brush up on your Hellboy lore. So if you are not familiar with the Hellboy, the graphic novel, created by Mike Mignola. Check it out! Or you could re-watch the old Hellboy movies, featuring Ron Perlman and directed by Guillermo del Toro. I think this movie has a very specific audience, and I’m not sure if the audience is very prominent.

Quick Synopsis – An apocalypse is coming, Hellboy, a man caught between two worlds, is either going to keep the apocalypse from happening or aide and abed it. In the movie, we get some back story on Hellboy, his pops and the organization he works for (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense). There are A LOT of actions scenes, and a lot of gore. I shouldn’t be surprised since Hellboy is a demon, but I actually was a little bit put off by all the senseless gore. While you meet several bad guys along the way, but the true villain in the movie is the blood queen, played by Milla Jovovich. She is a mad lady filled with power and resentment for humans for banishing creatures of the night. The ending is satisfying, good(ish) wins, and they elude to us meeting Abe Sapien in possibly another film. There are some post-credit scenes that are interesting/fun. As much as I want to say watch this movie, I can’t, it is not for everyone. I give it a 7 out 10, more so for my love of Hellboy and David, not necessarily the movie.

On Grief:

Grief comes in waves. I’ve been told this multiple times over the last year. Grief is just a response to the loss of something grand. Many people focus on the emotional aspect, there is also a physical aspect to feeling grief. Since I try to ignore my emotions a majority of the time, that typically means I end up dealing with my emotions through via a physical ailment. Anyone who knows me knows that I constantly complain about headaches and stomach aches, and probably about 70% it is really just anxiety, and most recently grief manifesting in a physical form.
I’ve lost very important people in my life over the last three years. It started with my beloved grandfather, then my favorite professor/mentor, and most recently my mother. Additionally, other characters in my life such as an uncle, an aunt, a co-worker have also gone to hang out in another realm. Obviously, I was most affected by my mother’s death, but I now know I struggle with each persons passing just the same.
As much as I like to pretend and tell myself I was prepared for death, specifically the death of my mother- you can never truly prepare it. I had been a caregiver for my mother for as long as I can remember. It started out with simple assistance here and there and progressed to trading off care with the hospice nurse or my stepfather. I watched my mothers’ physical and mental health decline, and that is something I would not wish that on my worst enemy (as if I had any). Watching a very independent and strong-willed woman wilt away and yield to Parkinson’s, dementia and heart disease is not an enjoyable experience. (Additionally, neither is dealing with said woman’s unsupportive bipolar husband – twas a challenge on its own). I believe I started the grief process when I observed my mother finally gave up and give in to her poor health. She had a multitude of illness, but typically my mother lived on the island of denial and tried to be optimistic, until one day when she stopped looking on the bright side and saw her health for what it truly was, shit. When my mother began facing the loss of her father and then the loss of motor skills and memory – grief steered my mother down the road to giving up. While I grieve and mourn the loss of her (and others), I try to not to follow her path, and I try not to dwell on the things I can not change (past or present). Every day I learn something new in my relationship with grief.
As I said earlier, I always told myself that I was equipped for loss. I had handled the news of loved one’s deaths appropriately in the past (according to what I had seen on television and learned about in a sociology of death and dying course). But when that day finally came in regard to my mother passing, I felt simultaneously prepared and unprepared when I got that call. I don’t think I was as calm and stoic as I had always thought I would be. I was squeaky and had eyes full of tears, and these things still happen when I think too long about her. That is grief. It is a natural response to a major change in life.  Unfortunately, there is not a quick fix for grief. Try as I might, I have not found one. It just has to run its course, wave upon wave will keep hitting you until the wind finally settles and the tide is low, or something philosophical like that.

More on Grief:
Because I am a researcher at heart, I took to the databases to find articles about grief. I wanted to find out what was appropriate/concerning behavior, learn the difference between mourning and grieving, etc. I found just through a simple Google Scholar search that there is a lot of literature out there, a lot focuses on how to treat grief (i.e. Therapy). Some things I learned about grief – when facing a situation of great loss, you may have to go through the five stages of grief which include:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance (visit grief.com for quick resources). To me, these stages are all pretty self-explanatory. But for a great representation of the five stages – watch the Scrubs episode “My Five Stages” . (Side note: Scrubs is one of my top all-time favorite shows, others include X-files and Futurama). There is a Scrubs episode for every mood/emotion and experience. Scrubs also happens to be a show that my mother and I would watch together. As for me and the stages, I personally don’t recall going through denial or bargaining. I like to face facts, and I’m not really religious so I don’t know who I would bargain with, maybe the universe? I can say I am currently somewhere in between depression and acceptance at this point in my life. I definitely experienced some (or a fuck ton of) anger, but not necessarily due to grief and loss, my anger was more directed at those around me who were being little shit heads. From the articles I have read, it is perfectly normal to bounce between the stages, revisiting some before truly accepting it. I assume that one day I will move on, and stay in that acceptance stage. Grief can last a lifetime, just try to know when to seek help, or just let others help when they offer. Remember to breathe and take it one moment at a time.  

How I’m coping:

I am active – I am into yoga and walking the pupper outside. – I also plan to get back in the gym soon, I’ve been very sporadic since the summer (duh).

I write – I have a guided journal that provides topics to write on.

I am into being creative – doodle, watercolor, and bake.

I stay emotionally/mentally active – I am apart of social and professional clubs, I volunteer to work a lot.

I am going back to school – Law School, I’m coming for you! #UNTDallas College of Law #2019

Best of luck to any of you who have gone through a period of grief. How did you cope?

If you haven’t had to grieve, best wishes to you that grief doesn’t find you any time soon.

Vulnerability

I recently heard that vulnerability is the key to success. But what about vulnerability in the workplace. What thoughts come to mind? How does that make you feel?
To me, Vulnerability is all about being open, feeling what you feel and letting other people see you for what and who you are in the moment.
I agree that it is easier said than done when it comes to being unrestricted and honest about your feelings, ideas, strengths, and weaknesses. I like to think I am like an open book. Ask me a question, and I will give you a truthful answer. While being honest is great, not everyone truly wants honesty. (And I will admit that I need to work on my delivery and timing, as well as my acceptance of honest feedback).
Being vulnerable in a workplace setting can be challenging. These are people that you simultaneously know and don’t know. I’m sure that we have all come up with ideas or have developed plans in our heads that seem AMAZING. We are so proud of our concept, and we can’t wait to share it with others because we essentially just solved everyone’s problem. Then you get to that meeting, and you say “Eureka, blah blah blah” to which your co-worker follows up with an “Um, nah.” It is devastating. How do you handle that? Do you try to restate your idea and provide your evidence for why it is a bomb ass idea, or do you shut down? Do you ask your co-worker for feedback on the subject, do you listen to the feedback, and explore a new path?
I don’t often share my ideas, because I’m terrified to be told they suck and I often (100%) internalize that shit. I can be honest with others all day long about their thoughts, I can coach another person down a better path, and reshape your thinking. I try to do this with a positive inflection, so others don’t internalize it. I’ve gotten a bit better over the years. Talking with my besties, or a coworker (who has a feedback delivery method that I can handle) at least helps me clean up my rough draft before I present it the masses (or the 12 other people in my department). I recently joined a new team at work, and I can’t say that I have any grand ideas yet. I am challenging myself that in this new workspace, I will be vulnerable, I will take thoughtful risks, and I will also take feedback to work through it/implement it. And if anyone is reading this – I challenge you to take thoughtful risks and be vulnerable and see if you are able to grow.
Be vulnerable my friends.

Movie Review: Shazam!

This is a great family fun movie about a slightly troubled foster child, Billy Batson, who obtains superhuman abilities after a fateful subway ride, all he has to do is say the magic word.

This is based on one of my brother’s favorite comics (Captain Marvel by Fawcett/DC). Aren’t we all a little familiar with another movie/comic franchise by the same name? But they are not one and the same. Due to copyrights and what not, Captain Marvel is never uttered in the movie, instead, we hear Billy Batson say the word Shazam a lot. By saying this word, Billy is able to transform into a superhero. But he isn’t just a scrawny teenager with powers, this word transforms 14-year-old Billy into a grown ass dude that has the same gifts as some immortal elders.

The movie early on lets us get to know a little bit about Billy and his back story as a foster kid, forever on the search for his mother. Billy lands in a group home ran by former fosters who now house children of all ages, abilities and personality types. Of course, our favorite child is the lovable smart ass sidekick, Freddy Freeman!  Freddy is a know it all /superhero buff. Freddy’s knowledge comes in handy after Billy crosses paths with a wizard who bestows these gifts of strength, intelligence, and power. There are delightful moments in the movie where Billy and Freddy figure out all of Captain Mar…. I mean Captain Thunder’s abilities, save folks, and they have an old fashion montage of superhuman day to day activities. Of course like every other superhero movie there is a supervillain, Thaddeus Sivana, who we know is no good from the very beginning of the movie. He is a sociopath with lots of demons, literally. Dr. Sivana (because almost all supervillains have a graduate degree of some sort) is after the wizard for the powers he once missed out on. As the movie carries on, we experience some heartbreak and friendship scuffles, eventually, we have a climactic event, where Billy Batson/Shazam/Captian Thunder comes head to head with Dr. Sivana and his 7 deadly sin demon friends. In order to win, Billy evokes the help of his foster siblings, sharing his abilities using the magic word and deductive reasoning.  The group of fosters are able to defeat Dr. Sivana and return home to their foster parents with what appears to be a newfound bond. The movie ends on a high, but silent note.

Though I am not typically a fan of the DC movies, because I feel they try a little too hard to be moody/broody, this one was a great watch with delightful surprises and jokes.  I’d give it a 9/10.

Supporting Actors

Did you know that if another person is succeeding, it doesn’t mean that you are losing?

People can be successful without anything being taken away from you. Everyone should want to kick ass at their job, do the best that they can, and you should want your co-workers to do the same. You shouldn’t compare someone’s successes to your own in an unhealthy manner.

Take pride and joy in seeing others you know killing it at work or school. You could use someone’s success to motivate yourself – in the sense of wanting to improve your employer’s reputation, teams production or recognition, and I think it is okay to even want to compare successes in the sense “they can do it, I can too” but I just never think it should be me v. them.

I’ve recently observed women in the workplace put each other down, for no real reason (apparent to me) other than jealousy over competency. Women in my workplace seem to not celebrate another woman’s successes, instead, they see it as a challenge, an undermining, or a slight against them.
This is so strange to me. I am not competitive, I want everyone to win, everyone to learn, and to grow. This could stem from being the youngest child, coming from a small school, who knows. I like co-op games, I like team sports (not that I can play any), I feel like just because someone is good at something, or even better at something than me, it takes nothing away from me. I am still me, I still have the same skills, personality traits, and blah blah blah. It really blows my mind when I hear people try to bring others down, point out flaws, or just plain talk shit about another person in an attempt to make themselves look better or more adequate. When I experience that type of person (which is more frequently recently), it leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me hesitant to continue a relationship with them, personal or professional. Though I have no I have very little influence at my workplace and very little influence in the world in general, I just want to encourage others to encourage and celebrate others. And call people out if necessary, but recognize people, praise yourself. Remember when your coworker is successful, you are successful. I don’t know about you, but I like when everyone on my team is kicking ass and taking names.

Auntie Sara

I have been an aunt since the age of two. That is right, two years old. My siblings happen to be significantly older than me. I have nine biological nieces and nephews and additionally five step-nieces and nephews. There are a lot of children, of various ages in my life. I have no children, and I have never desired to have my own children. If my mother were alive, she would tell you I asked at the tender age of six “is it mandatory to have children when you grow up because if it isn’t, I’m not having any.” I have not changed my mind in the last twenty-something years. I am happy being child-free and being the aunt to everyone. I have plenty of friends I grew up with who did not share my sentiment for being child-free. I am an “auntie” to two of my childhood friends.

I started this post because this weekend, I was on auntie duty at my fictive nieces’ second birthday party, and it got me thinking about my title as Aunt.

I am happy with this title. I can make a positive impact on another’s life, but I don’t have all the responsibility and pressure on me to raise a productive member of society. Not to mention, I come from a long line of unhealthy genes, I do not want to pass that along. Auntie Sara suites me just fine. I don’t need anyone to call me mom.

But people often jest and asked when will my husband and I have a little one of our own. My reply is always – “we are not having children of our own, but in the future when we are stable, we may adopt an older child.” My husband agrees with the lifestyle of not having a child, though I am still unclear about his reasons. But when I meet someone new, and they ask this child baring question I explain my life choices, which by the way I choose to share my life choices, because if you want to be nosy and judgy, I’ll intentionally overshare with you and make you uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, I periodically come across someone who says I don’t genuinely mean I don’t want children, or I’m just young and confused. Well, I’m 30 (so not so young now am I?), and there is nothing to be confused about, and I sincerely mean it when I say most things, not having/wanting children being one of them.

There is always that one person who tells me I’m selfish for not wanting children. And to those I say, go fuck yourself. I feel it is selfish to bring someone into the world for my own shits and giggles, or my personal favorite – so that I have someone to take care of me when I am old. There are plenty of skilled nursing facilities out there that I will be able to afford since I likely won’t have children, I mean as long as you don’t count my student loans as my children.

I just wanted to share my two cents on my title as Auntie Sara. I love it, and I wouldn’t want another title. I want to share that I think it is inconsiderate to ask others about when they will start popping out children. In my case, I don’t want any, but in many other cases, there is a medical struggle as to why they haven’t procreated, even though they are desperately trying.

A little sociology for you – Since I choose to be childless/child-free, I technically live a diverse lifestyle according to modern social norms. But there has been a modest increase in childlessness in the U.S. There is about 16–17 percent of all United States women who will complete childbearing years without bearing children, and I am really striving to be one of them. And according to social statistics, economic considerations (student loans possibly) have contributed to the rise in child-free marriages. **