Fans of writer/director Rian Johnson previously saw him dabble in the mystery genre with 2005’s Brick, a hard-boiled high school noir in which murder was afoot and everyone was guilty of something. After dabbling in preexisting universes with key episodes of Breaking Bad and that one time he turned Star Wars fandom into one big West Side Story gang war, Johnson returns to creating his own characters with Knives Out, a stellar whodunit that flips genre expectations, venerates a few old tropes, and, best of all, lets Daniel Craig have a rollicking vacation away from those glum Bond films and their even glummer press junkets.
One of the most exhilarating parts of seeing highly anticipated event films ASAP is the firm pivot point you pass between “before” and “after”. Once you’ve seen it, spoilers can no longer damage your viewer experience. Months and years of news sites hazarding half-baked guesses to the film’s content see all their handiwork either rendered obsolete and worthless or proven right but ultimately irrelevant once the thing becomes a reality rather than a theoretical construct in quantum-superpositional flux. Once the film “is”, the number of possibilities of how it “might be” dwindles ever downward toward one (1).
That’s not to say everyone has seen it yet, though Entertainment Weekly and other ill-mannered organizations live or die on the operating principle that every popular thing is instantly consumed now-now-NOW by the smartest, coolest readerships who are the only humans in the universe that matter. For folks who know how to use the word “courtesy” in a sentence, it means being careful with blaring spoilers in the faces of everyone who might glance in our direction. (When it comes to movies, at least. As someone who live-tweets the occasional CW super-hero show, I’ll own up to some hypocrisy here.)
It’s in that spirit of keeping up the spoiler-free environment for what’s left of this weekend that our obligatory Avengers: Endgame write-up was composed to the best of my ability. Fair warning: if you were so hardcore about no-spoiler purity that you’ve even avoided all the trailers and TV spots, I’m not sure I can help you at quite that level of dedication.
The worldwide phenomenon about two unique individuals from very different worlds — one with his armor and his billions, the other with his enviable muscles and his onetime fervor for The American Way — will rank high among other films in the $300-million U.S. box office club at year’s end. Once again the major studios prove they’re still capable of putting out product that can contemplate serious topics even while reveling in visual dynamics and not shying away from moments of emotional intensity.
No, not the one with the Marthas’ boys in it.
Sure, a bleak Korean sci-fi film based on a French graphic novel, delayed for months while studio heads squabbled over whether or not to delete nearly 20% of it before letting Americans see it, doesn’t sound like the perfect star vehicle for Chris Evans, cinematic hero of this summer’s Captain America: the Winter Soldier. It’s certainly not a vote of confidence that the Weinstein Company compromised by leaving it intact but downgraded to a limited-release run with minimal advertising. In the hands of an unkinder corporation, Snowpiercer could’ve found itself sentenced with immediate relegation to the Walmart $5 DVD bin.
Thanks to exactly one theater in all of Indianapolis, last weekend I had the chance to witness one of the darkest, riskiest, most thought-provoking spectacles of the year. Considering the competition is mostly sequels, I’ll admit that’s not saying much.
That’s why Midlife Crisis Crossover includes end-credits coverage in its consumer-reporting movie coverage. If we see a movie, we’re there till the bitter end whether there’s a treat waiting for us or not. My wife and I are sticklers for getting our money’s worth for the ticket price, even if it means skimming past listings for quasi-participants such as Production Babies, legal counsel, and caterers’ gofers. Imagine the pride they’ll feel, knowing there’s a remote chance that someone besides their parents spotted their names at the end.
…what were we talking about? Oh, yeah — Captain America: the Winter Soldier, my new favorite 2014 movie so far.