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‘Captain Marvel’ Brings On the Girl Power

MOVIE REVIEW
It only seems right that Captain Marvel is being released on 2019’s International Women's Day. Since 2008’s Iron-Man, Marvel has presented a good chain, albeit a bit short, of strong women characters starting with Pepper Potts. Black Widow became the first Marvel female superhero to grace the screens in Iron-Man 2 followed by Scarlet Witch, Gamora, Mantis, The Wasp, Okoye and Shuri. But today, Brie Larson heads the first female-driven superhero movie for Marvel Studios.

Let’s just get this out of the way – this movie packs a “girl power” punch without putting men down in the process. While their intentions are good, too many films try to present a message of female empowerment while emasculating men in the process. Sure, the opposite has been true for many years, but this is no way to move on with injustice and certainly isn’t a message that today’s girls need to here.

Marvel Studios has toyed with an “anything you can do, I can do better” attitude between its men and…

'Mission Impossible: Fallout' - The Action Movie of the Summer has Arrived

Movie review of "Mission Impossible: Fallout."
Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) face off in "Mission Impossible: Fallout" (Paramount)
MOVIE REVIEW
Typically with movie franchises, you expect the films to steadily get worse with each subsequent film, but in the case of Mission Impossible, just the opposite is true or so it seems. The very first film from 1996 received a 63% “fresh” score from Rotten Tomatoes while the 6th film, Mission Impossible: Fallout, is already “certified fresh” at 98% and it’s not hard to see why. While I personally loved the casting for MI 4: Ghost Protocol, I will say that as far as the action goes, this one is the best of the series.

Movie review of "Mission Impossible: Fallout"
Tom Cruise and Henry Cavill (Paramount)
Though there is little time for character development in Fallout, the film does manage to develop more of Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt persona. The film opens with a flashback of Ethan’s wedding day to Julia (Michelle Monaghan) oh so long ago. But the beautiful memory becomes a literal nightmare for Hunt and he begins to wonder how his involvement with the IMF team may have ruined her life, and others, forever. To make matters worse, during his next mission, the CIA is taking control forcing Ethan to team up with CIA assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to keep him in check. Walker is young, impossibly good looking (even with a mustache) and doesn’t appreciate the bells and whistles of the IMF that Ethan and company rely upon. He prefers to crack heads to get the needed answers when necessary.

While not spoken out loud, it becomes clear that Ethan is beginning to doubt himself. In a fight scene, Ethan becomes winded while August is just getting started. In another, he appears to be confused and his team asks him what the plan is. His rely is echoed throughout the movie numerous times: “I’m working on it.” This is not the Ethan that we’re used to. He’s older now (Cruise is 56, Cavill is 35), more thoughtful and less willing to take chances. Is Ethan Hunt too old for this job? Of course he isn’t! But’s it’s nice to add a new layer of humanity to the role.

Many reviewers praised Christopher McQuarrie’s work writing and directing 2015’s Rogue Nation. He’s back with an even better script and remarkable movie stunts that we’ve haven’t seen before that build upon one another. The longer the film goes on, the more ridiculous the scenarios and the more “impossible” the tasks become making this movie one wild ride.

Movie review of "Mission Impossible: Fallout"
Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise
and Ving Rhames (Paramount)
So, for this chapter, here’s the mission that you know Hunt will choose to accept: An arms dealer known as John Lark has teamed up with “The Apostles,” a terrorist group bent on righting the wrongs of the world by ways of a nuclear attack. The bad guys have planned to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous attack in three different places in the world including the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia as spelled out in Lark’s manifesto. Both Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) are along for the ride as well as boss man Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) whose presence in the film seemed to confuse some people in the screening that I attended. Baldwin has been on Match Game and 30 Rock for so long now that people forget that he can really act. (Not every sentence is a punch line folks.) Also, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) from the last film show up as well adding more layers to the already confusing storyline.

Mission Impossible: Fallout has everything you want in a summer action film (non-stop action) and nothing you don’t (lots of boring conversation). Sure, it’s complicated as every film before it and features a little less gadgets and gizmos, but you’re having too much fun to care. The film even manages to squeeze out a few emotional scenes too. None that require Kleenex, but just enough to make you feel a little squishy inside.

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