Avengers: End Game (***) PG-13    

For those keeping score, Avengers: End Game is the culmination in the first cycle of films taken from the pages of Marvel Comics which began in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. After 22 entries, the destination has finally been reached. It’s mostly satisfying with the exception of the usual demerits found in the series, corny humor and overindulgent battle scenes being two examples I could cite. Let’s just say the film works best when it manages to inject the human element into the proceedings and the characters get the chance to emote which, thankfully, is quite often in the film’s three hour, two minute run time.   

The plot kicks into gear by undoing all the events in the first film by way of a time travel device, the seeds of which were planted in earlier films in the series. This, of course, proves once again why there’s no emotional investment in these films but I digress.     

The last film ended with super villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) getting control of the stones that allow him to rule the universe. By using the time travel device, characters that appeared to be down for the count in the last film get their chance to set the world right although it’s a foregone conclusion that not everyone will live happily ever after.

All of the Avengers get an ample chance to do their thing and fans will definitely not be disappointed. For the rest of us, it’s a tolerable send off to this series of films and not much more.

Long Shot (** ½) R  

There’s a genuine sweetness running throughout director Jonathan Levine’s political comedy/romance Long Shot that appealed to me in the all the best ways, which comes as a bit of a surprise. I found myself often wanting to dislike the movie, mostly due to its sophomoric brand of humor that, while not exactly unfunny, has just grown tiresome and cliché for me. And yet, the genuine air of sweetness permeating throughout the proceedings, coupled with the winning performances of stars Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron and their terrific chemistry, managed to win me over in ways I didn’t suspect it could in its early going.

Long Shot isn’t a great film by, well, a long shot but it does indeed have moments of genuine emotion and that’s rare in a comedy of this type.    

The plot feels perfectly tailored to its two lead stars. Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is a speechwriter for the current Secretary of State, Charlotte Field (Theron). Field is also making plans for a run for the White House. The twist here is that Charlotte was once Fred’s babysitter and his childhood crush. Charlotte and Fred’s past history, of course, rears its head in unexpected ways that prove mostly amusing and serve as a springboard for some great interplay between the two actors. The plot does require a major suspension of disbelief but Long Shot proves to be enjoyable enough for those willing to sit back and go with the flow.

Both movies are playing at Hickory’s AMC and theaters around the area.

Avengers: End Game
Theron & Rogen in Long Shot

Questions or comments? Write Adam at [email protected].