THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE BOURNE LEGACY, JASON BOURNE

By Marc S. Sanders

Sometimes the same old thing is all we want, right?  It’s like comfort food.  That’s what the Jason Bourne films offer.  The first time (The Bourne Identity) it is original.  The second time (The Bourne Supremacy) it is familiar.  The third time (The Bourne Ultimatum) it is what we expect.  When you get to the fourth and fifth time (The Bourne Legacy and Jason Bourne), well then perhaps you’ve overstayed your welcome.

The second and third films in the Matt Damon action series function as one long four-hour film.  They are absolutely gripping in high octane, fast cut editing, pulse pounding music from James Newton Howard, and taut direction from Paul Greengrass.  They work because at least two thirds of the material is shown through the eyes of the former assassin Jason Bourne who is trying to learn of his past and who he worked for and why.  Plus, though he may hide deep undercover on the other side of the world in places like populated India, he only resurfaces when he discovers someone is trying to kill him.

The other third of these two pictures function on the other side of the coin with clandestine departments within the CIA who only consider Bourne being alive as a threat to the integrity of their black operations.  He must be eliminated.  There are great acting scenes with Joan Allen first up against an intimidating Brian Cox, and later she’s going toe to toe with David Strathairn.  If you are not part of the chase for Bourne, then you are engrossed in the cause these three supporting players offer with government politics and debate.  With each passing film, it’s an old, grey haired white gentleman in a suit who is insistent on eliminating Bourne and anyone who he associates with.  This started with Chris Cooper in the first film followed by Brian Cox (my favorite) over to David Strathairn.  The baton is then passed to Albert Finney.  A new film moves over to Edward Norton and then Tommy Lee Jones.  Scott Glenn and Stacy Keach are in the recipe too, but they are not as prominent.  All these guys start to look alike and when you watch the films in succession, one after the other, like I recently did, you start to question when this actor and this actor entered the fold.  Best way to describe it is that it is a ladder climb.  There was one guy in charge, then another above him and so on.

The appreciation for the Bourne series comes mostly from its action and the absolute cleverness of its hero.  Jason Bourne functions with ease about staying one step ahead of those trying to kill him.  They think they have a lead on him, but in reality, he has the lead on them.  Do you know how satisfying it is when he calls these people to talk to them and they play dumb? Jason will simply say “If you were in your office right now, then we would be having this conversation face to face.”  Moments like this are what gets an audience to clap and cheer.  The old white guy has been duped.

The action works because, once again I lay claim to the lack of CGI.  So, the overabundance of car chases seems nerve wracking like they are supposed to.  That door on that car is actually getting bashed in.  That taxi cab is really getting t-boned and turning into a 360 tailspin.  Jason can grab a seatbelt, lie down on his side and when the car careens over the barrier onto the landing fifty below, upside down, I’ll believe he gets out with only just a slight limp and a dribble of blood on his brow.  Only Jason Bourne can drag a wrecked rear bumper on a stolen police car through a busy Times Square and bash an SUV into a concrete barrier.

Fight scenes are not just fight scenes in the Bourne films.  It’s not just fists and punches and karate kicks.  Creatively speaking, the films construct their fight scenes to have the hero arm himself with a ball point pen or a magazine that’s wrapped up ready to wallop an opponent in the nose.  I’ll never forget when my colleague Miguel and I saw Ultimatum in the theatres and witnessed Jason punching a book into the face of a dangerous bad guy.  How many times have you seen a guy get punched in the face?  How many times have a seen a guy punch a book into the face of another guy?  There’s a difference. 

Matt Damon has been quoted as saying he believes the Bourne films carried the least amount of dialogue for him to memorize.  Yeah.  That’s likely true.  These films are visual feasts.  They rely on watching Damon move.  They are paced by how he walks, drives a car or tinkers with props.  Even how he listens and observes move with a kinetic progress. 

The locales are spectacular, spanning the globe from India, to Russia, to London, to Morocco, to the Philippines, and on to New York City and Las Vegas.  Following the first film, Paul Greengrass directed three of the next four.  (Writer Tony Gilroy directed the fourth film, The Bourne Legacy with Jeremy Renner taking the lead while Damon’s character was only talked about.) Each film takes every advantage of the atmosphere, using the overpopulated extras as obstacles and means to hide and weave away from the antogonists while on foot, behind a steering wheel or saddled upon a motorcycle.  Greengrass practically invents the concept of putting the viewer so much within the environment, you can almost smell the diesel or the food trucks within the area.  Zoom in overhead shots offer quick glances of the playground and traffic we are engrossed in.  Approximately twenty-five minutes within the center of The Bourne Ultimatum go by with no dialogue as Jason Bourne pursues a bad guy through a labyrinth of apartment tenements and rooftops, while the bad guy pursues actor Julia Stiles.  Finally, when all three catch up to one another, with a leap through a window, do you let out the deep breath you never realized you were holding on to. 

The first three films in the series (Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum) work as a tight trilogy.  Each film ends with hanging threads to consider and lend to the next film.  By the time Ultimatum concludes, you feel as if all that needed to be told has been covered.  The next two (Legacy and Jason Bourne) function as cash grabs for the studio.  Legacy is entertaining and it boasts a good cast with Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz trying to outrun the government adversaries.  It hinges on operating as parallel material that occurs in the prior Damon installment.  While Jason Bourne is being pursued, this is happening over here.  It’s not unwatchable, but it is also truly unnecessary as it doesn’t advance the universe of the series at all.  A thrilling motorcycle chase closes out the film, but it’s a retread of what we’ve seen before.  It gets old quickly.  The film demonstrates that guys like Jason are trained to become dependent on drug enhancements for their highly trained arts of warfare and instinct.  Renner’s character is just another kind of Jason Bourne.  I was more impressed when I thought Jason was just a highly skilled fast learner to all that he’s capable of.  If you tell me blue and green pills lend to what he’s capable of, well then, he’s not much of a superhero in my eyes anymore.

With the final film, Jason Bourne, Greengrass returned to the director’s chair and Damon agreed to come back (paycheck had to be right, I’m sure), though he was significantly greyer and older than his prior films.  It was a weak return.  Just when we think Bourne has learned everything he needed to know and he could now live comfortably underground as a street brawler for bucks, he is informed that his deceased father knew and did some things for these secret agencies that put Jason on this path of special operations.  It doesn’t hold much weight and the payoff is nothing special.  Another car chase occurs in Vegas that appears nearly shot for shot similar to what we already saw in Damon’s prior installments. 

I wrote in an earlier review of The Bourne Identity, that Matt Damon works so well in the role because he’s such an unexpected surprise.  He’s not the muscle guy like Stallone or Schwarzenegger.  He comes off common.  In the first three films, he’s simply a kid.  When you place him in action or see how he gets the drop on a bad guy who is surveilling him, it is so satisfying.  The Bourne films work best with the locales they choose to shoot from.  Bourne will spy on his pursuers from a rooftop building across the street from where they are.  This is inventive filmmaking not just found in the pages of the script.  Paul Greengrass strategically shoots his players.  Director Doug Liman planted the seeds for this series’ potential (The Bourne Identity), very loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novels with creative adaptations from Tony Gilroy, primarily.   Greengrass enhanced the characters and their motivations by use of scenic locales, skillful shaky cameras to make it look like the audience is running at the same pace of Bourne and his adversaries, and quick cut, real time editing.  He applied this approach to his 9/11 film United 93.  The last two films are good even if they seemingly peter out the series, but overall, the four sequels hold up very well. 

If you’re asking, the best of the series is The Bourne Ultimatum, followed very closely by The Bourne Supremacy.  Either way, no matter which film you’re watching, you’re in for a good time when Jason Bourne shows up on the grid.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

By Marc S. Sanders

I think the Civil War chapter must be one of the best installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The action ranging from fight scenes to car chases to shootouts and explosions are so well executed and edited.

This film lives up to what makes each Marvel character special in their own way, and while most of the attention is naturally focused on Chris Evans’ Captain America and Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier (aka Bucky), the large cast is respectively given numerous moments to shine individually with well-conceived backgrounds and traits beyond just their superpowers.

Interestingly, until the late scene where all the characters collide against one another, the film was very shy of any intentional humor and focused more on what is morally correct in this fantasy world. There was a debate to grapple with, and a threat to both sides of the moral compass. All good layered dimensions, my favorite vice of effective storytelling.

Anyone who says popcorn movies like Avengers are nothing more and simply brainless would fail at recognizing good analysis and dimension. More often than not the MCU succeeds at setting up a dilemma to keep a viewer hooked. Once they are taken…then the storytellers will do something bold like destroy the headquarters, or an airport, or a whole city or Iron Man’s armor, and on and on. Too many other franchises (Transformers, Fast/Furious or DC) bring the buildings down before the cement is dry and the windows are Windexed. That’s when story is neglected for showmanship. There’s no weight to the loss. What do I care who died? You just destroyed the village in order to save it. Disney and Marvel know this and steer clear of those habits.

The cast is so perfectly assembled in Civil War. They interact very well with line exchanges, debates and fisticuffs.

Much of this film was a blur during my first viewing. These are Marvel movies. There are so many now, the scenes all seem to blend together. Yet now I see this particular film is special. Good set pieces, costumes, makeup, visual effects and great performances lead to a great, fun presentation. I’m sold.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

By Marc S. Sanders

The character of Ultron, a terrorizing cyborg, has been a favorite Marvel Comics villain of mine ever since I discovered him in 1984 during the Secret Wars 12 issue limited run. He looked sinister with a devilish face in the shape of a metallic claw. His sonic blasts appeared more destructive than anything else ever drawn on the page. Ultron was a badass!!! (“Language!”). That being said, the cinematic interpretation is quite different, yet he’s modeled on a much more grown up sculpt.

Ultron is still a terrorist bent on utter destruction, but now he has a disregard for man. He’s written quite inventively as a direct contradiction to arguably the favorite of all the Marvel cinematic characters, Iron Man aka Tony Stark. How fitting that James Spader is cast opposite his former brat pack cast mate (Less Than Zero), Robert Downey, Jr. It is really uncanny how the dialect of Spader’s limitless Ultron can sound just like Downey’s genius Stark but with a means of annihilation; “All of you against all of me.” Ultron is smart first, powerful second. He’s not just a monochromatic android. There’s a means to his end and an inventive science to his purpose; uproot a country high in the sky and then DROP IT BACK DOWN INTO THE PLANET, like an anvil flattening Wile E. Coyote. It’s actually more novel than I’m giving it credit for.

Most Marvel afficianados from the blogs, and fellow colleagues as well, do not care much for this chapter in the MCU. I have yet to understand why. Again, each character is really drawn out beautifully by Joss Whedon with a respective storyline. Finally, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is given some oomph to his back story. So is Paul Bettany as the other cyborg, Vision, formerly J.A.R.V.I.S, the artificial intelligence.

Vision/J.A.R.V.I.S. outshines Data (“Star Trek: TNG,” apologies to my friend, Jim Johnson), but will never top C-3PO. I like how he’s introduced as an amalgamation of all of the film’s main characters’ abilities. Bruce Banner and Tony Stark, Thor, Ultron, Scarlet Witch, some brilliant doctor friend, and even the nation of Wakanda. They all have a piece of themselves in Vision. It’s a better story than the comics ever suggested. Maybe I’m biased having grown up on these stories, but the Vision element makes me want to clap every time I see it. So inventive and economically told for a two-hour film with a ginormous cast. Vision’s introduction is one of the best scenes in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

A great device to unhinge most of the Avengers comes through by means of Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch (identified as Wanda Maximoff) who cripples them with mind control. How else should a sorceress take out a whole lotta muscle? It works and it gives Olsen conflict to play with. The visual effects surrounding her are also pretty cool. Sure, it might be just some neon red mist, but the cinematography and CGI surrounding her look gorgeous.

This installment also serves as neat set up for what’s to come. Quick Easter Egg in Age Of Ultron: Tony Stark Name drops the term “Endgame.” Oooooooo!!!!!!

It is really admirable what Marvel and Disney have done with the MCU, and especially watching this film. It’s ironic how filmmaker James Cameron made a statement hoping for “Avengers fatigue” so the phenomenon can die down in movie houses, etc. Funny! For me, seeing all of Ultron’s toys and wit seemed to outshine quite a bit of the residuals spawned from Cameron’s Terminator franchise.

Whedon wrote and directed a film with much more intelligence, wit, at least as much action, and threat than I ever got from Cameron’s reputation of clunky dialogue and plot hole time travel storytelling. It would do Mr. Cameron well to maybe not throw stones at the glass Avengers towers. I’m skeptical that his upcoming FOUR Avatar films will carry the smirk inducing cues the MCU has used to its advantage.

ARRIVAL (2016)

by Miguel E. Rodriguez

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg
My Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 94% Certified Fresh

PLOT: When 12 alien spacecraft descend to Earth at seemingly random points around the globe, a linguistics expert (Adams) is recruited to interpret the aliens’ speech in order to find out why they are here, among other things.


“If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?” – Louise Banks (Amy Adams), Arrival

That seemingly simple question lies at the heart of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi brainteaser, Arrival.  Surrounding it is a film of uncommon grace, beauty, and intellectual stimulation that deserves comparison to Kubrick’s 2001 or Tarkovsky’s Solaris.  When I first saw it in 2016, I’ll admit to some slight confusion at the end, but after many repeat viewings, I believe I understand it fully enough to call it a masterpiece.

After a prologue where we witness a montage of her losing a daughter to an unnamed but ravaging disease, we see Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) teaching linguistics at a university.  Classes are interrupted when news breaks of not one, but TWELVE alien spacecraft suddenly appearing at random points around the globe.  Eventually, the military contacts her and reveals that contact has been made between us and the aliens, but to say we can’t comprehend their language is an understatement.  She and a top-notch mathematician, Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) are flown to the US sites in Montana and are given an impossible task: decipher the alien language and ask them why they’re here.

The design of the aliens and their ship are visual masterstrokes.  The ship, in fact, bears a striking resemblance to the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, aka “The Bean”, in downtown Chicago.  (Google it if you’re unfamiliar with it.)  But imagine it standing vertical on end, matte gray-black instead of chrome, and hundreds of feet tall.  Ominous and delicate at the same time.  The aliens themselves…well, I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but I will say they are called “heptapods” by the scientists.  Seven legs.  Cool.

The US researchers and military are connected via satellite to every other landing site around the globe, each attempting to make a communications breakthrough, but it’s Dr. Banks who realizes the aliens may have a form of written communication.  Using a whiteboard and simple words at first, she can have very limited conversations with the heptapods.  But when Banks is finally able to ask the all-important question, “Why are you here”, the answer she gets throws the military and government representatives into a tizzy and they cut off all communications to the other landing sites.

Meanwhile, Dr. Banks has periodically been having extremely vivid visions or memories of her daughter at random moments.  At one point, she is struggling to remember the scientific term for a “win-win” situation, and the memory comes back to her in a flash from a previous conversation with her daughter.  Although it is odd that we hear the term first in the present, and then she remembers it in the past…but enough about that.

Arrival may strike some as slow and plodding.  I suppose they’re right, in a sense.  It lacks any of the deliberately manipulative editing of, say, a Spielberg or a Scorsese film, where the cuts are specifically designed to grab the audience member by the collar and propel them to the film’s high and low points.  By contrast, Arrival takes its time.  It stands back and presents us with all the information we need to really, actively watch the film and work those brain cells.

[The score of Arrival deserves special mention.  In a film whose story arc involves linguistics and translations, it’s appropriate that, at key moments, the score includes multiple human voices harmonizing in ethereal chords or pulsing in a rhythm that sounds utterly alien, not just foreign.  A brilliant touch.]

What gives Arrival that extra push is that question Dr. Banks asks at one point in the film.  “If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?”  This question, when it comes, has poignant undertones that were not even hinted at in previous scenes.  And I find it to be incredibly moving, every time.  In fact, I wonder if I’m not really the prime target audience for this movie.  I wonder if it’s most effective for people who have lost loved ones to disease or accidents – untimely, unbearable deaths.  For those people, I cannot even begin to imagine how they would answer, or if they agree with Dr. Banks’s answer to her own question.

For myself, I have been blessed in this life, knock wood.  I have lost family members, but mostly to old age, although two uncles were taken by cancer in their fifties and sixties.  But I found myself thinking about this question today more than any other time, for some reason.  If I could magically go back in time, while retaining all my current knowledge, would I change things?

It’s deceptively easy to say “yes”, especially when it concerns the big things.  Sure, I would probably not stay as silent as I did when I learned a dear friend was being molested in high school and college.  No, I would probably not have gotten romantically involved that one time with the absolute wrong person.  No, I would most certainly not have skipped work that one day to see Spider-Man 3.  I would have remembered my driver’s license that one time I was pulled over.  I would have rearranged my schedule to go with my father and sister to Spain that one time.  And on and on.

But…if I hadn’t done some of those things…I may not be where I am now.  In a wonderful relationship with my best friend.  Working at a job that has its challenges but is rewarding and accommodating enough for me to do theater.  Surrounded by a support structure of friends that is second to none.  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  Just kidding.

Your answer may differ from mine, or from Dr. Banks’s answer in the film.  That’s fine.  We all have our own reasons for our own answers to that question.  What’s wonderful about Arrival is its ability to couch that existential question in a top-notch sci-fi drama that, in its own unflashy way, is every bit as exciting and though-provoking as ten Independence Days.  It looks great, sounds great, acted great…what more could I ask for?

MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS

By Marc S. Sanders

Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe concludes with Marvel’s The Avengers. This is a real treat and a feast for the eyes. It’s not my favorite of all the Marvel films because it gets a little too Saturday morning cartoon like at times, but it’s enjoyable to watch for good escapist popcorn fun.

Movie goers were salivating for the year 2012 to arrive which would finally assemble Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the Hulk on screen. Thanks to writer/director Joss Whedon that wish had finally come true and Whedon does not try to reinvent the wheel. When you assemble a team of heroes, you pit them against a large army and watch every variation imaginable of how the Hulk can smash, or what Iron Man’s armored suit can launch.

By now, you all know how I feel about the actors portraying their respective roles. Best to just say the chemistry works among them. They find reasons to squabble and Whedon provides moments for them to use their given talents against one another. So you get to see what happens when Thor smashes his hammer against Cap’s shield.

The actor who finally gets his moment in the sun is Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the orchestrator behind this team up. Jackson is more subdued than his other well known characters from the Tarentino films or Snakes On A (Mother effing) Plane. He does get to say “stupid ass idea” at one point and there’s the Samuel L. Jackson we all know and love! In comics, the Nick Fury character was reinvented before any of the films to harbor the appearance of Jackson. This film proves why the writers went that route. He’s great. He’s fun to watch. He makes for a great leader of the secret agency SHIELD. In tow with him is Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, a welcome cameo guy before this film, Gregg gets in a few scenes that show his endearment, and offer some dramatic weight as well. The guy could be waiting on hold while Black Widow takes out a couple of thugs, and you are cracking up at Gregg as Coulson, not necessarily Black Widow. He’s so likable that well…heck…he should get his own Marvel TV show….wait….nevermind….I digress.

Again, however, the women of the MCU are not drawn well for the screen. Scarlett Johansson makes her second appearance as Black Widow. She’s got a great, funny early fight scene while tied to a chair in a sleek black dress, but that’s all for show. She hints at a checkered past but this film does not offer much to expound on that. I understand. There’s a lot going on here. So there’s not much here for her to do. It’s time she got a film of her own, however. I’ll sign the petition. Wait! Nevermind! Colbie Smolders is a waste as Agent Maria Hill. She is nowhere convincing as a bad ass agent. Her line delivery seems forced. Her role seems unnecessary. Her scenes should have been on the deleted floor. It would have allowed more time for Johannson to play up her character. How is Maria Hill different from Black Widow in this film, anyway? She’s not. Therefore, cut out Maria Hill.

Jeremy Renner is given nothing to do but shoot arrows as Hawkeye, and work against the Avengers while under a spell from Loki.

Speaking of Loki, the great Tom Hiddleston is back. Hiddleston just elevates the Marvel films to more than just a comic book movie. His glee as the God of Mischief is different than say any version of the Joker’s. Pay attention Syndrome (from The Incredibles)!!! When Hiddleston monologues, you want to listen, unless you are the Hulk.

Whedon does an awesome job with the action scenes as he gradually destroys an aircraft carrier when chaos takes hold among the various heroes, and then later he destroys New York City in a fun amusement park like battle through the streets, subways and skyscrapers. It’s a little reminiscent of Richard Donner’s (or Richard Lester’s) Superman II, and Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters. It’s fun to watch the Hulk run through a building only to come out the other side and leap upon the head of a gigantic, flying centipede to bring it down on to the top of a building. Who cares how this all gets cleaned up? The greatest city in the world always figures out a way.

Whedon sealed the pop culture significance of superheroes in the early 21st Century. He’s done what guys like Michael Bay beg to do with other toy/comic book franchises. Marvel’s The Avengers stands out as an important impact in cinematic filmmaking. It’s not best picture worthy, but it is nonetheless important to how blockbuster films are conceived and created. Sadly, some people still don’t get it right, all these years later.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019)

By Miguel E. Rodriguez

Directors: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, etcetera, etcetera…
My Rating: 10/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 96% Certified Fresh

PLOT: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With help from some of their remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more to try to undo Thanos’ actions.


I have tried several different drafts of this review, and I simply am unable to write a decent review without necessarily revealing spoilers.

So…

DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE ANY INTENTION OF SEEING AVENGERS: ENDGAME IN THE FUTURE.  SPOILER ALERT!!!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

You have been warned.

For starters, Avengers: Endgame is not my favorite movie in the MCU.  (That title still goes to the incredibly complex, endlessly debatable Captain America: Winter Soldier, the superhero movie for people who hate superhero movies.)  BUT…Endgame contains my single favorite moment in the entire franchise.  It occurs during the climactic battle, and it involves…hardware.  YOU know what I’m talking about.

That aside, while Endgame is a more-than-worthy sendoff for the 11-year-long story arc, and is Hollywood spectacle at its best, I gotta be honest and say that the 3-hour running time was starting to get to me around about the 2-hour mark.  Yes, the plot threads all had to be woven together to bring everything to a head for the ultimate showdown, and I wouldn’t dream of eliminating anything that I saw, but it just was feeling a little slow.

Other than that…it gets all A’s across the board.

  • ACTION – I haven’t seen CGI action on this scale since the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.  Or Avengers: Infinity War, take your pick.  I can only imagine the headaches and nervous breakdowns experienced by the hordes of CGI artists who painstakingly created the outstanding battle scenes.  They were incredibly dense, but I was never unable to see any of the key moments involving key characters.  Nothing was too dark or murky.  It was an event.
  • HUMOR – In spite of the heaviness of the proceedings, the filmmakers never lost sight of their origins: COMIC books.  From the first appearance of Thor in residence at New Asgard, to Stark’s never-ending supply of dry one-liners, to Hulk’s selfie in the diner, the audience is always kept from falling into major depression, even after some really, REALLY dark moments in the story.
  • CLOSURE – The film ends the way it does because it HAD to.  Some of the original actors are just getting too old to do it anymore, folks, that’s just the way it is.  Hugh Jackman hung up his claws on Wolverine because he was getting too old to get into that kind of shape anymore.  And some other actors are just ready to move on.  It’s time.  Regardless, though, the way that certain characters were granted their own particular curtain call…it was IMMENSELY satisfying, not a bit gratuitous, and even noble for everyone involved.  I wasn’t moved to tears myself, but there were audible sniffles in the movie theater.

(I did also REALLY like the abandoned New York cityscapes after we jump ahead in the timeline a little bit.  I’ve always LOVED the concepts of modern edifices and cities left to ruin after abandonment.  That’s one of the reasons I really love I Am Legend.  BUT I DIGRESS.)

So, yes, it’s worth the hype.  They got it right.  It is a fitting final chapter to one of the most amazing cinematic achievements in history.  It IS a little long, but I can get over that.

And I am stoked to see what comes next.