Category Archives: Science Fiction

Dark Phoenix (2019) | Simon Kinberg



The plot, initially set in 1992 after a prologue with a tragic event in Jean Grey’s childhood back in 1975, continues with the First Class set of mutants and involves a presidentially sanctioned trip into space in order to rescue a space shuttle. Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) commits an act of heroism in trying to keep the space shuttle together as the crew is rounded up to safety, absorbing a massive wave of energy that should have easily taken her life. She ends up surviving the ordeal, much to everyone’s relief.  But something is a bit off with Jean, finding herself with enhanced senses, and growing even more powerful than she had ever been before.  Exhilarating at first, but now she’s becoming increasingly unstable, scared she’s beginning to lose control to her new nature, with an internal fight going on that is an even bigger match than the external one that involves her in a battle with fellow mutants who are trying to contain what is rapidly becoming the most powerful, perhaps even unstoppable, mutant of all. Simon Kinberg writes and directs.


Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) | Michael Dougherty



Eco-terrorist Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), who has taken as hostage a paleobiologist under the employ of the Titan-research group known as Monarch, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), along with her teenage daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), to utilize Orca, an experimental mind-control technology she created to try to control the Titans, the giant monsters of the Earth that he sees as protecting the planet from humanity’s continued exploitation and destruction, effectively by destroying most of human civilization as we know it. Emma’s estranged husband Mark, who is trying to get his life back together after losing his son in the wake of Godzilla’s 2014 rampage, is out to find them and save them from further efforts to destroy the world, or themselves. Mark soon hooks up with Emma’s team of scientists at Monarch, as well as members of the military, to try to find a way to thwart Jonah’s plans and to keep the escalating numbers of monsters, led by the invasive three-headed alpha Titan named King Ghidorah, from destroying everything we hold dear. Godzilla may be their last line of defense, but where is he?


Avengers: Endgame (2019) | Joe & Anthony Russo



Endgame starts in a world following “the snap” delivered by Thanos that extinguished half of all life within the galaxy in an instant, without a trace, in his effort to bring what he feels is a much-needed balance and tranquility caused by overcrowding interests.  After a brief intro, we fast forward five years to find a world that has had trouble moving on from the loss of their many loved ones, especially the surviving Avengers (conveniently, all the characters that comprised of the first core team are among them), who feel a particular sense of guilt for not being able to save the billions they were sworn to protect.  However, a new idea develops to find a way to reverse the situation through a risky and highly improbable gambit in which they must try to traverse time and space to re-connect all of the Infinity Stones and bring back all of those who vanished without losing the good things that have happened since that fateful day. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner, and many, many, many, MANY more appear in this massive crossover event.


Captain Marvel (2019) | Anna Boden & Ryan FLeck



Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers, aka Vers, aka Captain Marvel, an ultra-powerful warrior for an alien race called the Kree, from the capital planet Hala, part of an elite group of warriors called Starforce, who are doing battle with the fearsome, shape-shifting Skrulls, who have the power to impersonate other living beings, with a notable limitation in memories. She is haunted by her own memories of a strange time and place, when she was a pilot in the United States Air Force, which she ends up learning more about when she ends up jettisoned on Earth in 1995. After an explosive skirmish and her high-powered suit catches the interest of the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., she meets the initially skeptical Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and begins her search for the light-speed engine, another object in Vers’s memories, that both civilizations want to get their hands on first.  It is on Earth that she begins to put the pieces of her memory and former life there back together, reuniting with old friends in her old stomping grounds.  She also begins to discover more about her mission, what is being fought for, and the nature of the vicious Kree-Skrull war that she never knew about.  Unfortunately, the Skrulls, led by Talos, are in hot pursuit on a planet completely unaware and unprepared for the arrival of such high-powered beings.


Alita: Battle Angel (2019) | Robert Rodriguez



The origin of Alita: Battle Angel starts with Yukito Kishiro’s intricately plotted 1990 manga, something this adaptation has to simplify in order to make it palatable for wide-release audiences.  The setting is an Earth five centuries from now, a mostly tumultuous and vice-filled world that suffers even more by comparison to the life of luxury from the beaming city utopia called Zalem that floats above their heads. Christoph Waltz plays Dr. Ido, a brilliant scientist who has been through he trash-heaps of history to find something of value and meaning. Ido soon discovers the remnants of a robotic entity, taking it back to his lab for rehabilitation, resulting in a cyborg creation he has dubbed “Alita” (which was also the name of the daughter he lost in a tragedy), who has the mind of a teenage girl and hard-shell body to match. She walks, talks and understands, but one thing she can’t readily do is remember who she is or why she exists. Ido provides fatherly guidance, but Alita is drawn to battle and action by her nature, stoked further by an interest in the local boy named Hugo, who sees more potential in Alita’s abilities that could make her formidable in a world that values such adept skills in the arena of conflict.


Bumblebee (2018) | Travis Knight



This time out, the character of Bumblebee ends up going back to his original look from the toy line and cartoon series of a Volkswagen Beetle, when he arrives on Earth back in 1987 as part of a last-minute escape plan for the Autobots on Cybertron to find an inhabitable planet as theirs is about to be destroyed in an all-out civil war with the Decepticons.  Bumblebee ends up emerging in California, where his dormant state of the Beetle laying in rust in a junkyard, in hiding after being hunted by Sector Seven (the government agency who first discovers him), draws the eye of a troubled teenage girl named Charlie Watson, who views the car as freedom and an opportunity to follow in her recently deceased father’s footsteps by repairing two damaged precious things – the car, and herself.


Aquaman (2018) | James Wan



The setting starts sometime in the 1980s, where we find Atlantean queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) coming up to the surface in the state of Maine to get away from an arranged marriage, seeking a bit of sanctuary and time to heal in a lighthouse run by a human named Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison). The two unlikely partners fall in love, eventually leading to a son, Arthur Curry.  The kingdom of Atlantis is not pleased with Atlanna’s apparent defection to the land, sending out their soldiers to claim her back, culminating in Tom being left alone to raise the boy himself as a human, except one with the powers of Atlanteans in his DNA, including an ability to talk to and command all forms of marine life.

We fast forward to Arthur’s adulthood, known to the land-dwellers as “The Aquaman” after a series of public acts of heroism, one including taking down pirates that includes future nemesis Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mareen II).  However, Arthur has to become a savior to his adopted people when the current rule of Atlantis, Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), is looking to mount a war with the land walkers who continue to pollute the oceans, seeking the assistance of King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), one of the leaders of the ‘seven seas’ needed to approve. Nereus’s daughter Mera looks to recruit Arthur’s assistance in staving off the uprising from his brother’s charge.  Arthur must go undersea to make his presence felt, but the opposite of a fish out of water in his new environs in the Atlantean realm, especially when the situation boils down to a mano-a-mano battle between Arthur and Orm on his home turf (or non-turf, as it happens to be).


Venom (2018)



The Marvel Comics villain gets the antihero treatment in this Spiderman-less origin story filled with grotesque body horror and lots of crazy CGI-infused action.  Tom Hardy stars as reporter Eddie Brock, who finds himself the host of an alien symbiote he discovers within a hi-tech laboratory he’s investigating.  That alien needs live organs to feast upon, which means Eddie’s if he can’t find other things for “Venom”, which is what the symbiote calls himself, to ravenously consume.  Michelle Williams stars as Brock’s ex-fiance, and Riz Ahmed is the head of the corporate lab out to experiment on the living in order for humans to try to survive on other planets when this one is no longer, inevitably, inhabitable. Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer directs.


The Predator (2018)



Shane Black tries to do what no one has done thus far, and that’s to make a good follow-up to John McTiernan’s 1997 action classic, PREDATOR.  Here, the Predators are back searching for their old technology, and possibly taking over the Earth, having to confront a rag-tag group of disgrace military vets in their way.  Boyd Holdbrook, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Trevante Rhodes and Jacob Tremblay also appear.


The First Purge (2018) – A Podcast Movie Review



The fourth film in the Purge series is a prequel to the other three, as The First Purge shifts directors to Gerard McMurray, though retaining James DeMonaco’s services as screenwriter.  This one showcases the trial run’ experiment that led to the Purge, as the alt-right government seeks to cure societal ills by finding a way to eradicate crime throughout most of the year, mostly by sweeping house and trying to get rid of the nation’s poor.  Social commentary abounds in this franchise that is sometimes marketed, and perhaps mis-marketed, as a horror series.