Nerd level: 1,000,000!

This weekend, we had the Star Trek: New Voyages Christmas/ Holiday/ Yule/ Channukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice party. We paired this with an open house for the public to tour our amazing sets and a viewing party for several movies and a “rough cut” of our next episode: The Holiest Thing. During this party, I got to see many old friends and got to experience a “Nerd Level Event,” which is sort of like an “Extinction Level Event,” only not as death-y.

We started the viewing with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. You know, the one with the whales? Watching this on the Bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise was a cool experience. Watching it with Carl Sheldon, our living, breathing, simulation of Montgomery Scott, the Chief Engineer of the Enterprise, was amazingly cool. The scene where Scotty and Dr. McCoy are “negotiating” for the plexiglass they need to build the whale tank was made so much more fun by watching Carl’s face. “Hello computer?”

Then, we screened Star Trek: Into Darkness, the latest “Star Trek” movie by JJ Abrams. Now, personal feelings aside, this movie was popular with many people, and did well at the box office. Not my taste in Star Trek though. Nor is it liked by many of the New Voyages crew. We screened Into Darkness in the grand style of Mystery Science Theater 3000. We “roasted” the movie, yelling out the plot holes, the mistakes, the “lens flare” problem, jokes about “Robo- Admiral” (the evil Starfleet Admiral Marcus was played by Peter Weller of Robo-Cop fame) and much, much more. Fun was had by all.

What made this day even more enjoyable was the fact that my wife, Mary, came along with me to celebrate with my second “family.” Mary likes science fiction in general, and likes Star Trek in all it various forms, but is not what you would call a Trekker. She puts up with a lot of nonsense from me. I am not an easy person to be married to and I get kind of obsessed with Trek. In supporting me to help make New Voyages, she deserves a huge amount of thanks. Anything that I have been able to contribute to the effort, in time, money, and ability, is traceable directly to her massive support of me. I love you, Pooky!

Finally, we screened an almost final cut of our latest episode, The Holiest Thing. Still needing lots of dialogue and sound work, and not color corrected, the rough cut was still coherent and the special effects and digital effects were perfect. This episode will “fill in” some story plots leading directly to events in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Carol Marcus, an important relationship from Kirk’s past, plays a pivotal role in the movie, as does David, Carol’s son by Kirk. This episode shows the beginnings of this relationship, and the “genesis” of a project that will have massive repercussions in the future…

This last screening was the most fun for me, as I was able to sneak up and sit in the Captain’s chair for it. This is one of the ultimate “Nerd Achievements” of my life. Sitting on the Bridge of the Enterprise, lit up and blinking away, and watching an episode of Star Trek: New Voyages that I helped to create, on the 80 inch Bridge viewscreen. Nerd Level 1,000,000: Achievement Unlocked!

Have a Happy Holidays, in whatever form you celebrate them.

Valhalla Awaits!

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Jessica Jones: Further evidence of the well done MCU

I just got through binge-watching Netflix’s newest Marvel entry: Jessica Jones. I cannot express how good I find it. Very dark, edgy and violent, but at the same time, socially relevant. As an author friend I know put it: “wounded but powerful people making their way in the world.” These “heroes” are flawed, and don’t always do the right thing, even though they are working from morals. They don’t always fix the problem as the world is seldom “fixable.” Much like Daredevil, the first of the Netflix Marvel creations, JJ has a main character who, through an accident, has “abilities” greater than regular human people. Matt Murdoch has his “radar sense” and Jessica has super human strength. Unlike some superheroes, these two are not even close to invulnerable. They get bruised, bloody, and in some cases broken. Jessica doesn’t even have a “costume,” nor does she want one. Working as the stereo-typical Private Investigator, catching cheating spouses, Jessica is haunted by her past. She was once under the influence and control of the “Purple Man” from Marvel Comics, known as Kilgrave. Played magnificently by David Tennant, Kilgrave has the ability to make people do what he asks or tells them to do. So; Kilgrave likes your sports car? He can simple say “give me the keys” and you will willingly hand them over and let him drive away. He can tell you to step off the roof of a skyscraper and you will, falling to your death. Having escaped him over a year ago, Jessica has fallen into alcoholism and apathy, dragging herself out at night to take “dirty video” of cheating spouses for poor pay. Her agency “Alias Investigations,” gets visited by two parents of a missing college athlete. Thus begins season one…

This is not a children’s “superhero” show. There is violence, nudity, sexual acts, torture, murder, and multiple instances of jaywalking. Refreshingly, for Hollywood, a lesbian marriage is portrayed fairly, and two of the protagonists are in an inter-racial relationship and not one word is said about it. The violence is horrific and has actual consequences, unlike a lot of mainstream movies and shows.

Jessica develops a “booty call” type relationship with a large black man named Luke Cage. Astute comic readers will immediately recognize him as “Power Man,” a practically invulnerable inner city hero that becomes part of “The Defenders,” along with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and a martial arts using hero named “Iron Fist.” These 4 shows, hopefully 5 when The Defenders caps off the set of shows, are already batting 1000. Daredevil is awesome, and Jessica Jones is following right along with it. Next up is season 2 of Daredevil and season 1 of Luke Cage. Then Iron Fist, then The Defenders. This means several years of awesome Marvel television, and if the first 2 are any kind of harbinger, we are in for some fantastic shows!

I am not a fan of spoilers, so I won’t discuss some of the actions and reveals in the show, just gonna say: this show is fucking awesome and deserves your time! If you don’t have a Netflix subscription, this show, along with Daredevil and House of Cards, makes it well worth it. I would buy a year’s worth of Netflix on the basis of Jessica Jones alone!

Valhalla awaits!

There’s a Way to Stop Mass Shootings, and You Won’t Like It.

I have very little to add to this. My gun-control favoring friends will not agree. I don’t see anything in this that is not a provable fact…

Rob Myers

There’s a Way to Stop Mass Shootings, and You Won’t Like It.

isolation

That’s right. You’re not going to like it because it’s going to require you to do something personally, as opposed to shouting for the government, or anyone to “do something!”

You ready? Here it is:

“Notice those around you who seem isolated, and engage them.”

If every one of us did this we’d have a culture that was deeply committed to ensuring no one was left lonely. And make no mistake, as I’ve written before loneliness is what causes these shooters to lash out. People with solid connections to other people don’t indiscriminately fire guns at strangers.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s never going to work because no one is going to make the effort to connect with the strange kid sitting by himself at lunch each day. No one is going to reach out to…

View original post 891 more words

On this Fall Equinox…

On this Fall Equinox, I am thoughtful about the Nobel Virtues of Asatru (in no particular order):

Courage: doing what you know is right, even if others disagree. Being afraid is okay; courage means doing it anyway.

Truth: honesty

Honor: honesty, loyalty, standing up against wrong

Fidelity: loyalty

Discipline: self discipline, and respecting and requiring discipline in others

Hospitality: giving of your last meal to help others…

Self Reliance: don’t refuse help, but try and get by without it.

Industriousness: work hard, play hard

Perseverance: don’t give up

That’s a lot of concepts to try and assimilate all at once. They should be self-evident, but according to what I see and hear on the web and news, a lot of people can’t get their minds around these things.

Honesty for example. Do we really think anyone at that school thought that was a real bomb? If so, why didn’t they evacuate the school? In all honesty, this was simple harassment of that 14 year old kid.

All anyone should do is try to be honest. Don’t lie. It’s that simple really. Don’t lie, either by commission (actually telling a falsehood) or by omission (not telling someone something that allows a false conclusion.) I’m not talking about the easy stuff. No one minds a little lie once in a while to maintain social tranquility. “Does this outfit make me look fat?” “No honey, you look fine!” is not the kind of thing I am talking about. It is wholesale falsehoods, by both sides of the political aisle. It is completely slanted “news” stories, intended to create fear or hatred. It is the ongoing assault on individual rights as “simply common sense” or “for our own good.”

We are looking at at least another year of this “political cycle” leading up to the Presidential elections next November. Please, I implore you, find facts for yourself. DO NOT listen to the media. If a candidate says something, look deeper than the 15 second sound bite. Look for primary sources, not just the news channel, web site, blithering idiot of the moment. Look for the motive. Look for the money. Look at everything you can to establish truth. Listen to opposing viewpoints. Read what other people are saying. Compare what you are told to what you know and discard the one that is false or incorrect. I know that is a lot of “work” but this is important. This election and maybe the next 2 or 3, could very well determine the future of this country. If the government continues to grow its own bureaucracy, and continues to ignore the Constitution in favor of “laws for our own good,” and self justifying Government agencies who create laws so that they will have something to enforce, this country is ultimately doomed.

Vote for a candidate that is telling the truth. Vote for one that wants less governmental power, not more. Study, learn, and vote carefully. This may be one of the last times you get to make a difference.

Being grateful on my Name Day

I thank the Gods often. Not because they want or need the attention, just to remind myself that there are larger things in this Universe and we should be mindful of them. Today, on my Name Day, I am thankful to Odin for watching us all, and to Thor, for standing between the innocent and those that would harm the innocent. I am also thankful of Baldr, who reminds us to be truthful and honorable. I am also thankful for all of my friends. There is a continuing stream of “Happy Birthday” wishes coming in on Facebook, and I am thankful to know you all. There has even been a “Happy Birthday” in Klingon! (Thanks Lorena!) I take an hour or two each Birthday and do a “mental review” of the year. What happened, who I was with, why it happened, and what I want to have happen this year. I don’t share this review, it is only for me. I do share memories about individual events with the people involved and want everyone to know that I love you and value your friendship. Valhalla awaits!

Finding My Faith: Vocal Offspring Edition

This is a blog post written by Marissa Gates, Kent Schmidt’s daughter. It in no way reflects how he feels on any topic, and all posts made by me (Marissa Gates) will be identified by a “Vocal Offspring” in the title of the post.

 

Growing up, I was a very keen observer. Most called me shy, but in reality I just preferred to listen rather than speak. Being so observant, I knew from a young age that my family struggled deeply with religion and their own personal beliefs. I was certainly no exception, primarily because of the lack of religious direction in my household.

I’m not saying that absence of religious consistency was necessarily a bad thing, but you can imagine growing up in a primarily Roman Catholic hometown. Everyone seemed to know what they believed in, why, and how they would practice their beliefs.

I, myself, felt no real connection to any religion, despite having free reign to believe however I wanted with no influence from outside sources trying to push their beliefs. (I thank my parents for not pressuring me to believe how they did.) As I grew older I began to severely dislike religion as a whole because of what I’d seen people do in the name of it. In high school I would have told you I hated all religions. I considered myself to be atheistic and while I didn’t shove my ideals down people’s throats, I would make it known how I felt about religion if you asked me. No censor included.

I didn’t know it at the time but the hatred I felt toward religion wasn’t hatred at all. It was envy. I wanted to believe in something. I wanted to have faith in something. I wanted to be connected to something more. I just couldn’t. Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, monotheism, polytheism… I couldn’t identify with any of it, but I spent plenty of time  trying to force myself to.

To make matters worse, when I graduated high school and fell in love with a man whose family is deeply religious and certain in their faith, I felt more lost than ever. It made it hard to see how they could believe in something that could affect them so wholly. Even my husband is a Catholic (non-practicing, but still very sure in his faith).

I felt like I was on the outside looking in.

But that feeling made me realize something: I was on the outside looking in.

Society likes to put things like faith into boxes. You either belong in one box or another. I don’t like boxes, never have. I’ve never fit into any of societies boxes, be it religion, politics, or even sexuality.

I’ve come to realize I don’t believe in any one religion. I believe in all of them. God is God. He or She or They aren’t Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other religion. God is all of them. God is all things.

Some religions even come right out and say “God is all things” but then turn around and try to convince you that those who believe in a different God or Gods are wrong. That doesn’t make sense to me. Everyone is so concerned with fighting over which box is the right one, but everyone is wrong. And everyone is right.

As for the Bible and other religious texts, I believe they are written by man to control man. People shouldn’t need a book to tell them to be good and to inspire good in others. And I refuse to believe that any God would want to punish or hurt us, or for us to hurt or punish others in His/Her/Their name. Truly the all-powerful, all-seeing God wouldn’t be so petty. My God certainly isn’t. My God allows mistakes. My God allows us to have individual life experiences– good or bad– and loves us all anyways.

As for death and the afterlife, I sincerely don’t know. Not knowing scares the crap out of me, but I think there is something beyond this world. I hope there’s something. I have faith that there’s something. And that’s all anyone has, really. Faith that there’s something more.

My God is everyone’s God and I believe he loves us all no matter what we choose to put our faith in. That’s what I choose to put my faith in, and I’ve never been so at peace with my relationship with God as I am now.

My thoughts on Marriage Equality

I cannot understand why certain people are up in arms about the SCOTUS decision regarding marriage equality. The prevailing tone of the outrage seems to be: “my religion (whatever that may be but mostly “christians”) says that gay marriage is bad, and LGBT people marrying the same sex will destroy my church and corrupt the institution of marriage!” There is so much wrong in that sentiment, that I can’t even English how very much wrong is contained there! Some points (in no particular order):

  1. Gay marriage will damage the institution of marriage.
    Oh, boy, where do I start? Like the institution of marriage is so whole and untainted in the US now days anyway? HUGE divorce rates, rapid annulments, “open” marriages, and widespread cheating have already made such a mockery of the idea of “til death do us part,” that Bob and John getting married and having a loving relationship can’t possible damage it further. If two people love each other, and are willing to commit to one another with vows, WTF difference does that make to a 5 time married, philandering idiot who obviously cannot comprehend what a “vow” is? I have always believed that two people who love one another can make a commitment. Now, with the SCOTUS ruling, they can make it “official” and be able to take advantage of all the benefits that come with a spouse; like the tax credit for being married, and being able to get their spouse any medical benefits that are available. NOT being able to get a “civil union” partner those simple things is the crime…
  1. Gay marriage will somehow damage my christian beliefs.
    Really? How? Does a male buddhist who marries a female buddhist somehow hurt your christian beliefs? Does an atheist who marries somehow, in any way, diminish your christian belief? I fail to see how. If you are so insecure as to think that two people, whom you do not know, across the country somewhere, getting married will shatter your church, brother do you have an incredible lack of faith!
  2. This is a slippery slope that will lead to polygamy, and people marrying their pets!
    While I, personally, don’t have a problem with polygamy or line marriages, or group marriages, or any of the other alternative marriage possibilities available in the world, there are many who are opposed to anything but one man one woman marriage. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I have always said: opinions are like assholes; everyone has one and most are full of shit! Heh! So if a loving family has two husbands and three wives and the kids are well cared for; who cares? I think the concept of a line marriage, as so ably described in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, is brilliant! It would be inherently stable and would provide a huge benefit in maintaining a family financially. So again; who cares? As to the bestiality aspect of the slippery slope? I believe very strongly that one has to be able to verbally, or in writing, consent to a marriage. Can an animal verbally consent? I know a minor can not give consent, so how could an animal? So moot point there. Animals (and minors) cannot give consent to marry, therefore marriage to an animal or a minor is not possible. In the states where parental consent for a minor to marry is allowed, so be it. I think the parent has a huge responsibility to be sure that the child isn’t being exploited, and the parent should probably err on the side of caution and urge the minor to wait a while to get married, but I really don’t have a problem there either.
  3. Two people of the same sex should not marry.
    Well, too bad. Used to be that two people of different races could not marry either. We now know that to be a foolish, racist, stance. Now we, as a society, have progressed beyond that sort of racist thinking. It does not even begin to bother me when I see a blended family. Nor should it. Nor should it bother you. So having established that the racist thinking of the past should not color our behavior today, how can we allow discriminatory thinking about GBLT marriage shade our thinking? Isn’t that EXACTLY the same thing?

In conclusion, I applaud the SCOTUS decision as a HUGE step forward for civil rights in the United States. I hope that we continue forward and make more strides forward in the areas of equality and rights. Now, to all the people out there on the “left”: I am not gay. I am vigorously hetero. I stood with you on this issue. I believe in equal rights for all and the protections guaranteed to us by the Constitution. Now, please stand with me on the issue of my Constitutional right to bear arms…

The Generosity of Others

It never ceases to amaze me; the generosity of others. Recently I found out that I might not be able to attend the “Star Trek” shoot that I go to every summer. I am the “Gaffer” or Chief Lighting Technician for a fan film organization that makes Star Trek for the web. We make the 1960’s style Trek with Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy for the web. Our episodes are free to view and we don’t make any money from producing them. We really, Really, REALLY don’t make any money! In fact, we pay our own way for the privilege of gathering together once or twice a year, pooling our skills and extra money, and making something wonderful. So, when I found out that I couldn’t pay my way to the shoot, I was pretty bummed…

Then, through our “family grapevine,” I found out that 4 others of the group weren’t going to be able to make the shoot either. These people, through no fault of their own, lacked the funds for the lodging and food needed to attend the shoot. I was pretty sad about that as well. I beat my figurative head against a wall until a solution presented itself: we could hold an internet “fundraiser” and see if we could raise enough money to be able to attend our gathering. I had real reservations about my plan, and I was very worried that if we raised money just for the 5 of us, we would selfishly be pulling money away from the fundraiser that we need to actually film the episode. With these thoughts gnawing at my mind, plus the embarrassment of admitting in a public forum that I couldn’t afford a relatively minor cost to attend the shoot, I put the question to the other 4 people: “Should we do this?”

After some back and forth discussion, it was agreed that we should at least try. I created and posted a fund-raising effort on Go Fund Me, a site that in my opinion, is among the best of the personal fund-raising outfits, in that you get money no matter how well you hit your “goals” and the fee that GFM asks is quite reasonable. 5 percent for GFM, and a 3 percent charge that comes from the credit card companies that process the payments. So, eight percent, no “must hit” goal in order to get money, and a very good reputation on the sites that rate such things, made Go Fund Me the choice.

After a few days, we were raising money pretty well. We got all the way to $550 dollars when I got a message that brought tears to my eyes for its generosity; an Anonymous Donor told me to total up the donations for a whole week, then he/ she would match it! This is a staggering display of munificent good! This person committed to matching hundreds of dollars (potentially) so that 5 people could travel to upstate New York, and in effect, make a movie. I cannot begin to explain how much this means to the others and I.

The generosity of my friends does not stop there! People who I KNOW cannot afford to, are sending in money to help the 5 of us go to the shoot. It warms my heart to know that there are people that kind out there, and then I realize how lucky I am to know them!

In closing, please know how much I love the people who have contributed. I will see you in July, and shower you with hugs and thanks!!!

PS: if you are reading this and haven’t seen my many posts on the subject on Facebook, here are the links. Please consider giving, if you can, and share the links around even if you cannot contribute.

The Go Fund Me: http://www.gofundme.com/vps5w3k9h

The Kickstarter for the Phase 2 shoot: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2075083284/star-trek-new-voyages-phase-ii-2015

Live Long and Prosper…

Mad Max: Fury Road Review

Mad Max: Fury Road Review (Caution: Spoilers!)

I have been a fan of the Mad Max franchise for most of my life. I saw Road Warrior (Mad Mad II) in the theater and searched mightily until I found a copy of the original Mad Max. Beyond Thunderdome was passable considering how horrible most “third movies” are. I just saw Mad Max: Fury Road and have some thoughts…

The overall first impressions about the movie are that it is pretty good. A worthy successor to the Max franchise and, I think, takes place between the 2nd and 3rd movies (due to some Easter Egg type things that I noticed.) The characters are quite powerful in this installment, and while Max (Tom Hardy) doesn’t really develop any further as anyone other than a man driven crazy by his past and living as a hermit on the run in the desert, people like Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and Nux (Nicholas Hoult) both change and grow during the course of the movie. The premise is simple: (hah!) a warlord; Immortan Joe (played pretty well by the same actor that played Toecutter in the original Mad Max) has a harem of “breeders” that have not been damaged by the radiation of the bombed out wasteland. Furiosa helps them escape from their prison and takes them into the wasteland in search of her barely remembered home “the Green Place.” Max gets caught up in the chase and aids the women, along with Nux, one of the mutated War Boys that keep Joe in power. Joe sets off to catch them and the chase is on!

As with all the Max movies, the stunts and driving are amazing. Every time there is a crash, I think to myself; “I wonder how many stunt guys got hurt in that one?” There was very little CGI that I noticed other than some backgrounds and such, the wrecks looked real because they were real. Real cars, driven by real stunt people, flip, crash, smash, and roll. I think that this aspect of the movie is fantastic. Real objects have a believe- ability all their own and those crashes looked great!

The bulk of my review involves some of the cinematographic aspects of the movie. The Director, George Miller, heavily overuses the technique of “undercranking” the film (or digital video in this case) and playing it back at regular speed. This was used extensively in both the original Mad Max and Road Warrior movies but here it really gets annoying, IMHO. The technique is used to make things look faster than they really are. For example, in Road Warrior, when Max is bringing the big rig truck into the good guys camp the first time, they undercranked the footage to make the chase cars and truck appear to be moving much faster than they really were. This appears constantly in Fury Road. So much so that it is shorter to list the action scenes that don’t use it. He even uses it with people only scenes like a guy walking down a hallway. I really don’t understand that. I find the technique jarring and it takes me out of the movie really easily. When the footage of a bad guy car coming in to attack the good guy big truck is sped up, the actions of the guys climbing around on the bad guy truck are also sped up, so that they are moving at speeds normally only attained by a ferret hyped up on caffeine and pixie stix! Dust trails and debris also don’t look right. At one point in the movie the heroes are being pursued toward a giant dust storm. The CGI “wall of dust” is majestically moving forward and looks suitably imposing and menacing. The dust trails of the vehicles heading toward the sand wall are moving comically fast and blowing sideways! Not a major problem for most folks, I guess, but that sort of thing pops me right out of the “suspension of disbelief” that is needed to enjoy this kind of “popcorn movie.”

About the sound: I thought my local theater had the sound up too high. I don’t have the best hearing; results of a life listening to heavy metal too loudly, too many concerts and too much hanging around jet engines, I guess, but my hearing is definitely damaged. That said, I think my local Regal had the sound turned up too high in the theater I saw Mad Max in. When some sounds are loud enough to make me flinch, that’s probably too loud.

Technical aspects aside, I loved this one. As I said before, I have always liked the Max movies and the other “after the apocalypse/ desert wasteland” movies like “Battle Truck,” “Damnation Alley,” and even “Waterworld.” This is another example and fits right in with the genre.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

****** CAUTION: HERE BE SPOILERS! ******

Just saw Age of Ultron last night (5/1) and my first impressions are: AWESOME! Given the success of the first Avengers movie, I had both high hopes and some trepidation regarding the second installment from Whedon and Marvel. It is incredibly difficult to pull off an action movie that is also an ensemble piece. Usually one, two, or even three “heroes” storm the castle, or fight the good fight, or quest for the reward. A:AoU has six! (eight counting Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and NINE counting Vision!) Each of the characters gets at least a little development, some, like Hawkeye, get a HUGE amount of backstory, including a “hidden” wife and 2(3) kids! Who knew that master archer/ combat ninja/ international “dirty jobs” guy Hawkeye has a “Home Improvement” hobby that would make Tim Allen blush?

Under some mental influence from the Scarlet Witch, Tony Stark decides to “put the world in a suit of armor” and complete the Ultron Project. Using some newly discovered “AI” software, he attempts to construct a sentient guardian for the world. As is usually the case with Hollywood AI, Ultron promptly decides to “save humanity from itself” by imposing his own rule. This leads the Avengers team to chase around the world attempting to keep Ultron from accumulating the “plot coupons” he needs to destroy humanity and rule what remains. In the course of this hunt, Ultron forces the creation of a human/ robotic hybrid body that he intends to download his machine intelligence into. The heroes steal this “clone” and in a blinding display of Tony Stark’s arrogance and hubris, Tony then attempts to create a “better” version of Ultron using the original, less capable, AI named Jarvis that Tony built to be his personal assistant. The result, who Marvel fans recognize as Vision, is faster, stronger, and more noble than Ultron, and is, in fact, capable of picking up Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer! Which, we are shown in an earlier scene, is only possible by one who is worthy of wielding the power of Thor. This allays the fears of the other Avengers, that Tony has only constructed another, flawed and dangerous, version of Ultron. During his creation, Vision has an “Infinity Stone” placed in his forehead, giving him tremendous power. This sets up a future conflict that will be shown in Avengers: Infinity War part 1 and part 2. Thanos, a really evil monster, bent on “courting Death,” wants all the Infinity Stones in order to create the Infinity Gauntlet that will give him ultimate power.

The characters are heroes that we love, each with their own fears and flaws, and we get to enjoy them interacting in combat, and in planning sessions. The tension between Tony Stark who thinks of the “win” no matter what the cost and Steve Rogers (Captain America) who does NOT believe in “the ends justify the means,” is palpable and the two clash enough times that it is obvious that this will lead to the next Captain America movie: Civil War. Hulk really has problems with the fact that his presence inevitably leads to destruction on a truly awesome scale, and this weighs heavily on him. So much so that he passes up the opportunity to “run away” with Natasha Romanov and have a normal regular life, away from the stresses of having to be an Avenger.

As soon as we see Clint visit with his family, I assumed that he was doomed, Doomed, DOOMED to die… But I was wrong. He gets his happy ending and is returned to his wife and children. Joss Whedon is notorious for killing beloved characters in order to show, among other things, that death comes for us all. Being “Jossed” means being killed, sometimes heroically, sometimes not, just when fans have come to enjoy and love your character. I thought for sure that Hawkeye was due to be Jossed, and thankfully, I was proven wrong, at least for this movie. Hawkeye lives!

All in all I loved this movie, recommend it highly, and cannot wait to see what is coming in the Marvel Cinematic Universe…