Movie of the Year: ‘Avengers: Endgame’

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If Sci-Fi is your preferred film genre, then I reckon this movie is as important as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Star Wars (1977)… Read on…

One of the many promotional Posters

But what makes this latest blockbuster different is the sheer scale and ambition by those responsible for its existence – Marvel Studios (more about all this later).

So, here is my review of Marvel’s latest flick – spoiler-free too! ๐Ÿ‘

But first, some background to put all this ‘scale’ and ‘ambition’ into context. Skip the next few paragraphs, if you’re already up-to-speed.

Ten Years in the Planning!

What began with Iron Man back in 2008, Marvel Studios has now turned-out 21 Movies in the series (21? yes, really!). They’ve all been part of their multi-phase Infinity Saga storyline (see the links below if you need a reminder!) – scroll-on, if you don’t!

Phase 1

Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)


Phase 2

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)


Phase 3

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
SpiderMan: Far from Home (2019)


Crikey! It makes the original Star Wars Trilogy feel like a short story!

How’s that for scale and ambition then? ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

And with plenty of fanfare in the media, this is Marvel’s final Movie in the ‘Infinity Saga’ series (did I mention there had been 21 Movies so far?) – and with a running-time of a tad over three-hours, (3 hours and 58 seconds actually) it promises to wrap things up nicely, given the dark and depressing tone of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.

Is this one of the longest Movies of recent years/ever? Well, ‘no’ it isn’t actually – not by a long way!!! See Longest Cinematic Films. So, no records broken here!

I’m still looking for box-office estimates on how much Endgame is going to rake-in, but I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t exceed a billion dollars after its full run! ๐Ÿ’ฐ,๐Ÿ’ฒ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฒ,๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฒ๐Ÿ’ฐ,๐Ÿ’ฒ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฒ – and that WILL set a record! Just take a look at other Movies in this saga – this is serious money!

Update: Monday, May 6, 2019Box Office receipts globally exceed TWO billion dollars!

Thanks to Box Office Mojo for the Charts

Talking of takings, Odeon will be the other winner here – with their extra food and drink sales at their (ahem!) ‘very special’ prices. It’s a pity they don’t charge for the loo too, because everyone is going to need a loo-break… or three ๐Ÿฅด to get through this one!

And just because you’re NOT a fan, don’t think it’s safe to return to a sans-spandex-Cinema after tonight! Bad news then, as Marvel has already announced Phase 4, and with it, a series of films featuring the return of some existing super-heroes plus some we’ve yet to meet. Six Movies are already confirmed.


Phase 4

Black Widow
The Eternals
Doctor Strange 2
Black Panther 2
Shang-Chi
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

PS: If you’re a bit fazed by all these err, Phases, you can find them explained here – but beware, it’s a Nerd’s Paradise! Thanks Digital Spy ๐Ÿ˜‰


Do try and stay awake at the back Tompkins! ๐Ÿ˜

As you’d expect, details of this final (and pivotal) Movie have remained a closely-guarded secret. Scripts were under lock-and-key, and some scenes were only communicated by word-of-mouth! They even filmed multiple versions of scenes, in case some leaked out. I guess it’s all part of this 24/7 Internet age that we live in. When the official Trailers started appearing, plenty of folks, looking for their ’15 minutes of fame’, began hypothesising as to how this film will play out – albeit with very little to go on!

December 2018: The first official Trailer arrives and sends the interweb into a spin. And, as predicted, everyone who had the time and the motivation (Oh, and a video camera!) uploads their theory about ‘what it all means’! ๐Ÿค”

1st Official Trailer (7 December 2018)

Not me though! I’d carefully avoided any spoilers and/or fan theories, so I could eventually watch the Film with a genuine wonder as to what was going to happen (you know, like it used to be at Cinemas!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

2nd Official Trailer (April 2019)

April 2019: Even when the second official Trailer appeared online, even more half-baked theories clogged-up the Internet – nothing substantial reported though! And that suited me perfectly! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Final Official Trailer (Mid-April 2019)

Mid-April 2019: By the time this final Trailer appeared later in April, the same old ground was still being re-trod about what the film would be about. The biggest talking-point seemed to be whether the first Avenger – Captain America – would survive? This was prompted by a somewhat ambiguous tweet by Chris Evans, (the Actor who plays him) when Endgame wrapped last year.

Ooops!

Update: 17 April 2019: With just a week to go before general release here, someone apparently leaked the story online with some images – the Directors (The Russo Bothers) pleaded with the fanbase NOT to share the details! And, maybe surprisingly, as a result of their plea, the leak saw virtually no air-time at all. I’m definitely sensing a backlash against those who do all this spoiling!

#DontSpoilTheEndgame

Update: 21 April 2019: No more Trailers, but a handy timeline, courtesy of Marvel, appeared on the BBC News website. It explained the best order to watch all 22 Movies so far, to make sense of how the bigger story unfolds. If you’re wondering about the years shown – that’s the year in which the film is set. And yes, in America, some Cinemas were showing all the Movies in one sitting (that’s 1 day, 23 hours and 48 minutes)! Really?

Yeesh! I’m not that much of a fan! ๐Ÿ˜

Update: 23 April 2019: The World Premiรจre was last night and the invited few were exceptionally positive – and best of all, no-one gave away the plot either! Having said that, based on quite a few comments, it looks like Kleenex are the other winners here! ๐Ÿ˜ช

Sadly, no invitation!

The Odeon, Kettering

28 April 2019: So, finally, here we are, and there’s nothing left to do but sit-back, break open those sweets smuggled-in from Aldi, and enjoy the Movie. Although it was released a few days ago on the 25th April that was OK, because it meant all the super-super (super!) fans – you know, the ones who cos-play at these events, will have been and gone. So, that’s a positive! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

I picked up Jo and Janet and we headed off for what promises (for me, at least) to be the best film of the year. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜‰. But first there was the small matter of parking the car. Normally, it’s usually not a problem, but in all the years I’ve been going to the Odeon, I have NEVER seen the car-park so full as it was tonight. In fact, it was so full, some helpful buggers had created their own parking spaces in amongst the official white lines just to make it even more tricky to get around.

As expected then, our screen was a full! And considering we’re only three days in, and it’s showing every half hour, makes me even more confident that it’s going to smash all previous Box Office records.

So, we hung about whilst they bulldozed the debris of refreshments from the previous sitting, and whilst waiting, we learned that a couple of young dudes in front of us were there for their THIRD screening. Kerchinng! Eventually we were let in, and we found our seats. Just as the lights went down, an individual who could only be described as the Hulk’s long-lost brother squeezed into the seat next to me – I’ve never seen a guy that big before – apart from in an Avengers movie!! Oh joy! No chance of me stretching-out then!

Back to the film – and this, to remind you, is spoiler-free, so it’s safe to read onโ€ฆ

  • In spite of a three-hour+ running time, it didn’t feel like it
  • This isn’t a movie for casual Marvel viewers, as there is loads going on most of the time
  • There’s plenty of stuff online abut the best time for a visit to the loo, but I’d say ‘go before you go‘ because there is very little that’s NOT important
  • I expected the movie to invoke a lot of emotions, but wasn’t expecting so much humour
  • Those in lust with Chris Hemsworth will see a part of him that will bring you back to your senses
  • The movie is worth a second viewing (or maybe even three) to take it all in
  • Some characters don’t make it to the end, but maybe not who you think!
  • Someone cashes in that rain-check for a dance
  • The final scenes will make Kleenex very satisfied with recent sales. Even my cinema-neighbour: “Hulk’s Brother” was blubbing!
  • There IS a post-credit scene (of sorts) but it’s easy to miss, and only lasts around 10 seconds – and you need to be eagle-eared rather than eagle-eyed. It either means nothing, something โ€ฆor everything! Does it look forward or back? Only time the internet will tell
  • Oh, and there’s a free poster waiting for you when you leave!

Well, maybe not surprisingly, it turned out to be excellent! The Movie successfully pulled together all the loose strands of the previous flicks and in doing so, took the audience through the complete spectrum of emotions. Considering the sheer number of characters (and costumes!) it was all very enjoyable, although it did require a high level of concentration and ‘joining of the dots’.

For those of you that are interested in the numbers: This Marvel blockbuster has become the fastest film ever to break the $1bn barrier – in just 5 days. Its opening takings easily beat the previous global dรฉbut record of (only!) $640m (set by last year’s Avengers: Infinity War) and was also the UK and Ireland’s biggest opening ever, with takings of ยฃ43.7m.


Worldwide Box Office as at Sunday, 28th April

$1,200,000,000

Phew!










The (other) George

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Our weekend of socialising continued today with a welcome return to The George – this time, it was the one found in Buckden and not its namesake – The George in Stamford – our other favourite!

Today, we met up with Roger, Jane and Oliver for 12.30 – last time we were all together here was back in March 2013 and happily, nothing much had changed! ๐Ÿ˜ Great service and a yummy menu!

A nice table too, with plenty of room! We enjoyed catching-up with everyone’s news – especially Oli’s mega-busy exam schedule! ๐Ÿฅด

By 3pm we were completely stuffed, so we paid the Bill, said our goodbyes and headed home. It was good to catch-up today, but for some of us, our socialising wasn’t quite over! I’m off out again at 5.30 to catch the 6pm performance of The Avengers: Endgame with Jo and Janet.

Boy, life is tough! ๐Ÿ˜

Two Locals and Two Towneys

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We caught up with Nick and Celina today.

After a quick look round their local Garden Centre, we headed off to another local for Lunch – The Black Bull, in nearby Market Overton.

A Great Menu!
Pate for Starters
Chicken Balti in a Pie! Genius!
Banoffee Pie

Then it was back to theirs for a coffee and to admire how much they’ve done with their Home since we were last here back in 2017.

Then, back to ours to prepare some of the food for the neighbours’ gathering round at Tom and Julie’s to celebrate Lewis’ 30th. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fab Food!
Almost 30!

It’s all go! …and in a good way! We had a great time and stayed until about 11ish – and then dropped-off John and Trish at theirs. Catch-up again soon neighbours! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜‰

Easter (2019)

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Heckington’s most famous attraction – the eight-sail Windmill

This year, we spent most of Easter with Denis in Heckington.

Good Friday

We left home fairly early (8.15am) and there was hardly another car on the road. As a result, we made record time and arrived just before 9.45.

We’ve got plans to catch-up with Bev too whilst we’re up here, but that’s tomorrow, as we’ve got plenty of jobs to do for Denis in the Garden to keep us busy today!

Scorchio!

And it looked like we had perfect weather for it! After a quick coffee, we got to work. Our two major chlenges were…

…paint the newly installed fence panel…

… and (my speciality!) jet-wash the patio.

So, whilst Ann sorted the fence, I got stuck into the delights of a Patio that hadn’t seen a pressure-washer for a good few years!

Three hours later, it was ‘job done’ – the Patio had never looked so clean and in Ann’s case, all the fence panel needed was a third (or maybe a fourth) coat.

Easter Saturday

Another hot day forecast – this is turning into a very atypical Bank Holiday weekend!

Scorchio (again!) ๐Ÿ˜

We had a lie-in until the impossibly-late hour of 7.15am! Another day, another two challenges presented themselves – the shower attachment and (because it’s Heckington) a wildly unpredictable interweb signal of any kind (unless the wind was in the right direction). In fact, the strongest signal was actually in the bathroom, but juggling a mobile in one hand and the shower head in the other, was clearly not an ideal strategy! โ˜บ

We somehow survived and spent the morning sitting out in the Sun soaking up the glorious sunshine!

11.00am: Time to get Denis ready for our Lunch where we’re catching-up with Bev too! Bev had booked The Swan Holme nearby, and after picking her up, we headed for our 1 o’clock table.

Swan Holme Tavern, Lincoln

We were super-early (12.15) but we were seated without a fuss. Service was brisk and we were soon tucking-in.

Score Draw! Gambles 2 : Palmer 2

1.45pm: After our feast, it was back to Bev’s for teas and coffees and to catch-up with neighbour, Lynne.

2.30pm: Time for goodbyes and then we headed back to Denis’s to appreciate the remaining sunshine!

3.30pm: Back at Denis’s where Ann re-organised the Kitchen and Utility Room whilst Denis took on the role of Observers!

5.00pm: Time to catch the last of today’s Sun and put another coat on that fence panel – will we EVER darken it down? (it’s now had about five coats!)

7.25pm: The Sun went down and it turned a lot cooler – so we retreated to the Lounge and watched a bit of TV for the rest of the evening.

Easter Sunday

Scorchio again (again!)

8.35am: With another hot day in store, our plan today was to complete a few more of the smaller tasks in the Garden.

The extra coat we’d put on the fence panel last night, finally (finally!) seems to have done its job – it’s toned-in nicely!

9.15am: First job today is to turn the soil and plant ‘a crop’ of sunflower seeds

Before…
After…

10.30am: Statutory tea-break!

10.55am: Final job of the day was to prepare the legendary ‘Gambles Dahlias’ ready for planting on our next visit…

Job done!

11.30am: A quick vacuum, strip our bed and then prepare Lunch for Denis – and we’re done!

Our work here is done!

12.45pm: Lunch is served! ๐Ÿ˜‰

1.25pm: We said our goodbyes and had one of the best runs home ever – 1 hour 15 minutes.

2.30pm: With the car unpacked, it was a quick cuppa, washing on…

6.00pm: …and then dinner in the Garden. I can’t recall the last time we had so many hot days in a row over Easter! ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŒž ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŒž ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŒž

Easter Monday

Ann went off to her volunteering morning at Kelmarsh Hall, whilst I caught-up with my reading. Tonight, Conor dropped by to have Dinner with us.

All-in-all, this has been a superb Easter break! Weather-wise, it couldn’t be beaten with wall-to-wall sunshine from Good Friday right through to Easter Monday! ๐Ÿ˜

Visit to Bletchley Park (2019)

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The Mansion at Bletchley Park

We haven’t been to Bletchley Park since, well, I don’t know when!

It was certainly before I started blogging regularly – a rough guess was back in the early 90s!

We set-off just before 9.30, picked up Conor C (our treat for getting himself into the Army), and headed-off to see what had changed there.

Since that first visit, a lot of money has been spent on preserving and improving this iconic location – a location so important in the 2nd World War timeline. It received a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant back in 2011, as well as various other donations – and now looks all the better for it ๐Ÿ˜

The Lake at Bletchley Park

Initial impressions were good excellent! First of all, there’s now a reasonable-size car-park (I think we parked in a side-road back in the 90s!). Additionally, there’s a proper Admissions/Ticket area (a converted Hut) leading to a short, but powerful audio-visual introduction of the significance of Bletchley Park – a great start!

It’s not difficult to appreciate the significance of the great work done here. Home to almost 9000 staff at its height, history has recorded that the efforts of Bletchley’s staff, shortened the War by almost two years.

The Admissions/Ticket area

The next thing we noticed was whereas, during our 90s visit (where the Mansion was the focal point) now, all the main attractions were housed in the numerous Huts.

Still, the Mansion is most definitely worth a look! It’s beautifully restored and it’s now a place for various code-busting-related exhibitions and an outlet for their Bletchley Park Gin launched just yesterday. Luckily, for Gin-lovers, there were free samples today too! ๐Ÿฅด

After a thorough look round the Mansion, we headed for the famous Huts. There was plenty to see here. The Lottery Grant and donations from big names such as BT, Google and even Steven Spielberg, has, IMHO, been spent wisely and appropriately, So-much-so, I think it’s one of those attractions that’s worth a second (or even third) visit to take it all in.

And if authentically re-created code-cracking rooms from the 40s aren’t your thing, there’s probably the most comprehensive exhibition of various code-breaking machines that I think I’ve ever seen! ๐Ÿ‘

…and a general history of super-computing from the perspective of code-breaking too, using a wide variety of static displays, AV presentations and touch-screen interactive screens…

‘The Bombe’

In fact, there was an awful lot to take in, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be returning before too long (helpfully, tickets are valid for a year!) ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

To complement the machines, perhaps, as expected, there’s a very comprehensive set of displays outlining the genius of Alan Turing.

Statue of Alan Turing

“The Geese that laid the Golden Eggs and never cackled” – Winston Churchill


So many Huts, so little time! ๐Ÿ˜‰. We’d now all ODed on those, and after about an hour-and-a-half, we headed for our penultimate stop – the National Radio Centre – a brilliant showcase for radio communication technology…

“10-4 Good Buddy!”

…from valves to 5G, it had it all !

Our final stop was their new D-Day Exhibition. Perhaps a little smaller than we had imagined, but there was still plenty to see!

The ‘D-Day’ Exhibition

To finish, it was the obligatory look round their Gift Shop. It sported a good range of the normal tat, plus plenty more far more intelligent choices! ๐Ÿค”

Surprising Fact of the Day

I didn’t realise how important pigeons
were in World War II!


There’s an interesting article HERE


1.45pm: We headed home and dropped Conor off at his. Reflecting on the day, we concluded it had been a very enjoyable experience. It’s fair to say Bletchley Park has been completely transformed since our first visit, 25+ years ago – and what an experience!

All of today’s photos but none of my chat HERE ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘

Out… Foxed

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The Fox Inn

We went to The Fox Inn at Thorpe Waterville tonight to meet up with Mick and Jane.

Last time we all saw each other was back in November last year for our Christmas get-together at Loch Fyne in Elton – and the last time we were here was back in January 2014.

We went to The Fox Inn at Thorpe Waterville tonight to meet up with Mick and Jane. Last time we all saw each other was back in November last year for our Christmas get-together at Loch Fyne in Elton – and the last time we were here was back in January 2014.

Memories from last time include… generous portions and excellent service. Let’s hope tonight is no different! ๐Ÿ˜

We arrive just before 6.30 and headed inside. First job though, a pre-dinner drinkie! – a pint of Eagle IPA for me whilst Ann settled for a half of Stowford Press Cider! ๐Ÿฅด

A Pint of IPA
That’ll do nicely!

Mick and Jane arrived just a few minutes after us and there was just time to drool over their new Mini before being heading for the Restaurant.

The Service was brisk (almost too brisk, if that were possible) and we were therefore soon tucking into our respective choices in record time…

The food certainly didn’t disappoint! Packed with flavour and beautiful presented too! Together with a pre-dinner drink and a bottle of wine, the total bill was under ยฃ60 per couple, which was great value.

We had plenty of time during and between Courses to catch-up with everyone’s news and we’re going to do it all again in the Summer and try out a Pub/Restaurant we’ve not been to be before – The Old Pheasant in Glaston.

A great evening with great friends!
๐Ÿ‘โคโœ”๐Ÿ‘โคโœ”