Years ago, in my former, pre-dystopian life, I had a blog where I mostly wrote about the sometimes humorous, always chaotic, generally rewarding experience of parenting two children who were, at the time, very young. I was, in the colloquial term of that fancy-free, pre-Trump day and age, a “Daddy Blogger.”
Half a century. Yikes.
Listen, I’m optimistic about how much time I have left, but even if all of this working out and healthy eating pays off, an objective reading of the actuarial chart still suggests that I’d have to squint pretty hard to see the halfway point in my rearview mirror right now. Add to that the fact that each year now passes more quickly than the one that came before it and it’s easy to imagine that whatever time I do have left is going to feel exponentially more brief than the previous five decades.
My problem with “Avengers: Endgame” is not that it isn’t well-paced or well-shot, or that the story is not well-conceived, or that the action isn’t amazing, or that the actors didn’t deliver great performances, or that the creators failed to bring to life a comic book in a truly eye-popping and heartfelt fashion. To the contrary, the film nailed it on those counts. In fact, as cinematic achievements go, “Avengers: Endgame” is a visual feast filled with some of the most incredible comic-book action ever committed to film, wrapped around a clever plot that, had it not been for my disappointment with some crucial character decisions, would have left me standing on my chair cheering as the credits rolled. My ability to enjoy the many otherwise excellent elements of this movie, however, was insurmountably handicapped by some storytelling choices to which I could not object more.
And so, without further ado, I give you:
“What ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Did Wrong and How It Could Have Been Awesome, According to Some Random, Old Dude with a Blog Who Has Never Created a Comic Book, Nor a Movie, Nor a Comic-Book Movie, Let Alone the Top-Grossing Comic-Book Movie of All Time.”
NOTE: The post below is the last one I published at my old blog, much of the content from which I’ve since republished here at JonZal.com.
I launched this blog almost 12 years ago. The writing I’ve done here, and the feedback I’ve gotten from many of you, has made this the most fulfilling creative endeavor of my life thus far.
I got out of the Army in 1991, one week before Christmas. My brother’s gift to me that year was Soundgarden’s “Badmotorfinger.” I was a short-haired, 21-year-old, ex-military cop with my sights set on a career in law enforcement.
Less than two years later, I was a long-haired, college-radio DJ whose daily attire consisted of beat-up combat boots, ripped jeans, flannel shirts and a leather biker jacket. I had discovered I could write, and I no longer wanted to be a cop. Chris Cornell’s voice featured prominently on the soundtrack to my transformation.
I’ve been meaning to write something awesome … but then this porcupine ate a pumpkin:
I think we can all agree that that is some critically important shit right there, people … and, if not for Facebook, I might have missed it while squandering my time in pursuit of my greatest dreams and ambitions.
I’m not sure if you remember me. It’s been a while since I last wrote to you. Thirty-six years, in fact. Here, let me refresh your memory:
I called him “Shep,” like, at least two or three times before finally realizing that I’d misremembered (yes, that’s a word now) his last name; it was “Sam Shelby,” not “Sam Shepard.” It was our first day working together, and there I am, calling him “Shep” … repeatedly … because I’m a douche. Of course, when I finally realized (with no small amount of embarrassment) the mistake I’d been making, Sam merely laughed it off and took it upon himself to make the moment far less uncomfortable and awkward than I deserved for it to be … because that’s just who he was.