MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: Over the weekend, I saw “Avengers: Infinity War,” which stars Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder, Zodiac), Chris Hemsworth (Snow White and the Huntsman, In the Heart of the Sea), Mark Ruffalo (Begin Again, Foxcatcher), Chris Evans (Snowpiercer, Before We Go), Scarlett Johansson (Isle of Dogs, Her), Don Cheadle (Crash, Hotel Rwanda), Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, The Imitation Game), Josh Brolin (Sicario, The Goonies), Tom Holland (The Impossible, The Lost City of Z), Chadwick Boseman (42, Gods of Egypt), Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek ), Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Parks and Recreation [TV series]), Dave Bautista (Blade Runner 2049, Spectre), Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla , Martha Macy Mary Marlene), Paul Bettany (A Knight’s Tale, A Beautiful Mind), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper), Karen Gillan (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Selfie [TV series]), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, The Adjustment Bureau), Sebastian Stan (I’m Not Here, I Tonya), Pom Klementieff (Old Boy, Ingrid Goes West), Vin Diesel (The Fast and the Furious, Pitch Black), Tom Hiddleston (Early Man, The Night Manager [TV series]), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, Pacific Rim), Danai Gurira (The Visitor, Mother of George), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones [TV series], X-Men: Days of Future Past), Benedict Wong (Redemption, Annihilation), Gwenyth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love, Sliding Doors), Benicio Del Toro (The Usual Suspects, Traffic), Letitia Wright (The Commuter, Black Mirror [TV series]), William Hurt (A History of Violence, Altered States), Winston Duke (Person of Interest [TV series], Black Panther), and Stan Lee (The Avengers , Guardians of the Galaxy). It was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (You Me and Dupree, Community [TV series]), while the screenplay was written by Christopher Markus (Pain & Gain, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe ) and Stephen McFeely (Agent Carter [TV series], Thor: The Dark World). When Thanos (Brolin) sets out to gather the rest of the infinity stones to aid him in destroying the universe, it is up to the Avengers and Guardians to band together in order to stop him.
Can you believe in a few days it will be the tenth anniversary of “Iron Man”? Can you believe that in a few measly weeks I will be twenty years old? I didn’t expect you to get the second question, but the two do correlate. Ten years ago, I was a spry nine-year-old dweeb sitting in the movie theater, amazed at the spectacle that was “Iron Man.” Little did we know that there would be a cinematic universe built from this; we didn’t stay until the end credits…it was unheard of. Now, we have finally arrived to what is possibly the biggest climax in film history, spanning eighteen flicks over the course of a decade. All roads lead to this. The only question is, does it pay off? When I bought my ticket for “Infinity War,” I had to reassess a few things to make my viewing more merciful to the feature than it would be. For starters, this isn’t going to hold a ton of character development. It may for a hand-selected amount of characters, but what do you expect from a picture with over twenty day players? The conflict and story are bound to take more precedence, as it should. Secondly (and lastly), to think a film that you’ve been anticipating for the last six years (since “Avengers” introduced Thanos) will actually amount to your expectations is a bit brash. Sure, it can match or exceed them, but the longer the wait it, the more impossible the bar is to reach. After setting myself straight, I put on my big boy pants and sat down to the superhero flick to end all superhero flicks (that is, until the fourth “Avengers” comes out). Like most people who walked out of the theater, I was left in silence. My thoughts weren’t collected and my reaction was unknown. What did I think of this movie? Is it all that it’s cracked up to be? I pondered on this for a solid few hours, which isn’t a bad thing. To reassure you viewers, “Infinity War” is a fantastic film, chocked full of all things a Marvel fan will enjoy. However, I wanted to figure out just how good it actually was, and how it compares to all the other eighteen releases I have watched during this cinematic universe’s run. Let’s start with the story. My biggest concern with this film was whether or not it could balance its characters to create something fluid and cohesive. Marvel has built up quite the array of heroes, almost all of whom are given the spotlight at least once during the course of this adventure (save for Hawkeye and Ant-Man, who had to sit this one out). Thankfully, this issue was cleared up. The story interweaves through many arcs almost seamlessly, not only allowing us to watch all of our heroes, but also make it necessary to include them. Everyone had a part to play, and there is so much to watch unfold in this two-and-a-half hour epic. I counted at least five separate arcs that were cut together, flowing from one to the next in order to shape things up for what is to come of both this film’s conclusion and the foundation of the next. There’s a lot that happens; so many plot elements, characters, jokes, and action sequences to make any Marvel fan go crazy while watching. However, it wasn’t these aspects that truly won me over with the movie, but rather the emotional, gut-wrenching scenes. I told myself I wouldn’t make this a spoiler review, so I have left a small section at the bottom to give more depth (with spoilers) to my analysis. To say the least, there were quite a few instances in this feature where Marvel actually got dark and ballsy; the one thing I’ve been pushing them to be for so long. Of course, there are a lot of jokes and light-hearted instances. For every emotional moment you have three joke ones. But, it’s in these dark scenes that the film hits its stride. And what better way to make an emotional scene than with Thanos? You heard it right folks, the bad guy is actually given some depth. Not in the way you may think (if you haven’t seen it), but at another angle where you actually understand him. It’s hardly ever been done in this cinematic universe, and while I understand that he’s been given years of small developments, it was still nice to have a villain that wasn’t so one-dimensional. He’s a tyrant, but there’s also more layers to him that unfold as the film progresses. He was given the most character development out of all the characters, which was both surprising and refreshing (to think, the villain actually gets more of the backstory). Alongside him to receive depth are Gamora (Saldana), Scarlet Witch (Olsen), Vision (Bettany), and Thor (Hemsworth) (arguable, for sure, but his mission was the most crucial). It’s shocking how the main Avengers we’ve come to know and love weren’t given much of the development, but in a way I think it helped the film. To be honest with you, it was like I was seeing a whole new side to this universe. The relationship between Thanos and Gamora was spectacular, and Scarlet Witch just about brought me to tears in one scene shared with Vision. Though the pair didn’t receive as much backstory as Thanos and Gamora, they were certainly given enough for me to care. As for the rest of the characters, they all played their parts rightfully. Each of them had their moments, and I respect the writers for not trying to give everyone the same room (otherwise no one would get developed). We’ve already grown with these people for almost ten years, so it would make sense for some to take the backseat, at least for this first part. Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) is still the same guy we know and love; we’ve seen him in three standalone features as well as three group movies, so anything that happens to him now would just be as meaningful even though he’s not given the most screentime. Sure, I would’ve enjoyed some characters to get more time (like Captain America [Evans], since he’s been in hiding for so long), but it’s these sacrifices you make as a writer that don’t cost the movie too much. As a whole, the story wowed me. I don’t think there was ever a dull moment, solely because of the amount of ground to cover. I was happy, sad, and on the edge throughout the experience, and I will say that it has been the biggest thrill ride Marvel has made to date. My heart was beating fast during the third act when all crap was breaking loose; for once, the heroes seemed to be losing the fight throughout the whole movie (something that hasn’t really happened in…well, ever for a Marvel flick). Dark stuff occurred and I loved it because for once there were actually high stakes. This isn’t a scenario where everyone escapes with the skin on their backs. It’s high time that someone dies, and for the most part I was satisfied with what happened. The ending was completely mind-boggling and out of left-field; heck, there were a few things to this story that caught me off guard, which was fantastic. I couldn’t really tell you what the conclusion is, but I’m sure all will be explained next year when “Avengers 4” rolls onto the scene. Regardless, “Infinity War” presented a cool and interesting last moments. Aside from the story, everything else was pretty solid. The visual effects were awesome (as they should be), the acting was superb, and the score was great. Also, the cinematography and locations were a plus; it’s always great to see the Avengers take the fight outside of Earth (let alone New York City). There’s no ounce in my body that’ll say you won’t enjoy this, however I do have my grievances with the movie. Some are nitpicks with story (that I’ll mention in the spoiler section below), while others rely on the cinematic universe as a whole. The biggest problem involves character deaths, and whether or not we should take them seriously. I’ve been fed the fact of “no one is ever really dead” by this company (and other outlets of entertainment) for so long that many of the sacrifices made in this leave me without much of a care. I could be right and they do come back, but I could also be wrong and that was the last time I saw them (which would be devastating). So, I didn’t really feel for much of the death aspect, aside from a few moments. Besides that, I will also say that, while I’m understanding of the situation these writers are in, I would’ve enjoyed a longer runtime just so we can further develop a few characters I wanted to get to (i.e. Cap, Bucky [Stan], Bruce [Ruffalo], and Black Widow [Johansson]). Hopefully there is a shift to new developments with other figures come time the next release. In the end, “Infinity War” wasn’t what I expected, but it was a blast of an experience. We actually have a fleshed our villain, and the spotlight shined on characters that were shockingly interesting in-depth. I await to see what’s to come for these heroes, and couldn’t be more grateful for a wonderful climactic release. FINAL SCORE: 94%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
WARNING: BELOW CONTAINS A SPOILER ANALYSIS
In making a few extra points, I’m completely at a loss of words for what happened to everyone. Going up in ash was not expected, and I don’t know what Thanos did to make that happen. The scene between Tony and Spidey (Holland) when the teen was vanishing was heart-wrenching for me, and clearly one of the most tearjerking scenes of the feature. As for my nitpick (I really had only one big one), it would be the whole purpose of Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch) not using his time stone. I mean, seriously? He could’ve reversed time and stop Starlord from trying to kick the snot out of Thanos so they could better contain him. Why didn’t he use it!? Heck, why didn’t he use it the entire film? It’s practically the strongest weapon to use against anyone. Take it from Thanos, who used it to take the mind stone from Vision after Scarlet Witch destroyed it (awesome scene, by the way). That was getting to my head quite a bit throughout the rest of the movie, and I can only hope that it is cleared up in the future, aside from them just avoiding it. One other note to make is the after credits scene with Nick Fury. That kinda put me off because I thought he went underground (and became a disheveled man). Why is he driving around in the open with his assistant? I’m glad he’s back, since he’ll be in the fourth “Avengers” installment, but there are questions to be resolved; not only this particular one, but several. Anyways, great show. The stuff with Thanos was exceptional, especially the dream-like scene with him and little Gamora. It was haunting.