Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


 Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange) 
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018). Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo.

A dangerous cosmic entity known as Thanos (Josh Brolin, in a computer-generated performance) wants possession of several powerful rings so that he can remake the universe the way he wants to, and eliminate half of the population -- and although he is opposed by a great many heroes, including the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, he essentially succeeds (until the sequel, of course). Aside from a few dull stretches, Avengers: Infinity War is not boring and mercifully moves at a fast pace, although I can't imagine how people who are not "Marvel fans" and have not seen all of the Marvel movies might get into this. As others have noted, not a single character is ever actually introduced to the viewer. (Fortunately, being a long-time comics fan, I knew who most of these people were, or were supposed to be.) The movie is a noisy amalgamation of cute quips uttered by characters (ostensibly so they can keep up their courage), serious moments that are touching for twelve-year-olds, and lots of explosions and flying bodies. The film has been widely overpraised by people who, I suspect, read nothing but comic books and only see comic book movies, having no other frame of reference. As noted, I am a big super-hero fan, and know that comics are not always juvenile and mindless, but I don't confuse them with Shakespeare or Citizen Kane, either. That being said, AIW has some great art direction and striking cinematography, and action scenes that often seem more cluttered and busy than especially effective. The "human" drama in this -- if you can call it that -- has to do with the love story of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, as well as the love-hate relationship between Thanos and his "daughter," Gamora (Zoe Saldana, giving a very good performance). One could add that Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) has trouble turning into the CGI Hulk, although there seems little point to this (aside from Ruffalo perhaps wanting his actual face to be seen more in the movie). There are interesting things in the picture, but this notion that it is the "culmination" of every other Marvel super-hero movie is ridiculous. Personally, I have never found Thanos to be a very interesting villain, even in this, and have always thought he was just a pale imitation of Jack Kirby's Darkseid, who should be showing up in a DC Universe movie any year now. With the exception of X-Men: Apocalypse and Logan, I think Marvel's X-Men films are much better than the Avengers series.

Verdict: A lot of sound and fury signifying very little, but some fun for the inner geek. **1/4. 


angelman66 said...

I wish I liked these movies more, Bill. I can see how much fun and camaraderie the cast has making them, and they are often witty and fun, but these comic strip films have a hard time keeping my attention, and I am not a huge fan of CGI and special effects. But it has been a while since I saw one of them, so maybe I will give this one a whirl.

William said...

The early X-Men movies are better. Less characters so each gets more attention; better story lines; some sub-text regarding prejudice. The Avengers movies are mostly just big and noisy and definitely not recommended for anyone who's not a big super-hero fan.