Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Review: "Avengers: Infinity War" is the Marvel Movie Maximized

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 6 (of 2018) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Running time:  149 minutes (2 hours, 29 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references
DIRECTORS:  Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
WRITERS:  Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (based upon the comic book created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
PRODUCER: Kevin Feige
EDITORS:  Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt
COMPOSER:  Alan Silvestri


Starring:  Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Dave Bautista, Benecio del Toro, Stan Lee, Bradley Cooper (voice), Vin Diesel (voice), Kerry Condon (voice), and Letitia Wright ( with Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders)

Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 superhero movie directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and produced by Marvel Studios. The film is based on the Avengers comic book created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  This is also the 19th film in Marvel Studios' “Marvel Cinematic Universe.”  Avengers: Infinity War finds “Earth's Mightest Heroes” and their allies attempting to defeat the powerful Thanos before he puts an end to the universe.

Avengers: Infinity War opens after the destruction of Asgard, the home of the Avenger, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who is also the King of Asgard.  Thor is powerless to stop the destroyer of his home, Thanos (Josh Brolin), an intergalactic despot from the planet, Titan

Thanos is on a quest to collect all of six Infinity Stones and attach them to a gauntlet (glove) on his left hand.  When he has all six of the stones, he can use their combined power to impose his will on all of reality, and Thanos plans on “re-balancing” the universe by killing half the beings in the universe.  Thanos now has the “Space Stone” and the “Power Stone.”

Thanos sends his forces to Earth to find the “Time Stone,” which is in the possession of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the “Mind Stone,” which is connected to the Avenger known as “The Vision” (Paul Bettany).  Thanos travels through space to collect the other two stones, the “Reality Stone,” which is in the possession of The Collector (Benecio del Toro) and the “Soul Stone,” the whereabouts of which is known by someone close to Thanos.

In space, Thor finds allies in The Guardians of the Galaxy: Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Drax (Dave Bautista), Teen Groot (voice of Vin Diesel), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) to battle Thanos.  They are joined by Gamora's sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), and a small band of heroes from Earth:  Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Doctor Strange, but are they enough to stop Thanos who becomes more powerful with each stone he is able to obtain?

On Earth, Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) fight the forces of Thanos to protect The Vision's “Mind Stone.”  It is a battle that will take them deep into Africa to the mysterious country of Wakanda.  There, that nation's king, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and his countrymen will join the Avengers in a battle that will bring a mad Titan to Earth.

I love Avengers: Infinity War, and there is so much to love.  I find myself describing it as “Awesome!”  That is a word I do not use very often; in fact, I don't like it.  However, I saw Avengers: Infinity War, and it made me wanna holler, and I hollered “Awesome!”

I think the element that makes this film so good is that directors, the Russo Bros., and the screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, make Thanos a well-rounded character, one of pathos and depth that makes him more than a cartoonish intergalactic despot and world-beater slash world-destroyer.  I think the directors and writers succeed in making Thanos matter because they give him more than motivation; they give him something to lose.  Josh Brolin, an underrated actor, performs Thanos via motion-capture because Thanos is a computer-generated character, but Brolin turns Thanos into a fully realized character makes the computer-rendering used to create him easy to ignore.

Another surprise is Spider-Man and the rising star playing him, Tom Holland.  To me, the best version of Spider-Man is the high school version of him and the boy who wears the Spider-Man mask, Peter Parker.  Holland conveys such freshness and youth; even when he is performing Spider-Man as a voice actor, when the character is computer-generated, the newness comes through.  Like Brolin does with Thanos, Holland makes Spider-Man a fully-realized character, but in this case, Holland creates a lovable, endearing character that might be the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

For me, Avengers: Infinity War is the best Marvel Studios movie after Black Panther.  This movie is brand maximization, of course, the height of what Marvel Studios offers movie audiences, and that is just fine.  The Infinity War filmmakers worked hard, as have previous Marvel filmmakers, to deliver hugely entertaining films.  Besides, Infinity War is its own thing, without having to serve the stories of previous Marvel Studios films.  For movie audience who have come to expect the very best out of Marvel, I can simply say that Avengers: Infinity War is the very best of Marvel Studios.

9 of 10

Sunday, April 29, 2018

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