Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Review: Avengers - Infinity War (third-pass)

Avengers: Infinity War (2D / third-pass / SPOILERS)
Cert: 12A / 149 mins / Dir. Joe Russo & Anthony Russo / Trailer

Well, I didn't think I'd be making comparative references against the third Avengers get-together until at least this time next year, but a conversation at the weekend raised the point that for the more, ahem, civilian viewer, there are two superhero movies out at the moment. Inevitably, some casual cinema-goers are going to be standing in the foyer deciding which one they want to watch*1.

Because for a lot of people, the choice will be between a pair of Marvel flicks starring a partially-CGI'd Josh Brolin as a bad-ass with a time-slider*2. But that's not really an accurate comparison, is it? Or is it? Infinity War and Deadpool 2 are very different products, albeit for partly the same audience*3. The merc-with-the=mouth has come armed with the fuckbombs, but it's Earth's Mightiest Heroes who carry the weightier story.

And yet in the weeks since my first two passes, I'd forgotten how funny Infinity War is, especially given its consistently escalating death-toll. Although obviously it's very different from that other movie, tonally. Avengers' humour is very much the Private Eye to Deadpool's Viz. Both are great institutions which can't replace each other, and don't try.

So, watching Infinity War again after a few weeks, I'm pretty much of the opinion that any deaths which occurred before the Infinity Gauntlet was fully operational (only four, remember) will be permanent. The amount of build-up, screen-time or dramatic weight allocated to each one seems fairly irreversible, and the film's legacy would be cheapened if these characters managed to find themselves magically resurrected by the end of Avengers 4

Conversely, the casting-losses which occur once Thanos snaps his fingers (the other twelve*4) are, to put it mildly, suspiciously rapid given their narrative stature. The heroes that flutter out of existence leave behind an intriguingly-thinned (and deliberately 'classic') team for next May's concluding chapter, but the ultimate resolution lies in the knowledge that Spider-Man 2, Black Panther 2 and Guardians 3 have already been commissioned.

But hey, I've previously joined the chorus bemoaning Marvel's reluctance to apply a little consequence to their continuity, and it's still by no means certain who will survive into Phase 4. At a rate of three cinematic entries a year, the MCU is now dense enough to give classic heroes the rest they've earned, while still maintaining forward momentum. Maybe, as a man from another galaxy once said, "it's time to let old things die".

Because we all know this isn't the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning...*5

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Avengers films.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
it is.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
It is.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
2019 will tell, I guess.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
Not likely, since you'll love it as well. Right?.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is, layered in when Ebony Maw goes for a space-walk.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Mace Windu is in this.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And of course that's perhaps not the way things should work. But let's not forget I sat in a Saturday night screening of A Ghost Story and watched people walk out mid-way, almost certain that they'd made their choice on a whim since Annabelle: Creation was playing two screens down and was likely the choice on the other side of their coin. Not all moviegoers are as disciplined or as informed as us, dear reader. And that's why I'm here; to help. Or maybe to lecture. Either/or. Okay, it's probably the second one. [ BACK ]

*2 Okay, Thanos-related plot question. When Thor is on the Milano, he tells the Guardians that Thanos "stole the stone and slaughtered half my people". So... where are the survivors, exactly? Because everyone on-screen looked pretty much floaty-in-space-dead to me, the Asgardian ship looked completely mullered, and the Guardians of The Galaxy (the only responders to the distress-call) didn't pick up anyone else from the wreckage.
It had previously struck me that there's not much of a big deal made of Thor being the last Asgardian now, especially as the whole point of Ragnarok was that the refugees fleeing the planet were the symbol of endurance and hope. But yeah, maybe half of that film's survivors are pootling off on the B-Ark somewhere, right? [ BACK ]

*3 For the record, there are currently Deadpool 2 cup-toppers on sale in the foyer. I expect that for the 12A certificate hero-flicks aimed at family audiences, but this is a hard 15. T-shirts absolutely, popcorn buckets at a push, but cup-toppers? Maybe it's meant to be ironic. Although I'm pretty sure the money that Fox are making from the products looks the same either way...
[ BACK ]

*4 Yes, of course I made a list. And no, I'm not going to reproduce it here. I know I marked the review 'spoilers' but I'm not a complete animal... [ BACK ]

*5 Yeah, I went there. I'll be wearing a plastic Union Jack bowler hat and writing angry letters to local newspapers, next. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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