MARC’S REVIEW – Avengers: Infinity War

“Avengers: Infinity War” is a really FAT movie. Like ORCA FAT (thank you Keyser Soze), because it is chock full of so much to see. If this equated to gorging on junk food, after two hours and forty minutes, I would have a diabetic cardiac arrest and stroke immediately following the credits. Is this a film that is worth that handicap, however? You bet it is.

I know I’m redundant, but with all the best Marvel movies over the last 10 years, when there is an ensemble of top Hollywood talent portraying a huge cast of characters, once again, another installment has surfaced in the franchise that allows all of them with various moments to shine. (Yup, I’m using those words again, for maybe the fifth or sixth time.) Producer Kevin Feige with all of Disney’s support, has mastered the formula to ensemble casting and production, as good as when George Clooney and company performed under Steven Soderbergh’s direction in the “Ocean’s 11” remake. Thousands of special effects shots do not overpower the stage presence of the actors. The Marvel movies succeed because a story is always written first. Then witty dialogue comes thereafter, and then valid, convincing shock value. The special effects are the final ingredient. This is what the “Transformers” franchise and (yes, I’ll even own up to it) the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy (about ¾ of it) failed to achieve. This successful formula gives merit to the biggest opening weekend of all time, worldwide, and “Avengers: Infinity War” deserves it all.

How good is it? Well, going back to May, 1980, when sitting in a crowded theatre watching the ending to “The Empire Strikes Back,” I think audiences have finally been served up a cliffhanger (10 years in the making) that is just as effective. How is this all going to wrap up from here? How is this all going to be resolved? Reader, I don’t know if the next chapter will be satisfying. I don’t know if we will feel cheated like Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s “Misery.” Presently, however, I’m turning an ending like this over in my mind; the same way I did with my pals in 1980 debating the survival ratio of Han Solo and if Darth Vader has told the truth, and if that was Vader’s brain or head that I saw, and who is this “another” that Yoda referred to….and that, my friends, is what makes a spectacular film. I don’t care if it gets watered down in the hype and McDonald’s promotions and toys. If you can mull over a movie long after it has ended, for days, even months and years, then a film like “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Avengers: Infinity War” has more than served its purpose.

Josh Brolin provides a villain with a justification to his madness. He’s not just twirling his mustache to be mischievous and sinister. He has a destiny to fulfill and his portrayal of the mad titan Thanos does not compromise. This is a beast of a purple villain with size 52 boots and gold plated armor with a chin that looks like it was clawed by Wolverine that cries, actually cries, while committing his crimes. He’s not just cackling. He flat out says that he executes his actions all so that he can relax and retire. Nothing wrong with that. Isn’t that what we are all trying to do, anyway?

All of the other actors from main staple Robert Downey Jr, to Chris Pratt to Chadwick Boseman to Zoe Saldana and Chris Hemsworth, and so on, remain consistent to what we’ve seen of various prior installments. Their gimmicks continue to avoid becoming stale. Audience applause is cued by their appearances. These are well loved characters.

As an avid comic book reader of the silver age (1980s), “Avengers: Infinity War” presents itself as of one those annual limited series runs that were special because they were MAIN EVENTS!!!! My favorite back then was “Marvel’s Secret Wars.” Typically, a comic book from the 1980s would average about 18-22 pages with advertisements sprinkled in. Nearly every scene in this film equates to one issue of a limited run of a main event. That is a why a fat movie like this succeeds. The cast of characters are separated in various story lines. The scenes are given their time to flesh out and develop to move the subplots and overall story along. Each scene is like reading a new 18 page issue comic book. If I’m watching a comic book film, by golly, I want to see how a comic book is brought to life in a cinematic medium. Marvel’s films succeed greatly over DC’s films (produced by Warner Bros) because they rely on the source material. They know they got the goods. Cast it right, adapt it properly and go with that. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A wealth of material (nearly 70 years) and Marvel/Disney uses it all. (How does DC/Warner Bros miss the mark so often?)

Of the three “Avengers” films, “Infinity War” is definitely the best one. Ironically, I wasn’t expecting it to be. I was waiting for this stuff to get old and tiring. It just hasn’t faltered yet. It hasn’t gotten lazy yet. It all seems so fresh still. It’s a fantastic cinematic accomplishment. Sure, its main story is a guy chasing down six different MacGuffins. So what! It’s simple. So it allows the characters to stand out from there. It doesn’t take a whole lot to explain its purpose. It states its conflict early on, and then the show stopping moments present themselves. One after the other after the other until a monster of an ending that is jaw dropping, head shaking, thrilling and gasping, satisfyingly arrives.

“Avengers: Infinity War” ended up in my top 10 list by of 2018.

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