Avengers: Infinity War


The latest Avengers movie, starring…everyone. Heck, you’re probably in it too!

(2018) Superhero (Disney/Marvel) Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Zoe Saldana, Chadwick Boseman, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Brolin, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Holland, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff and a cast of thousands. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

 

This is to date the biggest and most epic Marvel movie ever – until the next untitled Avengers movie, filmed concurrently with this one and scheduled for release in May 2019.

The mad Titan Thanos, seeing that the Universe is dreadfully out of balance, believes that he has a solution that will restore balance: to kill half of the entire population of the universe at random. There’s no practical way to do that so he has to do something that has never been done – he must retrieve all six of the Infinity Stones, gems created by the Big Bang and each with control of a different aspect of the universe – space, time, the mind, the soul, and so on.

Of course, the superheroes all oppose this plan and they come from all over – nearly every Marvel movie preceding this one is represented here from the spacefaring Guardians of the Galaxy to the high tech Black Panther and of course the various and sundry Avengers films. It’s a colossal undertaking and quite frankly I didn’t expect them to pull it off. There are an awful lot of characters here and a lot of them really don’t get much screen time.

Thanos (Brolin) gets a ton of screen time and it’s no joke the best portrayal of a comic book villain since Heath Ledger won an Oscar for playing one. Thanos is truly the Big Bad of the Marvel Universe and while the heroes valiantly take him on, things don’t look too good. It’s an epic tale that is taking two movies to tell.

The action is as you’d expect spectacular and the effects seamless. There are even some poignant moments, most of them occurring in the last twenty minutes of the film. Who knew that Marvel knows pathos? In any case, this is an emotional rollercoaster that every Marvel fan is going to be overjoyed to take – even the usually hard-to-impress fanboys have been singing the praises of this one.

Yes, I realize you’ve probably already seen it and if you haven’t you likely aren’t going to and frankly you’re probably not reading this review in that case. So you’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve already purchased a digital copy (the Blu-Ray and DVD editions were just released) and likely you’ll be getting one of those. This isn’t the best Marvel movie yet but it’s damn close.

REASONS TO GO: Brolin gives a game-changing performance as Thanos. The action is non-stop and without peer. There are some very poignant moments.
REASONS TO STAY: There are too many characters to keep track of.
FAMILY VALUES: There is nearly non-stop sci-fi/superhero action and violence, some crude references and some scenes with disturbing content.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: At the beginning of the film, the distress call from the Asgardian ship is the voice of Kenneth Branagh, the director of the first Thor film.
BEYOND THE THEATERS: Amazon, Fandango Now, Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft, Movies Anywhere, Vudu, YouTube
CRITICAL MASS: As of 8/15/18: Rotten Tomatoes: 83% positive reviews. Metacritic: 68/100.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Captain America: Civil War
FINAL RATING: 8.5/10
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Pick of the Litter – April 2018


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Avengers: Infinity War

(Disney/Marvel) Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin. Summer starts early this year as the traditional first weekend in May Marvel play date has been moved back a year this year as Earth’s mightiest heroes will face their mightiest challenge as the mad Titan Thanos comes a’calling and he has the Infinity Stones firmly in his sights. These gems, which have been making appearances since Phase One of the MCU, are incredibly powerful on their own but when gathered together and placed in the infinity gauntlet they give the wearer virtually unlimited power to re-shape reality in his or her own image. This is the first of a two-part Avengers movie which will bring Phase Three to a close and change the landscape of the MCU permanently and not everyone will survive. April 27

INDEPENDENT PICKS

 

The Endless

(Well Go USA) Callie Hernandez, Emily Montague, James Jordan, Tate Ellington. Two young brothers who escaped a doomsday cult return to the cult’s compound after getting a mysterious message. When they arrive, they discover that there may be something that the cult has discovered that may prove their beliefs not far from the mark. Critics are already comparing it to some of the best horror films of the decade and promising that this one is a game-changer. From the trailer, it appears that the critics could be on to something. April 6

Borg/McEnroe

(Neon) Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Nuvotny. One of the greatest tennis rivalries of all times took place during the 1980s and the two men involved couldn’t have been more different. There’s the passionate, temperamental American John McEnroe and the cool, machine-like Bjorn Borg. Together they dominated men’s tennis in their heyday and their battles with each other were legendary. This will be playing the upcoming Florida Film Festival. April 13

Aardvark

(Great Point) Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Jon Hamm, Sheila Vand. A disturbed man goes to see a psychiatrist about the return of his brother. The two have an abusive relationship but the psychiatrist suspects that the man may be bipolar or have a severe mental illness, especially when she meets the brother who proves to be much different than her patient described him. However, as the tales grow more and more wild she begins to wonder if maybe there is something much stranger happening to her. April 13

The Devil and Father Amorth

(The Orchard) William Friedkin, Gabrielle Amorth. The claim to fame of William Friedkin was that he directed the classic horror movie The Exorcist. However, he hadn’t ever seen an actual exorcism being performed – until now. This is, incredibly, not a narrative film – it’s a documentary.  April 20

Ghost Stories

(IFC Midnight) Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther. The promotional material claims that this is the best British horror film in years and it just might be. A debunker of paranormal phenomenon is presented with three cases that nobody has been able to disprove; the deeper he investigates, the more the cases begin to be connected – to him. April is turning out to be a great month for horror movies this year. April 20

Disobedience

(Bleecker Street) Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Anton Lesser. A woman, exiled from the conservative Jewish community that she grew up in after a sexual transgression, returns to mourn her father who had just passed away. The same patterns and passions that ignited the ire of the community smolder in her once again as the past looks ready to be repeated once more. April 27

The Gospel According to André

(Magnolia) André Leon Talley, Whoopie Goldberg, Anna Wintour, Tom Ford. Perhaps the most unlikely fashion icon ever, Talley went from humble beginnings in the segregated American South to the runways of Paris and Milan. One of the more quotable designers, his sense of style has informed not only the Fashionista community but also the African-American community as well. Not bad for a tall, gay African-American man from the South. April 27

The House of Tomorrow

(Shout Factory) Asa Butterfield, Alex Wolff, Nick Offerman, Ellen Burstyn. A high school boy lives a sheltered life with his great-aunt and legal guardian in Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome house, the House of Tomorrow. When he meets another young man with a heart condition and a love for punk rock which he shares with geodesic dome boy, both of their lives will be changed forever. April 27