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‘Infinity War’ is the best so far of the ‘Avengers’ movies

This image released by Marvel Studios shows, front row from left, Danai Gurira, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson and Sebastian Stan in a scene from "Avengers: Infinity War," premiering on April 27. AP

Avengers: Infinity War (Rated T)

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Josh Brolin

Genre: Action-Adventure/ Fantasy

Dwight’s rating:  Good  

Good for you! You still haven’t seen “Avengers: Infinity War”, but you’re definitely interested. Yet you’ve managed to avoid hearing anything specific about it, and haven’t encountered all the spoilers.

That’s practically a miracle. It is clear there are many forces working very hard to spoil that movie for everyone who didn’t see it on premiere day (or even sneak preview night, the day before)!

Everywhere you turn folks on social media and blogs are discussing it and detailing critical plot information. One piece I saw online warned that there were indeed spoilers in the article. Usually that means that somewhere in the body of the story there’d be some plot lines discussed in depth. Instead, right there in the first sentence, all was revealed. Thankfully, I’d already seen the picture.

That everyone seems to be talking about “Infinity War” is not surprising, given it had the biggest opening weekend in film history — in the United States, Canada and worldwide.

That success, too, was not entirely unexpected, as the film is stuffed to the gills with one of the largest casts of A-list actors in recent memory, featuring almost every single Marvel character ever created, including many of whom few have ever heard.

Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, Beetle Boy (okay, that one’s made up — or is he?) and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet – the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

It almost makes no sense reviewing this movie. It’s on track to become the biggest film of the year, if not of all time. That alone will compel people to watch it, even if they haven’t seen anything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in years or ever. It’s essentially critic-proof.

Nevertheless, there are some things that need to be said.

I haven’t particularly enjoyed any of the “Avengers”-branded movies — not 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” or the original “The Avengers” of 2012. They’ve always felt over-stuffed, overly loud, overly destructive and over the top! For some reason, they’ve also felt far more ridiculous than the “Captain America” movies, especially 2016’s “Civil War” and 2014’s “The Winter Soldier”, even though they feature many of the same characters and actors.

That said, “Infinity War” is the best so far of the “Avengers” movies. Again, everybody’s here! All your favorites, including Chadwick Bosema, from this year’s “Black Panther” — currently the highest grossing film of the year so far, and still the very best film of this genre ever in history — far superior in ever way to “Infinity War”.

In fact, “Infinity War” scenes featuring T’Challa and co. are so lackluster that those few who haven’t seen “Black Panther” might not be inspired to see that revelatory achievement in action/adventure cinema. Don’t judge that masterpiece by these brief moments in this new and quite busy movie, however.

Some of the other Marvel characters fare better here though. Scenes with the motley crew from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” are light, breezy and fun. So, too, are those with the always amusing Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Bruce Banner (Hulk).

But you may find yourself being put to sleep when some other Avengers appear. Like seriously, Vision and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch? You’ll need to have Google handy to remember when you last met these folks? Wasn’t Wanda one of those “X-Men” mutant things? No? Really? Wow! I could have sworn! Whatever!

Thankfully, chief villain Thanos is much more developed, nuanced and complex than most of those we’ve seen in comic-book superhero movies. That goes a long way to making this picture watchable and enjoyable. Thanos looks a lot like Bruce Willis, but the digitally computer-animated character is actually portrayed by Josh Brolin.

If you can, try to watch “Infinity War” in theaters. Seeing it with a crowd presents a unique and enhanced experience, particularly if you’re with an always-colorful Bahamian audience. Between the odd cheers when certain characters appear for the first time, the moans when certain things happen on screen, and the grumblings from nerdy fan boys when things apparently don’t go according to the comics, there’s hardly a dull moment in the theater.

But there is a giant elephant in that theater. By the end of the nearly two-and-a-half hour production, you may find yourself feeling manipulated. I’m trying hard not to present any spoilers here, but it seems quite possible this movie is insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

It would not be unreasonable to expect that almost everything that happens will likely be reversed in the future without any serious consequences. Most are aware there is another “Avengers” film slated for 2019, and this one closes with the ultimate cliffhanger.

Honestly, I’m actually hoping that at least some things remain permanent outcomes; that would certainly make things a heckuva lot more very interesting.

But this is yet another example of the disturbing “televisionization” of the film industry. At this rate, we’ll soon hear an announcer at the start of movies say, “Previously on blah blah blah…” followed by “Next time on blah blah blah” at the end.

When was the last time a movie had an actual conclusion? Almost everything leaves you wondering when next you’d have to return to see what really happened to characters. That’s disturbing. But it doesn’t seem there’s an end in sight to this phenomenon, especially with films like this breaking records every year.

So, get used to finding creative ways to avoid those spoilers!

 

  • Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email dwight@nasguard.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.

 

 

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