Sunday, April 29, 2018

Reviewing Infinity

So you all want to know what I thought of Avengers: Infinity War?  No?  I don't care, I'm telling you anyway.

Just so you know:  I haven't even seen the previous Avengers movies, or Captain America: Civil War.  I tried watching some of Age of Ultron, which I think was the worst reviewed Avengers outing, on Friday night, but couldn't be bothered sticking with it.  (Even my more superhero tolerant son didn't care for it much.)

However, given that I am fine with Marvel as long as it is being funny, and I knew enough to know that the Guardians of the Galaxy crew were involved, as well as the recently humoured up Thor, I was curious enough to go see it and its "shocking" ending.

And yeah, I'm pretty glad that I did.

What I liked:  yes, it does make room for some pretty good humour - the Guardians of the Galaxy were funnier than they were in their second movie, which disappointed me.

Secondly, there's a key role for Dr Strange, who I find an oddly pleasing Marvel character.  I still love the slightly retro sparkly special effects they give him.   He badly needs to be given a second movie of his own.

Third:  there is a sort of gravitas about the ending which is something of an achievement for a silly superhero scenario.

What I didn't like so much:

Did we really have to spend so much time back on the fields of Wakanda?  Look, I'll say it:  I'm finding the overly serious African-English accents and delivery of anyone from that part of the Marvel universe pretentious and annoying.  And the Black Panther costume (or more specifically, the headpiece) still strikes me as silly.   If Thanos had to be offered some place to destroy to placate him, that would be the first I would offer.

Next:  did anyone else get the feeling that the motivation given to Thanos sounded like it could have been pandering to modern, dimwitted conservatives?   I could just imagine some Trump voting idiot thinking "yeah, he's like a pathetic Green Lefty, talking about 'limited resources' and being prepared to kill humans to 'protect the environment' - he's evil, just like all Lefties".   Now, I know that some Bond villains were given a similar "we have to kill to save the planet" motivation back in at least the Roger Moore era, but the difference is that at that time, the Right had not yet gone off the deep end like they have now and taken conspiracy belief so much to heart that they really do think all environmental concern is evil and anti-human.  (In fact, they virtually don't ever believe that the environment is any danger from anything anymore, such is the stupifying power of the culture wars.)   So I am a bit dubious that this motivation was a good idea in the current political climate.

Third:   honestly, the abilities of the Iron Man suits are getting so ridiculous that I find the mystical powers of Dr Strange more credible.

Fourth:  Thanos is a bit of flip flopper between invulnerable one minute and easily vulnerable the next.  He's kind of too, I don't know, flesh and blood in a way.  His sidekick had the psychokinetic powers that I thought he ought to, and overall, I don't find him that impressive as a villain.

But, despite those whinges, I did enjoy most of it and am somewhat curious as to how easy the resolution will be in Avengers 4.  This article at Slate - which you should definitely not read until after seeing the movie - points to the same resolution that is kinda obvious (one of the crystals controls time, so how hard can "resurrection" be?)  It also points towards something I think the movie is hinting at - a comic book storyline had Thanos changing sides.  Seems likely to me, too.

Update:   the movie has made an absurd amount of money - $630 million - in about 5 days of international release.  And it hasn't even opened in China yet.    Truly, Marvel is like a licence to print money for Disney. 

Update 2:   why haven't Marvel settled on doing a Dr Strange sequel?  It was a much better movie than the relatively modest international box office suggests.


not trampis said...

My two sons loved this rubbish and the different ending.

Steve said...

My son liked it too, and kept telling me the next day that he felt depressed about the ending, despite the obvious solution in the next movie.

Jason Soon said...

In the original comics the reason Thanos wanted to kill everyone (not just half of everyone) was because he was in love with the personification of Death who was presented as a woman. This obviously wouldn't have worked in live action cinema and actually sounds kind of silly, hence the Malthusian rationale created for the movie

Steve said...

I see. Death could have just asked for half for her, and half for Life. But anyway, give me a $500,000 writers fee and I suspect I could come up with a better justification than the movie did.