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MOVIE REVIEW: Marvel Studios Raises the Bar by Going to INFINITY WAR and Beyond in Third Chapter AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

I’m not sure if it’s Sebastian Stan checking out my butt or Scarlett Johansson checking the Thermometer, but it seems like the Outlaw just raised the temperature in here.

 

(NOTE: This review is certified SPOILER-FREE FRESH!)

Who would’ve ever imagined that us superhero geeks (who were so BEFORE it was cool), would be witnessing the largest conglomeration of household Marvel heroes ever seen on the screen on the same time. (Granted, Marvel Studios has helped raise a few unfamiliar titles into some their most recognized.) Of course, who could have foretold that one day, actual human beings who live in reality – although it could be argued otherwise – would steal the blood of Marvel legend Stan Lee, and use it to sign his comic books for eventual sale on the open market, but here we are.

Don’t let your common sense deceive you as both of the above news stories are true; the former being the happier and less creepy of the two. Probably the most astonishing feat of Marvel’s ultimate superhero movie mash-up, is the prolific role call of A-Listers they were able to cram into one movie without going into a debt that would make the U.S. Treasury point and laugh uncontrollably. No, thanks to wittiness of Marvel and their long-term game plan, the studio used their Spider-Sense to sign top notch actors such as Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth to multi-movie deals. Other than saving money on “Chris” name tags, they had the vision to see they wanted the audience to relate to the characters over a multi-year multi-movie time frame, as that would make the entire journey the most satisfying.

 

From last-ditch startup to Disney subsidiary in 10 years flat ain’t too shabby.

 

The question becomes, did the long-game pan out? Did Marvel Studios leader Kevin Feige’s goal of creating an 18-film story arc over a 10 year span deliver the goods in what is the most epic clash of leotard wearing comic book personalities the world has ever seen on the big screen. Well instead of waxing on unpoetically for roughly another decade with this post, I will relinquish my thoughts on what may be Marvel’s ultimate masterpiece. So without further haste…

 

ASSEMBLED AND READY TO GO

Sensory Overload Has Never Felt This Good:
If you want Superheroes, Infinity War’s got them in spades. Not only do they have them, but they are also all utilized with great balance, to steal a quote from the film’s big purple antagonist. WARNING: Seeing so many superheroes use their powers on screen simultaneously for almost a three-hour period could cause wetting of undergarments and loss of saliva containment.

 

And this isn’t even the half of it.

 

Lots of Characters but Lots of Heart:
With so many fine actors vying for screen time amidst a non-stop plethora of action, one could be worried that Infinity War lacked any emotional depth to round out its action filled edges. Worry not fellow Outlaws, to my surprise there were more than a few heart-string tugging moments from a few unexpected sources.

 

Everyone’s on a Role:

Not to kick a dead secondary character, but with the vast amount of heroes on display, it would have been very easy to have just one or two key players steal the heroic spotlight while the other 400 of them shoot guns in the background. And while yes, many of our heroes do spend most of their screen time firing off what seems to be an unlimited amount of ammo (and they do so quite well might I add), many of the headliners play their own unique role in advancing the story from point A to B. When you take a step back to view it all, it’s quite the amazing and wonderful web that was weaved. Spidey pun intended.

 

Laughs to Infinity and Beyond
Another staple of Marvel’s magic movie recipe is that of well-placed a humor. Outside of a few misfires, Marvel’s timing in the comedic department is among the best in the business. That being said, the studios raised their level another notch by adding a near perfect balance of humor to counter the emotionally heavier moments. And when they did swing, they knocked it out of the park. In my own humble Chris Pratt worshiping opinion, a good majority of the films humor fell with the Guardians of the Galaxy; more specifically Star-Lord. Regardless of character biases however, it’s safe to say, geeks and nerds will be repeating Infinity Wars lines for years to come, or until the next Marvel flick comes out.

 

Visually Stunning:
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer as Marvel Studios has never disappointed in the effects department. One gets to a point where people just expect great things, and minus a few odd looking moments, Infinity War did not disappoint. My measuring stick has always been, you know a film’s visuals effects are top notch when they are so good they don’t drag you out of the story. Speaking of, if you can scrounge up enough money between the cushions or by selling your vital organs, I highly recommend a ticket in IMAX (2D or 3D). Seeing as this is the first movie to be shot entirely with an IMAX camera (and new one at that!), I wholeheartedly recommend you go for the upgrade just this once. Even if your disappointed in the ultimate showdown, your eyes won’t be disappointed with the view.

 

Eyeballs, tingling.

 

Music Makes the Movie:
Should you be a longtime Outlaw reader, you know already the heavy emphasis a musical score can have on the outcome of a blockbuster motion picture. An unmemorable one isn’t quite damaging, but a great one can strengthen audiences connection to a film above and beyond the status quo. The original Avengers film never really sank in with me, but three films and a few different composers later, Marvel has righted the ship. Moviegoers are treated to a little blast from the past thanks to Mr. Back the Future himself, Alan Silvestri. His ‘heavy’ lifting gave new life to the Avengers main theme.

 

The Villain We’ve All Been Waiting For:
On a critical level, one of the big chinks in Marvel Studios armor has been their weak antagonists. Although I personally have never found this to be an issue, many have. Keeping with that argument however, I would dare argue Marvel mustered up their best baddie in the form of Thanos. The big purple oaf may want to wipe out half of all-life in the universe, but all he really wants to do is take long walks on the beach and watch beautiful sunsets… literally. He just likes doing it by himself. (Ok Marvel, the sunset thing might be a bridge to far, but we all have our quirks, right?) Regardless, the Barney colored cosmic conspirator is no lightweight, and he he’ll stop at nothing to witness the sun lower behind the horizon, alone.

 

Nobody holds my hand during a romantic sunset but me!

 

 

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED:

No Time to Catch Your Breath:
Avengers Infinity War Moves Fast. Dare I say, too fast? Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some action. On the other hand, I also enjoy breathing. Of almost every movie I’ve ever seen, let alone a Marvel movie, the Infinity War is set to a pace of non-stop action and chaotic character interaction for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Given the immense amount of characters and subplots occurring, I understand the need. If anything, the film pulls it off pretty dame well considering I did reach to look at the watch that I haven’t worn on my wrist in over ten years. It’s just more a of personal preference thing. Most likely, I’m just getting old.

 

Characters on the Cutting Room Floor:
As briefly mentioned above on several occasions, there were a significant quantity of characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe on display, sadly, they weren’t all there. I’ll let my astute fellow Outlaws figure it out for themselves, but I will say one of them even had their own movies. Another related disappointment I had in relation to this topic has to do with the fact not all the heroes are in any one scene together for an ultimate battle of epic proportions. There are two fairly significant groups which accumulate by film’s end, but I guess I had my hopes set on seeing everyone in on the fight. Alas, I also realize Marvel wants to get our butts in seats for the yet untitled Avengers 4.

 

If I didn’t know any better, I’d of guessed someone poured water on the first batch.

 

The Ending:
As much as I hate using acronyms, WTF? If I had one non-acronymic word to describe the last few minutes of Infinity War, it would be; unexpected. Last I read (and yes, I can still do that when needed), Avengers 4 wasn’t necessarily a “Part II” as it had been described when it was originally announced. Whether or not that explanation was changed to throw everyone off, all I know is this ending to me is a cliffhanger in every meaning of the word. I won’t say any more than that. On second thought, don’t mind if I do. Make sure you stay for the post credit scene at the very end of the credits. And I mean very end. It won’t provide any closure, but it will hint that this story is not over yet.

 

The post-credit scene everyone was truly hoping for.

 

Like I even need to write a wrap-up, as you can probably conclude from my written sentiments hovering directly overhead, Avengers Infinity War is indeed the epic clash most of us were expecting, with a few caveats. Marvel has set the stage for a transition to their true second phase, but there will need to be one more Avengers flick before all that can happen. Were there some niggling issues? Does the Pope wear white? As much as I love most of Marvel’s flicks, there are very few that I consider perfect (with the possible exception of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1.) Nevertheless, there is nothing that even comes close to the sheer scale the Russo Brother directing team have achieved with this film. Hell, whether you like comic book characters or not, it’s worth the price of admission just to marvel (see what I did there) at all of Marvel’s iconic creations on one glorious 40-foot screen. Infinity War may not be the conclusive chapter to Marvel Studios epic 10-year big screen story-arc, but it’s one hell of a beginning to an end.

 

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