Review: Avengers: Infinity War

After ten years, three phases, 18 films, an estimated $14B in box office revenue worldwide, it has ALL. LEAD. TO. THIS!!! 

infinitywar

Image by Marvel Studios

From the opening moments of Avengers: Infinity War, the Mad Titan Thanos makes his presence felt after working behind the scenes to instigate his grand design for years. With the Infinity Gauntlet in his possession and the Black Order at his side, Thanos blazes a trail of death and destruction across the cosmos to lay claim to the Six Infinity Stones.

Thanos is on a crusade rooted in his sick and savage sense of morality. His mission: to bring balance to the universe by reducing the population of the entire universe in half and with all six Infinity Stones, he can accomplish that with tremendous ease. His Black Order sets out into the universe to retrieve Thanos’ prizes and orders them to let nothing and no one stand in their way.

The threat of the Mad Titan’s ambitions is enough to spur The Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers into action because of their personal ties to Thanos and his goal. The question is, can Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the universe’s best band of outlaws work fast enough to stop him from achieving his dark dream?

Suffice to say, Avengers: Infinity War eviscerated my soul! If you have been on this ride that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the beginning, you can tell yourself that you are ready for this movie all you want! Nothing can prepare you for the triumphs, tragedies and the unrelenting trauma that this movie will put you through and when you come out, when you come home, you come home completely numb!

The Russo Brothers embraced the challenge of assembling all of the major players of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and pitting them against this unstoppable force that is Josh Brolin’s Thanos. The Russos, alongside writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, weaved and blended together all of the distinct themes and elements from all of the Marvel movies leading up to this and brought them to a crescendo so devastating and beautiful, it would be practically a sin to look away from.

The galaxy of stars in the MCU, shined no matter the time they had on screen. At this point, there is nothing but love for Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Sean Gunn, the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Gwyneth Paltrow, William Hurt, Benedict Wong, Benecio Del Toro, Winston Duke, Jacob Batalon, Colbie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson for the marks they left on the movies leading up to this. Newcomers such as Peter Dinklage, Carrie Coon, Michael James Shaw, Terry Notary, Tom Vaughn-Lawlor, were all cool but Brolin stole the show as Thanos; heck, the way the Joe and Anthony Russo set up Avengers: Infinity War? It was practically Thanos’ movie from the jump!

Alan Silvestri’s score was elevated to new heights, Trent Opaloch’s cinematography was stellar, Jeffery Ford and Matthew Schmidt’s editing was excellent, Charles Wood’s production design was fantastic, the art direction was beautiful, the set decoration by Leslie Pope was practically flawless, Judianna Makovsky’s costumes were also practically flawless, the make-up and visual effects make up the best I’ve seen so far this year; all of the discipline and dedication that it took to make the film that brings the Phase Three to a heart-stopping climax, it could be felt.

It is going to take some time to recover from the fallout that was Avengers: Infinity War. You feel so much watching it and when it is done, it’s like you can’t feel anything at all. I can’t remember any movie ever having that effect me. Ever!

Advertisements

Movie of the Week: Avengers: Infinity War

There was an idea. This idea may have sounded unfathomable upon its initial stages but now that it has reached its zenith, the culmination of this idea is poised to change the world as we know it. This idea involved assembling not only remarkable characters but the universes they hail from and pit them against a force of evil so titanic, the universe will tremble when they clash! It has taken a decade in the making but the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s finest hour is upon us! The Avengers have fought against gods, machines and each other in the past but the Mad Titan is ready to strike in Avengers: Infinity War.

Directed by: The Russo Brothers

Written by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Starring: Let’s just save ourselves the time and just say “everyone!

What am I expecting to see?: The superhero movie to end all superhero movies! This movie is the culmination of a decade of creativity, dedication, conviction and pure fantasy. I’ve been on the ride that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the beginning since Iron Man dropped and the MCU has had their share of highs and lows but if I were to say that I was ready for what’s coming, would be a lie because I have no idea what’s coming, there is a galaxy of stars in this movie with excellent storytellers behind it and I’m oozing excitement. Avengers: Infinity War is my most anticipated film of the year and my expectations could not be higher!

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Go to War With The Mad Titan!

Everything we know, thought we knew and will know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Avenger’s Initiative, has led to this! For the longest time, a figure has operated in the shadows of the universe, moving in secret to collect the instruments needed to plunge all of creation into darkness. This figure is ready to emerge from behind the scenes at a critically precise moment. The Mad Titan Thanos arrives on Earth to gather the remains of the Infinity Stones and it will take the full force of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to drive him and his dark ambitions back but can they assemble after the Civil War over the Sokovia Accords tore them apart? The trailer for Avengers: Infinity War teases a collision course of galactic proportions!

A galaxy of stars assemble in the Russo Brother’s epic close to Phase Three of the MCU. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, and Josh Brolin and so many more to name. The Infinity War begins on May 4, 2018.

Review: Detroit

Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s newest picture, or should I dub it a docudrama, is a hard-hitting take on the events that transpired in the Motor City in 1967. Detroit follows the individuals and actions that lead to the horrible shootout that took place at the Algiers Motel, where the police shot and killed three African-American boys suspected of firing shots at National Guardsman and the aftermath of their actions.

detroit_xlg

Image by Annapurna Pictures

Detroit is a culmination of three subplots carried by a security guard named Melvin Dismukes, a Detroit police officer named Krauss and an aspiring Motown lead singer named Larry and his friend Fred. Each of them are eventually drawn to the Algiers where bedlam, fear and senseless violence take place after the police arrive and take drastic and dangerous steps to determine who fired the suspected gun.

Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have worked together to deliver two of the hardest hitting dramas echoing current cultural and societal issues. Detroit is no exception to the standard as it definitely packs an impact upon viewing it, but unlike The Hurt Locker and unlike Zero Dark Thirty, I found Detroit a mess.

I couldn’t get past the constant shaky Steadicam work. The cinematography of Barry Ackroyd was very unsteady to watch; I get that Bigelow wanted to go for authenticity and I respect for that but the camerawork was so over the top, I couldn’t find a way to settle.

I also found flaws in how this was written. Mark Boal is talented but I can’t help but think that he may have overdone it; especially after the film concluded and Bigelow wrote in a statement stating that a lot of the information about the events of this movie was incomplete. I understand how filmmakers can take certain liberties to enhance the appeal of a film, especially if they are based on true events but it just raises the questions how much of this film was influenced by the modern day news stories about black men killed by police for little to no reason at all.

Also I found that the script left some things unresolved by some of their characters like Dismukes, Krauss, Greene and whoever else was involved in this ordeal and managed to survive; this movie, felt incomplete primarily because of how it was written.

Bigelow made her intentions clear in Detroit and I can definitely see why she was drawn to make this movie; the problems relating to race and police violence are just as relevant and important today as they were back then and the system has not made a difference. The problem is that this film has problems and those problems dragged this film down; the writing muddles the impact and the camerawork hinders the editing of William Goldenberg and Harry Yoon, which felt very sloppy transitioning between Dismukes, Krauss, Larry and the guests at the hotel for a while.

What I can’t say is that the cast and the acting were not a problem. John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Anthony Mackie, Nathan Davis Jr., Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever and Jason Mitchell all do a fine job with their roles.

James Newton Howard’s music was fine, Jeremy Hindle’s production design was bold, the set decoration by Dennis Colvin and Kathy Lucas was sharp, the art direction by Greg Barry and Jim Wallis was good, the make-up and sound effects was top notch and the costume design by Francine Jamison-Tanchuck was very precise.

There were times where I tried to force myself to pay attention to this movie and that has never happened to me before with a Kathryn Bigelow movie. Detroit is an impactful film, it is, and it is worth seeing because it has relevance but it also has problems that are difficult to ignore and ultimately, it is disappointing.

Movie of the Week: Detroit

The tandem of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal have delivered compelling cinema over the past few years. The Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker was an intense examination of how war can be addictive to man. Zero Dark Thirty was a relentless depiction on the manhunt for the world’s most infamous terrorist and now the two are ready to take audiences back in time to one of the most recent darkest chapters in American history. In 1967, one of America’s most prominent cities was ready to explode due to racial tensions and hostilities toward the police and the incidents which occurred at the Algiers Motel, may as well lit the fuse on those tensions. It’s time to go to Detroit.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Screenwriter: Mark Boal

Starring: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Jason Mitchell, Jack Reynor, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Jacob Lattimore, John Krasinski, Kaitlyn Dever and Hannah Murray.

What am I expecting to see?: From what I’ve heard going in, this movie is very polarizing; either people will enjoy it or people will see it as a mess, which is strange considering Bigelow and Boal crafted it. The subject itself is tantalizing considering how societally relevant it seems but even the great ones can make mistakes. I’m looking forward to being enlighted, educated and entertained by Detroit considering how much I enjoyed Bigelow’s last two features but I’m bracing myself for the worst all the same.

Review: Captain America: Civil War

There is nothing more disappointing than unjustified hype. Something is touted for so long before it arrives on the main stage, only to disappoint you upon arrival. Unjustified hype leaves a rancid taste in the mouth yet it also raises expectations for what follows.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a prime example of unjustified hype. We all know what a rancid taste it left in my mouth when I saw it a few weeks ago, yet it raised the bar for other films to follow. Films such as Captain America: Civil War.

The Russo Brothers return to direct the third and final installment of the solo Captain America franchise, thus launching Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Utilizing the concepts of the comic book counterpart, Civil War picks up where Age of Ultron left off, pitting the Avengers against an unprecedented and unexpected obstacle: the Sokovia Accords, a measure adopted by 117 countries represented in the United Nations designed to hold the Avengers in check and accountable for their actions which yield unnecessary collateral damage. Those who sign it are subjected to act under the authority of whichever governing power to face significant threats should they arise.

Tony Stark, feeling accountable for the actions of Ultron, is of the opinion that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes need oversight, while Captain Steven Rogers is of the opinion that these accords are unnecessary and the world can trust the Avengers to act in their best interests without it. Thus sides are taken within the Avengers ranks, while Captain Rogers’ old “friend” Bucky Barnes, alias Winter Solider, is causing havoc thus putting the Avengers in a more awkward spot while a mysterious figure named Helmut Zemo is acting in the shadows while heroes who disagree find the situation escalating into something more dangerous than they could ever imagine.

Image by Marvel

In taking measures to help and protect his old friend, Captain America takes up arms with Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Falcon, Ant-Man to protect the Winter Soldier and Iron Man, Black Panther, Black Widow, Vision, War Machine and Spider-Man stand in their way for Cap’s actions act against the Sokovia Accords; the Avengers come to blows and in the aftermath, the Avengers are left broken, scarred, damaged, displaced, vulnerable, all but destroyed.

Batman v. Superman left a horrid taste in my mouth, thus raising the expectations for Captain America: Civil War. After attending an early screening yesterday, I proclaim with full conviction and a cleansed and nourished palate that Captain America: Civil War is by far, the best superhero motion picture since The Dark Knight; I am talking a comic book movie at the crossroads of nirvana and perfection!

I’ve stated that superhero mythology is my favorite and this movie had it all! The writing courtesy of Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus was superb, the Russo Brothers left it all on the screen and justified the fact that they are worthy to helm the final Avengers films in a few years and they started Phase Three with a bang! This was a grounded story that was simple to follow and empathize with, flowed effortlessly between subplots, gave every major character their respective moment to shine, the action was non-stop, this was everything you could possibly ask for in the inaugural blockbuster of 2016.

Image by Collider

It was as if the Russo Brothers and the writing of McFeely and Markus went places where Joss Whedon could only dream and the result is a superhero movie fan’s dream come true! In fact, you could say that Captain America: Civil War hit all of the notes that Batman v. Superman failed to do and you could. Because it’s true.

I feel as though I’m practically gushing and I don’t feel ashamed doing it! Going into the film, I was Team Iron Man but in the end, it doesn’t matter whose side you were on, Captain America: Civil War is one hell of a ride and I felt that even though the end is tragic, it ends on the best terms imaginable for Captain America and Iron Man while also raising already high expectations for future Marvel films to come.

Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, William Hurt you couldn’t ask for more from the already established galaxy of stars portraying these heroes while at the same time the new recruits including Chadwick Boseman, who KILLED it as Black Panther, Daniel Brühl who did an awesome job as the sinister Zemo and Tom Holland, who should make Tobey MacGuire and Andrew Garfield feel honored by his portrayal as Spider-Man, had their moments to shine as well.

Trent Opaloch’s cinematography was rock-solid, Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt’s editing was top-of-the-line, the production design by Owen Patterson was superb, Henry Jackson’s music was decent, Judianna Makovsky’s costumes were outstanding, this was a technically grounded film that allowed the story to take center stage and enhance the figures who are a part of it, unlike another certain film I’ve named.

I would see Captain America: Civil War multiple times if I had the opportunity because this movie lives up to its hype, its potential and audiences of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe will be thrilled by this installment because it takes everything that has led to this point and cranks it up to 11!

Looking back, if I could comment on one regret it’s that Iron Man and Black Panther don’t really get a lot of screen time together and these two, in the comics, have much in common.

This movie is Marvel at the peak of its power and the scary part is this is only the beginning. The Phase Three lineup is ready to roll and my excitement can barely be contained. I loved every moment of Captain America: Civil War and I thoroughly encourage audiences to see this blockbuster, which seems destined to take over the world!

Movie of the Week: Captain America: Civil War

It is in a hero’s nature to protect the people, but what happens when the people come together and say “enough“? This is the new crisis that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have to face. In the aftermath of Age of Ultron, the major powers on the planet have convened and issues a series of accords requiring individuals with special abilities to relinquish their secret identities and act as operatives of the government in times of peril. Captain America leads the opposition against these accords, believing that the world can trust the Avengers to protect them without the need for governmental oversight. Iron Man is for these accords, considering that the Avengers and him personally have had a hand in putting the world in such a vulnerable state to begin with. The two heroes create factions within the Avengers and both sides are ready to fight for what they believe. Captain America: Civil War finally arrives in theaters this week.

What am I expecting to see?: Nothing short of excellence to be exact. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done a fine job in building the franchise to this point and I have full faith in the Russo Brothers to bring Phase Three of the Avengers Initiative to a roaring, clashing start. Undoubtedly I can’t expect to be disappointed in this star-studded cast of heroes starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Brühl, William Hurt, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Emily VanCamp, Martin Freeman, Frank Grillo and Tom Holland to name just a few. I’ve already declared my allegiance to one faction but I expect this to be the superhero movie that really sets the tempo for 2016.