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!!! 

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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!

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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!

Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

To be honest, I was going into War for the Planet of the Apes with an idea of what I was in for. Based on what I’ve read, what I’ve seen and heard about the film up to that point, I thought audiences were going into a film where Caesar would be leading his species in an all out assault to preserve their survival against what is left of mankind, yet I was unprepared for what really was in store.

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Image by 20th Century Fox

Essentially, War occurs two years post-Dawn and well distant from the events that transpired in Rise but not totally disconnected. After Caesar suffers an unimaginable loss that rocks him to his core, he takes it on himself to journey across the wintery wilds to find a man called The Colonel and kill him. Caesar is aided by his most trusted simian companions, Maurice, Luca and Rocket and pick up a few stragglers along the way in the peculiar Bad Ape and a mute girl who is later dubbed Nova; this journey to find the Colonel fills Caesar with inner turmoil to hold on to the principles he held so dear to him or embrace the darkness within himself to exact his vengeance, like Koba did. This inner battle within the first super ape is the War that takes center stage in the film.

Matt Reeves, the director and co-writer of the film, impressed me in bringing Caesar grand story to a stirring finish in the fashion that he did. Reeves and Mark Bomback have crafted a story with heavy biblical references to allow their protagonist to shine in the brightest way they could and truly cement his legacy as his story comes full circle.

Essentially, the Planet of the Apes franchise in its entirety is a story about hubris; how living creatures create their own undoing and there is a success in how this story, Caesar’s story, was told. In War, Caesar wrestles with his darkness brought on by immense grief, he suffers like Christ suffers, he led his species to freedom as Moses did, every action he takes in this movie, shapes the course of his future and the future of his apes and this story leaves a profound and thought-provoking experience with audiences and it resonates when they leave the theater.

I especially took pleasure in how the film handled Caesar’s relationship with Nova. Before the two meet, Caesar dives right into his inner demons to the point where he is almost apathetic, remorseless and bloodthirsty but Nova reminds him of the humanity inside him and how that humanity has kept him from becoming Koba; in a way that theme of humanity and hubris tied all of the films together.

Andy Serkis’ performance is once again, high caliber! The CGI visual effects are just a costume but he breathes life into his characters and audiences are taken for an emotional ride with his performance as Caesar. From the moment, Caesar makes his presence known in the picture, everyone becomes invested; Serkis commands the screen as this character and doesn’t let up for an instant!

Woody Harrelson is as good as I’ve ever seen him as the vicious and bloodthirsty Colonel. Steve Zahn is a hoot as Bad Ape, Amiah Miller is terrific as Nova, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Michael Adamthwaite, Gabriel Chavarria, Judy Greer, Ty Olsson, Sara Canning, Aleks Paunovic, Devyn Dalton, Max Lloyd-Jones, Alessandro Juiliani and Toby Kebbell were all outstanding in the roles they played.

Michael Giacchino’s score, Michael Seresin’s cinematography, James Chinlund’s production design, William Hoy and Stan Salfas’ editing were all very satisfying. The visual effects were as elite as you might see all year.

I went into War for the Planet of the Apes expecting something totally different but I was completely washed away by how emotionally resonating, thought-provoking and creatively assembled this movie was. You won’t be flat out excited by it, but you will be immersed in how Caesar cements his legacy and how his tale comes to a close.

The Planet of the Apes franchise finishes on a very strong note.

Movie of the Week: War For the Planet of the Apes

The epic conclusion to the legend that is Caesar is coming to a close this weekend. The first of the super-apes has inherited the sins of the wicked Koba and now what is left of mankind has dispatched a military force to quell the threat the apes possess. Caesar led his species to freedom in Rise, he did all that he could to maintain that peace in Dawn, but now that seems so long ago. For his home, his family, his future, Caesar has finally embraced the fact that now is the time to fight for his future and this is War. This is the war that will determine who is the superior species on Earth. This is the war that will shape the course of the future going forward. The War For the Planet of the Apes has begun!

Director: Matt Reeves

Screenwriters: Matt Reeves and Mark Bomback

Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Amiah Miller, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, Terry Notary, Max Lloyd-Jones, Gabriel Chavarria, Ty Olsson, Michael Adamthwaite and Devyn Dalton.

What am I expecting to see?: I have enjoyed this rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise thus far and from what I’ve heard regarding this film in the past few weeks, is that War For the Planet of the Apes is the best one yet and could be the best film to come out this summer! I expect this movie to do what every final installment in a trilogy should do: tie everything together and turn up the intensity another notch. I expect Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson to command the screen and this movie to be technically elite in every aspect. I’ve been looking forward to War for the Planet of the Apes for a long time.