by Gregg Shapiro
With super-villains such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jung Un wreaking havoc on the planet, it’s getting more difficult to take Marvel’s evil creations seriously. This has never been truer than in the case of “Avengers: Infinity War” (Marvel) and its Trump/Putin/Assad/Kim-like malefactor, Thanos (Josh Brolin), the very personification of death (see the Greek).
When we last saw our avenging angels they had been torn asunder by a civil war as well as government restrictions. However, Thanos is on a bloody and ruthless rampage to collect the Infinity Stones (Soul, Time, Space, Mind, Reality, Power) to adorn his couture glove and give him the tools he needs to rule the universe and eliminate all who stand in his way.
Thanos, as you may recall, is related to Nebula (Karen Gillan) and the adoptive father of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), of “Guardians of the Galaxy” renown. Neither Nebula nor Gamora is particularly fond of the gigantic father figure and both want to see him dead. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is also determined to see Thanos demolished after the behemoth killed his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and beat the hammer-wielder to a pulp and left him for dead.
This is one example how brothers and co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo, along with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, stitch together the death shroud that is “Avengers: Infinity War”; by bringing together disparate characters from the MCU. In the spirit of “hail, hail, the gang’s all here”, those also fighting Thanos include Captain America (Chris Evans), Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), Spiderman (Tom Holland), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), War Machine (Don Cheadle), White Wolf/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and assorted others. Of course, Thanos doesn’t work alone, either. He’s joined by Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon), Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) and Corvus Glave (Michael James Shaw). If your mind wandered after reading that list – it will do the same many times during the movie.
“Avengers: Infinity War” wants to be funny like Deadpool (possibly the only MCU character not present and accounted for) or the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series, but this only acts as distraction. It’s like Britney’s dance moves and back-up dancers trying to distract you from the fact that she can’t, you know, actually sing. As you no doubt expect, there are OTT special effects, and this might be the one place where the movie actually excels. Nevertheless, the fight sequences do go on way too long, and don’t be surprised if yourself yelling at the screen to “turn down that racket!”
Trigger warning spoiler alert: the utterly unsatisfying ending, which features almost every single Avenger disintegrating into thin air, is sure to have fanboys and fangirls clutching their pearls and shrieking (it certainly did at the screening this reviewer attended). Additionally, “A: IW” is guilty of post-credits scene abuse, particularly when many audience members still haven’t revived from the earlier shock.
Finally, here’s some non-fanboy food for thought: for all the time these actors spend behind masks and under heavy make-up, why aren’t these Marvel (read: Disney) movies honoring the source material and being made as cartoons? Also, does anyone else miss the other Avengers, Emma Peel and John Steed?
You can go to the box office and demand a refund, but you’ll never get the two and a half hours back. Rating: D