Avengers Infinity War: Worth the 10 year hype?

Avengers Infinity War: Worth the 10 year hype?

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

 You have been warned.

It began with the culmination of 4 years work back in 2012. Since Iron Man had birthed what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, a small collective of directors, actors, and writers slowly started to establish characters which had only existed on the pages of a comic book. The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and others found audiences beyond the comic shop and the TV at home. Then they decided to come together in one movie in 2012 where these feisty, sarcastic and powerful people managed to come together to stop an alien invasion and become the Avengers. But as powerful as they were, a hint of a power greater than all of them combined smirked from the darkness of space. Shortly after we discovered of something called Infinity Stones which became some of the most powerful weapons in the MCU. Other heroes and characters arose from these conflicts such as the Falcon, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Winter Soldier, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Along with them came villians who would oppose and test them but due to general storytelling and cinematic expectation, more than enough of them fell by the wayside; chapters in their heroes journeys. A villain emerged over time with a goal that could literally be the end of everything and all the ambition to achieve it. His name was Thanos and he was coming to Earth.  In 2018, after 10 years of anticipation and proper build up, we were given this film: Avengers Infinity War which would change the entire fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever and let me say, that was worth every f@#c&!ng minute.


The Russo brothers and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley had a herculean challenge, they had to put 10 years’ worth of Marvel films in one huge story that paid tribute to its source material but also continued the stories that had already been established on the big screen. Similar to how well the Avengers had been handled, the material or characters needed little to no introduction. We know these guys, we know what the Infinity Stones are and we know Thanos is looking to collect them all. That required little to no introduction but what amazed me was how well the movie moved. Clearly ignored the rapid place jumping that plagued films like Batman vs. Superman and Justice League which failed to replicate a plot device found in comic book storytelling, there were place cards telling you exactly where we are. The characters moved a steady pace that made it easy to understand regardless of the grandiose of the story or the dangers they faced. Nothing felt rushed and it honestly felt like I was reading a true movie adaptation of a comic book come to life. The film not only told its own story but managed to connect all the movies and even tie up plot points that had been left behind from previous MCU Gems. What was amazing was it all felt so real. The characters joked, they argued, they fought both villains and among each other while battling Thanos and his enforcers, the Black Order.  They had problems arise and personal demons to push past while they did what they had to do knowing they may not walk away in the end. When somebody died or was hurt, the entire audience was silent because you were invested in the story. You weren’t being talked down to or given the same plot formulas over and over and over again. This was something new, this was bigger than any Avengers or Marvel movie you had ever seen. Although you are pumped to see your favorite heroes coming together , the same idea keeps your eyes hooked on the screen: What happens if they lose? What happens if Thanos gathers all the Infinity Stones and snaps his fingers? What happens when the heroes fail? That’s the magic of storytelling, eventually you become so invested that the characters become you.


After all these years of separate films, it was spectacular to see everybody all together united under one cause. In Avengers, it was everybody against Loki, the Ultron, or even pitted against each other; this time it’s the entire Marvel Universe against Thanos and his armies. While the action never really disappointed, I thoroughly enjoyed that the film took time to address every plot line poignantly. Very often ensemble projects have characters or story-lines fall apart or become underdeveloped compared to others but there was an excellent sense of balance here, When Tony Stark stumbles realizing his nightmare has come true, when Gamora falls, when Peter crumbles or when the Avengers fail, each moment is hammered into your mind and remains. In the past, I have agreed that Marvel movies sometimes rely too much on comedy to break apart serious moments instead of letting them breathe. In the last few years, we have seen darker and more serious moments start to emerge as tragedy is a crucial block in building memorable heroes but it is a slow process. In Infinity War, there were definitely some serious and dark moments but in a way, that made the jokes even funnier because when it was funny, the entire audience laughed. If you asked a group of people what was their favorite moment or line, guaranteed a lot of people would same much of the same thing. Characters like Spider-Man, Drax, Groot, Thor and a few others had some of the best moments but other great laughs came out of nowhere. This movie did great to push and evolve so many of its characters further and leave us eager to see where they go next.


A movie is only as great as its villain and Thanos is most definitely one of the greatest Marvel villains we’ve ever seen. Josh Brolin played this character with such honesty and sincerity because Thanos doesn’t believe what he is doing is wrong and overall movie has you sympathize with him. He has judged the universe and found it desperately in need of balance and thus his quest for the Infinity Stones has him deemed as the hero. He must stay strong in the face of unsurmountable resistance, he will be forced to make difficult decisions that will require sacrifice from his body and soul, he will cry and at the end he will have to reap the fruits of his labor, no matter their taste or size. Thanos has bent this idea of good and evil and he does it so effortlessly to the point where you can’t believe that you’re rooting for him at the end. While his enforcers in the Black Order certainly stand out in the movie, they are still background characters; they are merely extensions of Thanos’ will and such characters are exactly why you see him here in the first place. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Just like the heroes grew with you, you have watched Thanos evolve. You got to know Thanos the tyrant, Thanos the madman, in this movie you met Thanos the father and Thanos the god. At the end of this film he has broken the Avengers, he has amassed greater power unlike any other being before him, and he has literally wiped out half of the known universe’s populace. He sits down on a perfect world and finds himself at peace. He won and we lost. Game over, man.

Although some comic fans would cry the movie has barely touched on most of the story from the Infinity Gauntlet comic book, this is one of the rare cases where I don’t give a damn. The entire Marvel universe has changed before our eyes and nothing will be the same until we see how it concludes in 2019. Sure we will have films like Deadpool, Ant Man 2, Captain Marvel and others to entertain or fill in the gaps in the Marvel timeline but the damage made in this movie will not be forgotten and honestly that’s all we could ask for. In the end, comic book movies have slowly become a polarizing opinion in the cinema world. Some have welcome this new stage in film-making and some look at it as cinematic arsenic gradually killing this artistic and creative genre. As both a fan of comics and cinema, I applaud this movie for being exactly what anybody should expect: a great movie worthy of its story. In the end, we were simply entertained. We laughed, we cried, we shushed people who talked during and we cannot wait for more. You know what they say: once you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up.

 

Read More

Constantine: City of Demons Part 1 Review

Constantine: City of Demons Part 1 Review

Posted by on Apr 27, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

If anybody’s made a comeback, it’s been Matt Ryan’s interpretation of the iconic John Constantine. Ever since the solo Constantine series was canceled by NBC in 2015, Matt Ryan has continued to be associated with the chain smoking blonde demonologist and “master of the dark arts”. He voiced the character in Justice League Dark (2017) and even made a notable cameo in Season 4 of Arrow (which some may argue was the best episode in an already tired and contrived season). He revisited the character in the recent season of DC Legends of Tomorrow repeatedly as he helped the team with their battle against the imprisoned time demon Mallus. Coming off the heels of the news that John Constantine would be a cast member on Season 4 of Legends, CW Seed announced the premiere of Constantine: City of Demons, a 12-episode series set in the same universe as Justice League Dark. The first 5 episodes were released on CW Seed on March 24th.

After watching the first five episodes, there is no doubt in my mind that Matt Ryan is perfect for the part of John Constantine. Whether he’s battling his inner demons come to life (seriously), talking with Chas at the pub or battling forces that would drive any man to death by alcoholism, Matt Ryan plays Constantine with that iconic snark, cynicism, and regret with just a dash of muddled heroism. While I am disappointed to see no immediate connection to the 2015 Constantine show especially regarding Chas and his family, writer J.M. DeMatteis known for his work on Spider-Man and Justice League International still tells a story that only could involve John Constantine. When Chas daughter is stricken with a mysterious that doctors can’t solve, Chas turns to his old friend who discovers this little girls condition is anything but a common cold. His investigation into the matter gets dangerous and near fatal but that’s a normal day in the life of John Constantine. Even though the cast is small, DeMatteis gives everybody real roles to play, especially when the series explores John’s origins and the incident at Newcastle that would forever change his and Chas’ life. That incident faithfully retells the story while walking the balance between the unflinching darkness that the Hellblazer series at Vertigo was known for with the acceptable limitations of present day animation. Near the end of this first group of episodes, Constantine finds himself in L.A. agreeing to help a demon lay off his satanic competitors in exchange for Chas’ daughter’s life but there’s no doubt in my mind that either party will honor their deal in the end.

Although these episodes are too short to really fill the void or unanswered questions Constantine left behind in 2015, it’s always good to hear that lighter pop and hear John Constantine’s voice over a stream of cigarette smoke. In the DC universe, he’s the guy you talk to when you can’t find Doctor Fate, Zatanna, Swamp Thing or any of the other hardcore magicians when things are taking an infernal turn for the worst.  My final thoughts are that I’m liking what I’m seeing so pour me another round, give me a light and let’s get weird in the City of Angels. I’m betting on you John, hell or high water.

Grade:
Constantine: City of Demons (Part 1): B (solid and worth checking out)

Read More