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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 28, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War Movie Review - Smorgasbord Extravaganza Of Countless Marvel Superheroes That Somehow Fails To Fully Take Off And Impress Us

THIS IS a smorgasbord movie for die hard fans of Marvel superheroes as hey, hey, the gang's all here, and the hugeness of the ensemble cast is enough to make it the movie's biggest selling point, not only to ardent Marvel followers but also to general viewers. It's now the highest grossing movie in the history of film going in our country, reported to have earned a whopping P141 million just on its opening day.

The super villain is Thanos (motion captured CGI with the voice of Josh Brolin), a Titan who's been seen in past Marvel movies. He wants to collect six infinity gems or stones that will give him control and the power to kill one half of the population of the entire universe for proper balance and save it from overpopulation. The gems are then pasted on his golden glove, that sort of fabulous thing drag queens would want to wear when they're performing on stage.

In the original comics, Thanos wants to collect the gems to win the love of Mistress Death. In other words, his motive is more romantic, love, as he delivers the corpses of his victims across the galaxy to her feet. But naturally, they have to simplify it for the movie, whose budget is already oh so bloated.

The film's main attraction is, of course, the assembly of all the superheroes seen in past Marvel movies launched ten years ago with the first "Ironman" flick. The highlights, for us, is led by the confrontation between Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Ironman and Chris Pratts' Peter Quill/Star Lord and his entire gang from "Guardians of the Galaxy" that includes Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Dave Bautista as Drax, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Pom Klementieff as Mantis and Groot, to provide some comic relief.

Then there's Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner losing his ability to transform as the Incredible Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor regaining the eye he lost in "Ragnarok" and also his lost hammer, and the film's climactic battle being set in Wakanda of Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and featuring most of the characters from his origin movie led by Danai Gurira of "Walking Dead" as his chief guard, Okoye.

Thanos is a monster with conflicted feelings who even gets to emote on screen and shed his own crocodile tears. He turns out to be the adoptive father of Zoe Saldana as Gamora and they have their own flashback moments. Of course, we can't reveal to you what he finally does to Gamora.

Among the huge cast, the standout for us is Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange, who somehow gets
to maintain his dignity all throughout the silliness. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo are given a very difficult task as the innate risks of a project this huge can be truly daunting. And it's simply impossible for them to give equal exposure to all the superheroes since there are so many of them. Joss Whedon's "Age of Ultron" now looks more watchable in retrospect.

As maybe expected, some actors are given very little to do, like Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/ Captain America and his friend Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier who gets a new robot arm. Gwyneth Palltrow shows up in just one scene as Pepper Potts to reveal that he and Tony Stark are already married and hoping to have a baby.

Tom Holland as Spiderman is luckier in having more scenes and also getting to deliver some wisecracks. Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch also has lengthier exposure than Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow simply because she has to baby sit her wounded boyfriend, Paul Bettany as Vision, in whose forehead is embedded one of the stones that Thanos wants to possess. Don Cheadle as War Machine, Idris Elba as Heimdall and Benecio del Toro as the Collector have even much lesser exposure. But abbreviated exposures notwithstanding, we're certain they all got handsomely paid for their participation in this superhero extravaganza.

At two hours and 40 minutes, we felt the movie is unnecessarily long and there were some parts where we felt we're about to fall asleep. There are some attempts at comedy, like Chris Pratt, obviously threatened by Thor's good looks, aping the voice of Chris Hemsworth, and midget Peter Dinklage of "Game of Thrones" popping up to play the role of, would you believe, a giant. There's some joking around, like when Rocket is surprised that Thor can speak Groot's language, he says deadpan: "They taught it on Asgard. It was an elective."

But the ending is the one that viewers will be talking about. So many of the well loved characters die and the movie ends with a cliffhanger saying Thanos will return. We're sure there will be a lot of complaints. After all, the last Marvel movie, "Black Panther", was a real crowd pleaser that satisfied all its viewers and truly dominated the box office worldwide for several weeks.

But honestly, there's no need to grieve as superhero films are used to bending reality and time-warping so all the deaths staged here are reversible. As such, a superhero dying is not really worth your tears, even Superman in DC Comics died but also lived again.

And next year, another "Avengers" movie is coming so we're sure all those who are shown dissipating into thin air in "Infinity War" will eventually be resurrected and Thanos will finally get the comeuppance that he truly deserves.