Avengers: Infinity War – A Spoiler-Free Review

At long last, the film we’ve all been waiting for has arrived.  It’s hard to believe that the groundwork for Infinity War began all the way back in 2011 with Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor.  2012 brought The Avengers which introduced us to Thanos and his quest for those pesky Infinity Stones.

Was Infinity War worth the wait?

I literally just finished watching it about forty minutes ago and I can tell you … YES!  Infinity War surpassed my expectations and satisfied in ways I will address without getting too specific.

As always, I live a spoiler-free life, and I will not ruin this movie for you, I promise.

I’d like to first and foremost give the movie credit for fully realizing Thanos as a character.  This guy has been teased for the last several years, but this is HIS movie.  You get to know him very well and he proves far more complicated than I expected.  Furthermore, he looks great.  Special effects obviously played a big role with this character, yet they are seamless.  He looks to be physically present in every scene, and that’s rare in today’s CGI-obsessed movie world.  I’ve always considered Thanos a Darkseid ripoff and never given him much thought, but he definitely won me over as a worthwhile villain.

Also, they managed to bring us virtually the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Almost every character you know and love gets a moment in this movie.   I’m actually surprised at how much screen time several of our favorite Avengers received.  With story lines unfolding in various locales on Earth and in space, I’m amazed how it all somehow worked.  This is not a cash-grab.  Infinity War has a real story with several characters playing vital roles.

Make no mistake, by the way.  Thanos does indeed bring war with him.  He unleashes carnage, mayhem, and destruction at every opportunity.  This movie revels in chaos and pushes every one of our heroes to their breaking points.  This is the first Marvel movie in which the heroes’ victory is not a foregone conclusion.

Which brings me to my final point: Infinity War has real consequences.  This movie is not afraid to break convention.  It’s daring, bold, and, frankly, a breath of fresh air in a time of supposed cinematic super hero fatigue.  Infinity War has done something different with the cinematic super hero genre, something new.

I left the movie theater in shock.  That’s the highest compliment I can give any movie.

If you’re invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’ll want to go see this movie as soon as possible.  It will be very hard to avoid spoilers in the coming days.

All right, I have to get up for work in about five hours, so I better call it a night.  Thanks for reading!

Image result for infinity war movie poster

(Did you enjoy this review?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

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Are You Excited For These Movies? Read the Books First!

Do you love to read the books that movies are based upon before those movies come out?  Check out this activity I had for my students today.  In order to get excited to read the source material, I had them watch the correlating trailers for upcoming films.  I’m happy to say they were very enthusiastic for several of the books (and movies)!  My primary goal as an educator is to help people want to read.  Take a look below and let me know which book you would most like to read, and also which movie looks the best to you.

Black Panther (Trailer)

Black Panther (Book)

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Forever My Girl (Trailer)

Forever My Girl (Book)

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12 Strong [Horse Soldiers] (Trailer)

Horse Soldiers (Book)

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Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Trailer)

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Book)

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Annihilation (Trailer)

Annihilation (Book)

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Avengers: Infinity War (Trailer)

Avengers: Infinity War (Book)

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Every Day (Trailer)

Every Day (Book)

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Ready Player One (Trailer)

Ready Player One (Book)

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Red Sparrow (Trailer)

Red Sparrow (Book)

*

A Wrinkle In Time (Trailer)

A Wrinkle In Time (Book)

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Love, Simon [Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda] (Trailer)

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Book)

 

(Last year’s movie trailers and books can be found HERE.)

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(Did you enjoy this post?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

A Brief Contemplation Concerning Michael Douglas As Hank Pym

I’m hardly an Ant-Man aficionado.  I enjoyed the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym, when he was with the West Coast Avengers and wore his red jumpsuit, and I appreciated what they did with him in The Ultimates, but other than that, I have no real regard for the character.

So when they announced that Michael Douglas would play Hank Pym in the new Ant-Man movie directed by Edgar Wright and starring Paul Rudd, I definitely experienced surprise.  Surprise, but not dismay.

First of all, it’s Edgar Wright doing Ant-Man, so he can cast whomever he chooses as far as I’m concerned.  The fact we’re even getting an Ant-Man movie is reason enough to celebrate.

Secondly, I have total trust in the Marvel cinematic brain trust.  If they want Hank Pym to be depicted older on film than in comics, there must be a valid reason behind it.  And frankly, I agree with the decision.  I know nothing about Scott Lang, the character that Rudd will play, other than that he stole Pym’s technology to save his sick daughter and then used it for good afterwards with Pym’s blessing.  (I got that information from Newsarama at this address: http://www.newsarama.com/20026-ant-man-casts-michael-douglas-as-hank-pym.html).  What I know of Pym, however, is that his intellect is on par with Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Bruce Banner.  Now, Reed Richards is out of the cinematic conversation, but with the amazing chemistry of Robert Downey, Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, do we really need or want Rudd in that scientist mix?  With Rudd as Lang, he can do his own thing, be his own character and shine in his own way when he finds his way into the next Avengers movie.  We don’t need or want another super-intelligent funny guy.  RDJ and Ruffalo fill that quota perfectly.

Douglas is far too old to do much in the way of super heroics, but he can still give Pym the depth and intellect the character deserves.  I thinks it’s both a pragmatic and wise decision on the creators’ parts.  Who knows?  With Pym’s Ultimates history, Douglas could even have a little more edge than we suspect.

I really don’t know of any die-hard Pym fans out there, so I’m surprised some seem really upset about casting Pym as an older man.  In my opinion, Edgar Wright always knows what he’s doing, and the Marvel movies haven’t gone wrong yet.  I think we’re going to get the best Ant-Man movie we ever expected.  (Of course, I never expected an Ant-Man movie, so …)

New Avengers: The Collective – A Graphic Novel Review

Brian Michael Bendis continues to spin out entertaining reads with his take on the Avengers. While characterization is a problem when using cornerstone characters, it is certainly fun to see all of our favorites working as a team.

I’ve been a Bendis fan for a while and I enjoy his interpretation of the Avengers, especially the banter. While it doesn’t go overboard into the realm of flat-out comedy, there are times when I can’t help but laugh at some of the snide remarks. My only complaint is the transition of artwork with the inclusion of Mike Deodato. He’s a fine artist, don’t get me wrong, but I’d gotten so accustomed to the previous beautiful renderings of this series that the drastic change in style with Deodato was a bit of a jolt.

The Collective is a logical follow-up to the House of M series as well as hints at Civil War, and it completely amuses, but again, this arc is not the stuff of character-driven plots. If you’d like to see Bendis at his finest with those sorts of stories, I recommend his masterful run on Daredevil.

I’m really enjoying The New Avengers and recommend the entire series thus far.

The Ultimates 2, Vol. 1: Gods and Monsters – A Graphic Novel Review

Basically an updated version of Marvel Comic’s classic Avengers lineup, The Ultimates is the closest comic book out there to a big budget action movie. The art is hands down astronomical. Bryan Hitch can draw anything and make it look both dynamic and realistic at the same moment. And Mark Millar (whom is often hit or miss for me) writes snappy dialogue that really sets the characters apart from one another. While his overall plots are nothing terribly original, his new takes on classic characters like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk have been tremendously entertaining. We now have heroes in very much the twenty-first century, with all the neurosis, greed, naiveté, and self-doubt that comes with being a denizen of the modern day.

As I said, the overall plots are predictable, but it’s the subplots where the genius rests. Each character has their own story, and it’s those personal stories and interactions that prove captivating. However, when it’s time for the big action of the overall plot’s climax, strap yourself in. That’s where Bryan Hitch saves the day with his art and Mark Millar makes it fun with his dialogue.

If you want to experience super hero comics at their <ahem!> ultimate in terms of action and art, the Ultimates is what you’re looking for.