Avengers: Infinity Wars

Perhaps I’m not the target audience for this movie. I’ve never read a comic book in my life. I do love good comic book movies, which is why I liked the first Iron Man, but didn’t care for the second or third. I liked the Captain America movies. The Wolverine ones were okay. Wonder Woman was highly overrated, but Black Panther lived up to the hype. I wasn’t looking forward to a third Spider-Man reboot, but was surprised by how much I liked Spider-Man: Homecoming. So I think I can judge comic book movies fairly, and I have to say this thing is a bloated mess of a film. And as I sit down to finally write this review, I hear it’s the highest grossing opening since the last Star Wars.

It was rather ambitious for Joe and Anthony Russo to cram in so many characters, and some of the time, that worked. Each superhero had a chance to shine [side note: am I the only one that hates the casting of Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk?]. The first hour of the movie was rather enjoyable, and most of the humor worked. I was surprised that it worked, because I felt the last Thor movie tried too hard to go for that Deadpool/Guardians of the Galaxy vibe of humor over an intriguing story.

At first I thought Thanos (Josh Brolin) was a good villain (with the type of chin Warren Beatty should’ve sported when he did Dick Tracy decades ago). Yet by the third act, I found him boringly conventional. He basically wants to control the world, and destroy half of the population. To do that, he needs to collect six Infinity Stones, which he inserts into a mechanic hand he’s got attached to his muscular arm.

It was mildly amusing the way Iron Man meets up with Doctor Strange, and the pesky, younger Spider-Man. It reminded me a bit of the fun we had watching the Star Trek characters paired up a few movies ago.

Thor hooks up with the Guardians of the Galaxy crew, and it’s kind of cute watching Star Lord (Chris Pratt) feeling threatened by his looks. Drax has his usual deadpan jokes that were cute.

Captain America is in Wakanda, teaming up with the Black Panther posse. That segment didn’t do much for me.

A running joke about Bruce Banner not being able to channel the Hulk, got old quick.

We get brief appearances from War Machine, Falcon, and Black Widow. I don’t recall seeing Hawkeye (no pun intended), and was disappointed they couldn’t find room for the tiny Ant-Man (although the poster for his new movie was right outside the theatre).

Many people went into this movie talking about how somebody in the Marvel universe was going to die, and I won’t begin to spoil that (although at this point, anybody that wanted to see the movie probably already has). I will say, that doesn’t pack the emotional punch it should have. Partly because I saw Superman die (I know, I know…he’s DC and not Marvel, so don’t write me angry letters). Yet then he was brought back to life. And with all the stuff Dr. Strange can do (including seeing the various ways scenarios can play out), there can be some kind of time-warp, alternative universe, magic mumbo jumbo that brings any character that died, back to life for the second part of this movie [side note number two: am I the only one that went into this not realizing it was a two-parter that concludes in 2019?].

The movie was 2 ½ hours, with the final fight scene clocking in at around 45 minutes. And there’s something about fight scenes in superhero films that I’ve just grown tired of. They’re over-the-top and they all seem the same.

I was talking to about 10 teenagers that left the movie to see what they thought. Half of them hated it, the other half loved it. One of the guys that hated it said, “I didn’t like all the jokes. They weren’t funny. It’s like they were meant for a 10-year-old.”

I asked him if he thought it was funny that the Black Panther made a joke about Starbucks, which was obviously shot way before the Starbucks controversy. He had no clue what I was talking about.

I talked to two critics who both enjoyed the movie. My wife and I were disappointed. It had some interesting set pieces, but it felt like endless fights, constant changing locales, and a money grab that was more interested in creating an event, instead of a movie that got you emotionally invested in.

2 stars out of 5.