At CinemaCon this year, I heard directors Joe and Anthony Russo talk about this movie a few times, once even apologizing for breaking the internet. It’s also going to break box office records.
The last Avengers movie, Infinity War, left us with a cliffhanger, where half of the population on Earth died (including many of the superheroes). The film starts with more people disappearing, before we get into the action. The Avengers are gonna get the band back together, and go on a mission from God. That is to find Thanos (Josh Brolin) and somehow get those infinity stones off that big iron oven mitt he wears.
I won’t say anything else that gives anything away. It’s always crazy to see how many critics give things away without realizing it or just not caring.
The three hour movie is filled with a lot of one-liners, many of which don’t work. I did love a scene where somebody mentions a hippie beard and the other asks, “Like Mungo Jerry or the Bee Gees?” It’s bizarre to have that in, though…since I’m guessing 98% of the population has no clue who Mungo Jerry is.
There’s a funny joke about Captain America’s butt, and a great debate scene about traveling back in time. It involved plot points from other time travel movies (which is actually a joke that’s also been used in other movies, but it was still fun).
The songs used were awesome. Things started out with Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (although my friend and I both wondered what this had to do with anything in the film). Now, better use of a ‘60s band was The Kinks’ obscure song “Supersonic Rocket Ship” (while watching a huge Hulk crunching himself into the back of a pick-up truck).
The other tune I loved hearing was Steppenwolf’s amazing “Hey Lawdy Mama,” which is played during a crowd-pleasing cameo.
We all knew Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) would show up to help out (sporting a new hairdo). Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) provides a lot of pathos, and also a new hairdo (and some ink on his arm).
Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), well….last we saw of him, he was in a bit of a bind. I’ll leave you to guess if he finds his way out of that pickle, and back up to his normal human size; of if he stays small and flies into one of Thanos’ orifices.
It’s nice that many of the side characters are given a few things to do, as you’d expect in a three hour movie. Some characters pop up and are given almost nothing to do (Natalie Portman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tilda Swinton, and Michael Douglas, with hair as big as the cell phone he had in Wall Street).
A few of the characters are a bit out of fighting shape. That had the audience laughing, but the joke got old quick. What never got old was seeing Bruce Banner and the Hulk. I can’t explain why, but it was hysterical. Especially a scene where he has to go through the motions of smashing things and one involving selfies.
Often times, it felt like the two screenwriters wrote this picture for the flashbacks that would get fanboys in a nostalgic frenzy (although a few times, it was surprisingly effective).
What isn’t effective is how death has been treated in the Marvel Universe (and even in DC with Superman). Since characters are always brought back to life, none of it really matters or makes you shed a tear the way you should.
And the fact that I’m so burned out on all these movies, makes me merely roll my eyes at all the mythology and goofiness thrown about.
I heard a Rolling Stones song at one point and it made me think about how this movie is a lot like a Rolling Stones concert. I’ve used this analogy before, but…everyone wants to go to the Stones concert. The tickets sell out, no matter how expensive. It’s a two hour show, and you heard all the hits, but wished you would’ve heard your favorite song off of Exile on Main Street. Everyone raved about how good it was, rattling off all the favorite hits they heard (even if you change the radio station when you hear Start Me Up or Beast of Burden). But what people really liked about it was the event and pageantry of it all. It was the big concert to go to that weekend, and they were there. If you actually listened, Mick was out of breath singing Satisfaction and sang it too fast. Keith sounded okay on guitar but was nothing special. You wish Ron Wood was given more to do, but you’ve convinced yourself this was an epic concert. In reality, there was a better show going on that night by a punk band at the Casbah for a crowd of 38 people.
I brought a friend with me that’s a huge fan of these movies and asked him what he thought. He said, “It’s amazing that nobody is batting an eye that we have a superhero movie that’s as long as Ben-Hur and that movie had to be long. It was trying to fit in all that stuff from the Bible.”
When pressed on what he thought, he said, “The first third of the movie was awesome. The middle section was extremely mediocre. The last third is breathtaking.”
He said he’d give it 2 ½ or 3 stars out of 5. I was a bit tougher (and agree about the ending).
2 stars out of 5.
UNSPOILER ALERT: DO NOT bother to stay for the closing credits. There are no post-credit scenes.
UPDATE: I just saw the movie a second time this morning at Reading Town Square. My wife wanted to see it, and the last time I did reviews on KOGO 600 AM, host Ted Garcia made fun of me for often mentioning what my wife thought of the movie. Well, she would’ve given it 4 stars. Also, I liked it a bit more the second time. I was a bit more moved by it all. So, I might begrudgingly give this 2 1/2 or 3 stars, if writing the review today.
UPDATE #2: How come nobody remembers the Kirk Douglas/Martin Sheen movie “The Final Countdown”? The ending of it reminded me of something that happens with Captain America in this movie and I want to talk about it, dang it!!!