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AVENGERS: SEASON 3 FINALE PT. 1 (Read 1427 times)
May 18th, 2018 at 1:49pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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The Avengers movies have long ceased being stand-alone entries. For years now, I have referred to them here and elsewhere as being akin to TV series Season Finales. All of the other Marvel features are merely expensive episodes leading up to the next big get-together for the Avengers big season ender. We are now up to Season III. (others have now caught up to the concept of the Marvel 'Universe' now being one big TV show, Forbes magazine and The Guardian newspaper among them - but, I did it first: Dibs!

Of course, since the Season II finale (aka Age of Ultron), the Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man (who is curiously absent here) and Black Panther have been added to the big show, along with the third boot of Spider-Man (now "officially" part of the Universe - all that money and hours you wasted on the other two boots and five films don't "count") and more sequels etc.. It's great for Marvel and Disney's coffers, but, it doesn't necessarily add up to good screenwriting and movie-making. It seems to take half the screen-time just to get everybody together.

That said, INFINITY is mostly a well-made, modestly diverting movie. The sets, special effects and other production details are mainly top-notch. The 'score', however, is merely functional music-sounding noise. There are some amusing bits in the dialogue, and a couple of serious moments that are effective. It's got a fine array of actors who go through their paces at a pro level, although Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo seem somewhat disengaged. The Brothers Russo do an ok job handling the action and the dialogue scenes, but INFINITY isn't so much Directed as Herded. And, therein lies the problem. With so many Superheroes to round up, INFINITY never amounts to much. With their Captain America movies (another character that gets short-shrift), the Russos were able to give some style and verve to the proceedings (even in CIVIL WAR, which essentially served as Avengers 2 1/2).

The Russos, along with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, manage to gather up the gang and lay out a basic story-line, but, the dramatic tension never has a chance to build. Just as a sequence starts to gather steam --- Cut! Off to the next set of characters. And, the crux of the "plot"? Yet another variation of the magic ring, crystal, stone, sword or here, gems that the bad guys want and the good guys try to prevent them from getting/using. Of course, this is just a plot MacGuffin, but it rarely seemed as pointless as here. Two and a Half-Hours and you can't complete the story? Is this really a tale that needs 5 hours to tell?

As to the (non)-ending, I guess the charitable reading would be to call it a cliffhanger. The key line in the movie comes early on when Thor says of Loki, "He's died before." Yes, it's a play on Loki's twists in previous movies (and, I am purposely chopping the quote in half), but, it's also a pre-cursor of what's likely to happen with many of those who's fate looks dark at the end of INFINITY. More bait & switch, than true cliffhanger.

Of course, as I write this, the hardcore Marvel faithful have voted INFINITY to be the 15th greatest movie of ALL-TIME. The largest out-pouring of praise for the movie seem to be from those who are just satisfied that all their favorites have been gathered up in one big tent (Herded,and not Directed). Folks are happy that the Russos, the writers and Feige and the Marvel execs have paid attention to the history of the Comics and the other Marvel Universe movies. People seem to get inordinately excited that some obscure character or story thread from 30 years ago has been acknowledged or 'respected' here. But, does it have any dramatic momentum? Who cares?!

Is INFINITY WAR a checklist or a movie? Are we discussing a work of art, or a book report? "Why haven't the Russo Brothers, Feige et al done their homework and regurgitated all the the facts that they have been taught in class!? Star for the forehead. 15th Greatest Movie in Cinematic History!!"

Anyway, maybe it will all come together in: AVENGERS SEASON 3 FINALE - PART II!
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