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Reviews for April 27th, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo

      Thanos (Josh Brolin) wants to take over the universe after destroying half of its population. All he needs is the film's MacGuffin: six Infinity genstones, namely, Mind, Soul, Space, Power, Time and Reality. Who has those precious stones, you ask? None other than your favorite superheroes, i.e. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who unite to stop Thanos from reaching his goals. Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), among others, also join them on their quest.

      How does a nearly 2 hour and 40-minute film achieve so little when it comes to story, character and, most importantly, entertainment? The simple answer is that it wastes too much time showing off its expensive budget with lots of CGI and action scenes. All of the explosions, chases and pretty colors that bombard your eyes and ears feel repetitive and tiresome after a while, and their returns are diminishing. 99% of the dialogue is either shallow or just there for the sake of exposition. Only a handful of ephemeral scenes show the characters actually having a conversation; one of those scenes feels slightly moving and refreshing because it only has two characters candly sharing their emotions with each other in outerspace. The rest of the dialogue includes Iron Man's witty quips and some overexplained pop cultural references, i.e. Alien, that hit you over the head. Those glimmers of wit are far and few between. Groot saying "I Am Groot" was't very funny to begin with in Guardians of the Galaxy yet that doesn't stop that line from being used yet again to try to generate laughter. It seems as though the filmmakers thought that all they have to do to make a Hollywood tentpole movie is to copy past Marvel films without adding anything new until the last 10 minutes which won't be spoiled here. Why do the filmmakers feel the need to treat the audience as though they were dumb and shallow for the most part? Is that what's become of modern audiences? They deserve much better than that.

      Avengers: Infinity War has a great cast, but gives them so little to work with that none of them gets a chance to shine. What's the purpose of having Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in the film? None of her choppy scenes are even remotely memorable. On that note, the film's editing often feels abrupt. After many scenes set in outer space, all-of-a-sudden there's a scene that takes place in Wakanda. With so many characters, locations and subplots it feels as though you were watching 50 Marvel films concurrently without allowing you to be absorbed in anything that transpires on the screen. If you were to watch Avengers: Infinity War on Blu-ray or DVD and you'd fast forward the film all the way to the final 10 minutes, you wouldn't really miss anything. Getting to that point on the big screen without the convenience of fast-forwarding is a long, tedious chore. Like many Hollywood tentpole films, Avengers: Infinity War suffers from too much Spectactle and leaves you feeling empty instead of exhilarated. It's the equivalent of a bad one-night stand with a very climax that you wish would've ended much, much sooner. To be fair, some blockbusters, like great one night stands, can indeed be escapist fun even if they leave you feeling nothing at the end, but this one's yet another forgettable, escapist bore that overstays its welcome long before the end credits roll. The running time of 2 hours and 36 minutes feels more like 5 hours. Please be sure to stay through end credits for a stinger.

Number of times I checked my watch: 7
Released by Walt Disney Pictures.
Opens nationwide.


Directed by Sebastián Lelio


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Parade Deck Films.
Opens at Angelika Film Center, City Cinemas 123 and AMC/Loews Lincoln Square.

Rogers Park

Directed by Kyle Henry


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Opens at Cinema Village.
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