Avengers: Infinity War- Spoiler-Free Review

Credits: Marvel Studios

Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of the previous 10 years and 18 films of Marvel movies, and while the task of creating it must have been impossible, the Russo brothers, who also directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War. pulled it off, and they pulled it off incredibly well. This review will be SPOILER-FREE, and will contain absolutely no spoilers for Infinity War. The movie follows Thanos (Josh Brolin), who is on a path to collect all of the Infinity Stones, which would give him the power to wipe out half of the universe and more, and the Avengers’ attempts to stop him. Every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man, or more directly, The Avengers has been leading up to this and it manages to juggle an incredible cast of characters without falling over, largely due to the handling of it from directors Joe and Anthony Russo.

Avengers: Infinity War is an emotional, hilarious, sprawling ride that really doesn’t let you go for any of its near 3 hour runtime. It’s amazing just how huge this movie is: it takes characters that you’ve grown to know and love over the course of the last 18 movies and puts them in a place where you feel real peril. And quite possibly the most…awesome part of Infinity War is how it lets you see these heroes in ridiculously entertaining combinations you never imagined and it plays this up for maximum effect. It comes pretty close to being perfect, but sadly, is not and runs into some problems just because of the sheer size of its cast.

Credits: Marvel Studios

The tone of this movie is something very interesting, as it manages to take each individual feel of all of the previous movies and combine them in a way that highlights each hero. However, this tone does feel a bit jumbled sometimes, as it moves from dark to a bit too jokey. This is also one of the darkest Marvel movies yet, with heroes put in a situation that none of them are prepared for.

Marvel’s been killing it with their villains this year, with Killmonger and now Thanos, who ties with Killmonger and Loki as the best Marvel villain yet. First off, the CGI on Josh Brolin through motion capture is amazing: Thanos really does look great and he really needed to, as he interacts with humans for so much of the movie. This is not a villain who is evil for the sake of being evil: Thanos is the star of this movie, and it is told mainly from his perspective, which is both refreshing and super compelling to watch. He gets development, and you really get to see why he’s doing what he’s doing and you even sympathize with him. And Josh Brolin’s performance is fantastic, which really drives the whole thing home.

Credits: Marvel Studios

And perhaps the most anticipated part of the movie, the character dynamics. What I myself was most excited about here was seeing these characters get to interact in new ways, and it definitely delivers. The heroes are paired up in really fun, exciting ways and get to play off each other a lot.

This feels like a blockbuster Marvel movie in a lot of ways, and the action is phenomenal. It’s like nothing you’ve seen before and is really stunning. The heroes get to interact in really fun ways that make the action super entertaining, especially in the third act. It’s amazing how it’s all done in the end, and the movie switches between a few fight sequences pretty deftly, always keeping you engrossed in them. The fight choreography here is like if the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War were blown up to include every superhero from every MCU movie yet. It’s truly dazzling and is so entertaining to watch. The visuals in this movie are the best that the MCU has done yet. Black Panther had pretty spotty CGI, but this utilizes all of its budget and really makes everything feel realistic. So much of it is CGI and how believable everything looks and how we’re transported into this world is incredible. Between some completely CGI characters and some entirely CGI locations, this film really deserves credit in this area.  Avengers: Infinity War is also a super funny movie. The character dynamics, as said before, bring a lot of humor, and all of it hits hard. Despite how dour and hopeless it may seem, there are a lot of crowd-pleasing, genuinely hilarious jokes in this movie largely due to so many characters getting to interact for the first time.

Credits: Marvel Studios

In a lot of blockbuster movies today, the plot shows that the universe is at stake, but we never really feel that peril and danger. Here, because we’ve gotten to know all of these characters and because of the legitimately terrifying villain, we feel like our characters are in danger. This movie is possibly the most emotional Marvel movie yet. No spoilers, but it makes some extremely unexpected choices and the audience is definitely very affected by the emotional stakes. There are also some very devastating surprises, jaw-dropping surprises that is sure to keep the audience guessing, and they are extremely effective. The shocking ending is arguably the best part of the movie and made me extremely intrigued as to what will happen in the sequel next year. This movie manages to not only fulfill what you wanted out of it, but leaves you at a cliffhanger that makes the wait for next year’s Avengers 4 very, very hard.  Infinity War is almost three hours, but definitely doesn’t feel it. It doesn’t let go until the credits roll, and is a sprawling, very well-paced movie. The way that it’s edited allows you to feel the weight of all of the storylines at the same time, and there’s close to nothing that feels too dragged out. However, there are a few parts around the first two acts that could have been cut down, which I’LL touch on later. Every storyline is moving with such urgency, especially in the second half to defeat this villain that you get caught up with it and don’t really feel the runtime.  My main issue with this movie is that not all of the heroes get to be in the spotlight. Obviously, with as many characters as there are, it would be impossible for them all to get a chance to shine, but there were some heroes who were made out to have a bigger role that ended up being…just there. While the movie is incredibly satisfying in a lot of aspects, it felt lacking here. Some areas in the first half really could have been cut out to give some characters more of a leading role.

Credits: Marvel Studios

This movie will really not make as much of an impact if you haven’t seen any of the other Marvel movies. It also requires a bit of prior knowledge, but not so much that movie doesn’t make sense if you haven’t seen any of them.  If you’re not a fan of superhero movies, this is not the movie for you, as is a lot of that.  If you’ve seen at least 3 or 4 Marvel movies, you will care about these characters and it will make a very large impact on you. But for fans who have seen every MCU movie, this movie will be immensely satisfying (make sure to stay for the post-credits teaser!).

Avengers: Infinity War is a movie that is pretty close to being perfect. It’s based around the villain, but lucky for it, that villain is great. It has spectacular action, a few emotionally crushing twists, and awesome combinations of characters that you know and love. This is a movie that was definitely made for the fans, but is so much more than that. It’s a movie that had so much pressure leading up to it, but worked incredibly well.

Rating: 9.0/10

Credits: Marvel Studios

Ready Player One- Movie Review

Credit: Warner Bros.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One is based on the novel by Ernest Cline set in a dystopian 2045 about the virtual reality world called the OASIS that was created by eccentric billionaire James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Before he died, he created a contest to find a secret Easter Egg he hid in the game where the winner inhabits full control of the OASIS. The book’s novelty was that it was crammed to the rim with pop culture references, and the movie doesn’t skimp on these references either.

Ready Player One was a ton of fun, and a super entertaining Spielberg movie that manages to give the audience every single reference and callback it could get its hands on without feeling too distracting. Personally, I had pretty low expectations of  Ready Player One from the trailers alone and I thought that it would rely too much on this gimmick of pop culture references after more pop culture references, but it handled that aspect just fine and the references, while fun to spot, don’t take away from the overall movie. A general complaint about the book is that a lot of the references feel sometimes shoehorned in, and some parts of the book are just lists of pop culture beloved by Halliday. Luckily, that’s not too present in the movie, and although there are references galore, they’re not just blatantly listed or name-dropped. That’s not the only thing changed by the movie. It removes and changes large sections of the book, with all of the challenges to find the Egg being different from the book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just a heads-up to big fans of the book (myself included): the spirit of the book is still there, although big parts of the plot and world are changed.

Credit: Warner Bros.

The performances from all of the cast are superb. Tye Sheridan is great as Parzival/Wade Watts (his OASIS/real world name), the main hero of the movie, a kid who goes on the hunt for Halliday’s egg. We’re always rooting for Wade throughout the movie, and Sheridan’s charismatic believable performance helps. Olivia Cooke is also terrific as Art3mis, a fellow avatar on the hunt for the Easter Egg. Her character is endlessly cool and gets to kick quite a bit of butt in the OASIS as well as gets a solid backstory and part in the real world. Mark Rylance is fantastic as James Halliday and really brings a lot to the character. He gives a very eccentric performance that fits the writing of the character well and gets one great scene near the end. Ben Mendelsohn plays the CEO of the company IOI, Nolan Sorrento, who wants to take over the OASIS, and has a lot of fun with the role. His character gets a lot to do and is very entertaining throughout the whole movie. There is one performance from a secondary villain that feels really forced and just didn’t come off as believable.

Credit: Warner Bros.

As great as the cast is, few of the characters get arcs or any development at all. Many of the characters feel underwritten and are very surface-level: we learn the gist of their character, and they aren’t fleshed out much and don’t advance at all over the course of the movie. The supporting characters are especially subject to this: we don’t really get to know a ton about any of them and they just sort of show up to fill out their role in the story. Even Parzival and Art3mis, the “main” characters, get very scarce arcs and remain very much the same throughout. Again, their characters are very fun to watch, but they don’t get developed much.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Steven Spielberg is behind the camera here and gives us a movie that really does feel like a spectacle. He’s a very visual director, and utilizes the giant budget to give us something that feels awesome as much as it looks awesome: the chase sequences are thrilling and we always feel transported inside of the OASIS whenever we enter it. Speaking of the visuals in this movie, it looks amazing. Much of the OASIS is CGI, and the way it’s rendered is vibrant, immersive, and realistic, but at the same time feels like it’s another world. The CGI on the characters (inside the OASIS, that is) is fantastic as well.

Credit: Warner Bros.

This really is a movie made for people that love movies and pop culture as much as the characters do, but that’s not to say that it’s not accessible to everyone else. There are SO MANY REFERENCES which is definitely appealing to movie and video game fans (like myself) as well as fans of the book, but it doesn’t alienate the movie to everyone else: it’s a perfectly enjoyable movie all the same. Some of the references are really fun to watch on screen: seeing the Batmobile race against a DeLorean from Back to the Future and seeing the Iron Giant fill up the screen in a giant battle alongside various recognizable video game characters is something that you’re not going to get anywhere else. There is also one sequence that’s essentially a living Easter Egg, which I’m not going to give away here, that is one of the best scenes in the movie and is super entertaining to watch. Ready Player One does have a nice message at the end and it’s interesting to see these characters going into the OASIS to escape the harsh realities of the real world: this was one of the more intriguing concepts in the book, and it’s explored here a little bit as well. As great as other parts of the script are, the romance between Parzival and Art3mis took a big hit when the book was converted into a 2 and a half hour movie. in the book, their relationship is a little bit more believable because they actually get time to know each other, but in the movie, it feels quite rushed. Parzival claims he develops serious feelings for Art3mis after only a few exchanges and this leads to scenes revolving around their romance feeling forced, even. Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke have solid chemistry, but the writing of their characters’ relationship isn’t great.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Alan Silvestri, who did the score for Back to the Future, composed the score for this movie, and it was great. It’s thrilling, grand, and really fits the spectacle of the movie. The soundtrack as well is filled with fun 80s hits that pair with the endless 80s references as well.

Ready Player One is 2 and a half hours long, and it mostly utilizes that well. It’s a very fast-paced movie, and never really feels boring. Brisk as the pacing is, the movie does drag on too much in the third act. It could have been much tighter, had it cut out a good 20 or so minutes near the end.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Ready Player One is a super fun time and proves to go beyond its (still awesome) references, with great performances and gorgeous visuals, although it does run into a few problems involving the supporting characters and length.

Rating: 7.3/10