Film Review: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (USA 2018) ***1/2

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Avengers: Infinity War Poster

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.


Anthony RussoJoe Russo


Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by) |9 more credits »


The first of two AVENGERS INFINITY WAR films, this is the most anticipated super action hero movie of the year and most expensive Marvel/Disney film with an estimated budget of $300-$400 million. But much of the filming had been done back to back with its sequel.

The film boasts all the marvel superheroes led by Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).  The Avengers combine forces with the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and gang to fight the most evil of all villains, Thanos (Josh Brolin) who wants to control the Universe.  In order to succeed, he has to possess 5 infinity stones, stones that were formed with the creation of the universe during the Big Bang, whatever sense this makes.  The stones are space, reality, power, should, mind and time.  There is no need to question the names or reason for these elements but the script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely takes the story very, very seriously.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have never met the Marvel fighters, so their first meeting is done tongue-in-cheek, resulting in some humour.

There is no messing around with the Marvel superheroes, unlike the mess Warner Bros. created with the D.C. comics i.e. Batman’s identity known to everyone; Superman dying and returning to life.  Comic book and super hero fans should not be disappointed with the treatment of their super heroes in this film.  Almost every Marvel hero is present, the list too long to mention.  Of all, a few appear more (Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Spiderman, Dr. Strange) than others (White Wolf, Heimdall).  Humour is provided by one-liners and banter resulting from enmity among the Super Heroes, like between Dr. Strange and Iron Man.  Some emotion is provided during the Thanos/daughter confrontation.

For the most expensive Marvel production, the film is stunning to look at and there is no shortage of CGI and special effects.  Needless to say, it is best to pay a bit extra to watch the film in the best viewing environment be it in IMAX or 3-D.

A satisfactory action film always depends on a good villain.  Credit is given to the impressive performance of Josh Brolin who plays Thanos, the intergalactic despot from Titan who longs to collect all of the Infinity Stones in order to impose his will on the Universe.  Thanos is in the most scenes in the film, even more than Iron Man, Dr. Strange or Thor.  Thanos is so powerful that his size towers over all the super heroes.  He does not have to wear armour and his strength and might grows as he acquires more of the infinity stones.

At the press screening, reviewers were reminded to preserve the magic of movie storytelling by not revealing any surprises and plot twists in any coverage.  The film does not have as many as in the STAR WARS films, but there are a few, including some deaths and story surprises.

This film paves the way for the final part of the storm, which judging from this film should be a hit critically and at the box-office.


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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Poster
Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.


Jake Kasdan


Chris McKenna (screenplay by), Erik Sommers(screenplay by) | 4 more credits »


Jake Kasdan (son of Lawrence Kasdan) takes over the director reins from Joe Johnston who made the original JUMANJI movie where back when with the late Robin Williams.  JUMANJI WELCOME TOTHE JUNGLE is a stand-alone sequel paying tribute to Williams.

Kasdan’s lazy script is cliche ridden with the typical fairy tale adventure aimed at pre-teens.  The story is nothing remarkable.  It all begins when a father discovers a hidden boardgame covered in the sand while jogging on the beach.  He gives it to his son, Alex who is more interested in video games (the year is 1996).  Overnight, the game changes so that the box’s contents are now a video game cartridge, but when Alex puts it in his console and turns it on, he vanishes.

20 years later, a high school detention group finds the video game in the detention room .  They decide to play the game, each player taking on a game character.  They get sucked into the game each transforming into the game character they picked,  The premise is that they have to  win the game in order to get back out of the game to their normal lives.  

The four game players are Spencer Gilpin (transformed into Dwayne Johnson), his former best friend, Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (Kevin Hart), who he helped with his homework by writing Fridge’s essays for him.  The other two are Bethany Walker (yes, Jack Black), a beautiful girl who was caught talking on her phone during a quiz and Martha Kaply (Karen Gillian), a socially awkward girl who objected to being made to participate in gym class. 

They find themselves in a jungle, all four are shaken to realize that they have become the avatars they chose for the game, with the result that Fridge is now a short zoologist, Bethany is now an overweight middle-aged man, Martha is a beautiful athletic woman, and Spencer is a muscular, tough man.  The group encounter Nigel, who lays claim to the legendary gem, the “Jaguar’s Eye”.  The removal of the gem from the large jaguar statue will grant the villain Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) control over the animals of Jumanji.  In order to complete the game, the players must return the gem to the jaguar statue and call out “Jumanji”.

As a game movie, the under-exciting Jumanji game is overlooked for the villain Van Pelt and his motorcycle gang.  The game contains several levels that the players must complete, a missing piece in the form of Alex (Nick Jonas) and a few other uninteresting bits.  But the motorcycle chases are not much more exciting either.

The cliched story involves each high school charter learning to be better people while transformed into their avatars.  Fridge and Spencer learn the meaning of true friendship, Bethany learns that there is a world outside herself and her cell phone while Martha develops social skills.

The film takes a while to secure a footing.  What makes the film work is the great ensemble acting from all the main stars.  Black turns out to be the funniest as the transformed Bethany still possessing her girly mannerisms.  The funniest segment is Black teaching Gillian how to be sexy and seduce the transport guards and her after performing what she had learnt.

The film is more suited to a younger crowd, who appear to be cheering and laughing thigh the promo screening.  For adults, the film should also be enjoyable enough.


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