This Is The End – Avengers: Infinity War * spoiler free review

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The Marvel films have always struggled with villains, it’s a frequently heard complaint that few villains beyond Loki and, arguably, Erik Killmonger, have left too much of an impression. So let’s get this right out there – not only was Thanos worth waiting for, but he instantly ranks at the top of the hall of infamy.

There was concern that the Mad Titan would be a let down, that he couldn’t possibly live up to the almost ten-year build which has led us to this point. But the combination of a wonderfully layered performance from Josh Brolin and superlative animation effects work brings Jim Starlin’s deranged creation to full, terrifying life in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War.

This feat is even more impressive in a film which (as I’m sure you know from the hype) brings together all the expected characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and perhaps even some unexpected ones).

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo (and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) do a splendid job of pulling together an increasingly active number of franchises, giving most characters a neat arc and/or several great moments, though there are exceptions, inevitable even with a two-hour forty minute running time, and a certain amount of shorthand is definitely at play. That they manage this without spending an hour on exposition is a minor miracle, and a testament to deft storytelling (and the good will engendered by eighteen previous films).

There’s an undeniable frisson of excitement (especially for a Marvel geek like me) to see new combinations of characters, having Spider-Man and Doctor Strange interact left me with the biggest grin on my face, but the filmmakers know they need more than just a Marvel Team-Up to make a satisfying film.

There are real stakes here, literally the fate of the universe (or half of it… you’ll see…) hangs in the balance, with a number of different strands occurring in different locations on different worlds, and the action feels all the more vital because Marvel have taken the time to build these worlds and make us care for the characters. And it’s no spoiler to say your emotions will really be put through the wringer – I wept a solitary, manly tear on more than one occasion.

But don’t think the threat of the universe coming to an end or talk of tears means it’s all doom and gloom: this is a thrill-a-minute adventure that hits the ground running and barely lets up on the action, but as usual it’s mixed in with some fabulous and funny character interplay – Thor with Peter Quill and Doctor Strange with Tony Stark bring unexpected delights.

There’s also a distinct feel here of the beginning of a changing of the guard – the first ten years of Marvel movies has seen a very definite roster of characters and Infinity War shows us that the company’s willingness to shake things up is part of what makes them so successful, and which lends even more weight to the story, of course. Even the obligatory post-credit scene nods in that direction (it’s a nod that literally made me whoop in the cinema).

Is there a downside to all this? I suspect that a casual filmgoer would be rather lost but y’know in that case, get with the Marvel game like the rest of the population, I guess.

Avengers: Infinity War is a huge, and hugely exciting, comic book, sci-fi epic that really sees the gutsy long-game approach taken by Marvel pay off, giving us the Empire Strikes Back of their bold, long form narrative, and finally giving the Marvel Cinematic Universe its own Darth Vader, a cosmic villain with a welcome emotional core.

And really, so as not to wander into the spoiler zone, that’s about all I can say, except that this is the huge Marvel adventure we’ve been waiting for.

This is the end*… but bring on May 3, 2019 and Avengers 4 as soon as possible please, I only have so many fingernails left to chew through.

*Speaking of the end, you KNOW to stay right through to the very end of the credits, right…!?

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Here Comes Thanos! The Final Avengers: Infinity Wars Is Rather Exciting.

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There’s really not a heck of a lot I can say about this trailer. If you’re not down for Marvel’s All-Star Mash Up by now then there’s probably nothing more here to convince you. You are hopelessly wrong, of course.

For the rest of us, April 27th really can’t arrive quickly enough as Avengers: Infinity War is the beginning of the culmination of ten years of narrative and the chance to see all of Marvel’s flagship characters facing off against the big, bad and purple cosmic Trump, Thanos (as played by Josh Brolin). And seen here? Spider-Man and Dr.Strange, together on screen for the first time! Oh boy! Captain America going mano y mano with Thanos! Gosh!

Marvel have gotten particularly adept and not blowing their wads in trailers and this still feels mighty restrained to me. What do you think? Are Marvel still playing their cards close to their chests?

I’ll see you in the theater in just over a month. I’ll be the one hyper-ventilating.

Epic! The Avengers: Infinity War Trailer Is Here…

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The trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has landed and, wow… you need to see this:


I know, right!?

It’s not the same trailer that wowed audiences at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con (yes, yes, I peaked at the leaked version) but if anything it feels even more epic.

Rumours are running rife that this may be the last time we see some of these characters (at least in their present forms), so better make the most of… hm, well, that would be telling, right!? In the meantime, we can look forward to the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe mash-up of The Avengers, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy as they face up against the Josh Brolin-shaped cosmic might of Thanos.

Avengers: Infinity War arrives May 8th, 2018. The hype starts here…

Black Panther – The Revolution Will Be Televised!

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You know how some days are – non-stop work, no time to think, you come home exhausted and… there’s a new trailer for Marvel’s Black Panther waiting for you. Result!

Feast your eyes on this and we’ll talk more after…

Well, that looks cool as heck, right!? Ryan Coogler’s take on the hidden nation of Wakanda is spectacular, and looks ready to open up a whole, new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And with that truly amazing cast Black Panther is shaping up to be another in the increasingly refreshing run of Marvel movies led by Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok.

As a bonus you can ogle the lovely new poster, below.

Black Panther opens on February 16th and that date can’t arrive quickly enough.

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Hail to the King – The Black Panther Trailer Kicks Ass!

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Black Panther is an important film for Marvel Studios, and in its way an important film, period. A huge franchise movie written and directed by black talent and featuring a fabulous and diverse cast with its black stars front and centre, it’s a movie which speaks for our times in an incredibly positive way.

We shouldn’t have to point up these things, but now the moment is here it seems churlish not to celebrate it, so it’s great to see that what’s being delivered looks astonishingly cool and majorly kick ass. Also, props to the great use of Legend Has It, by Run The Jewels.

Directed by Creed’s Ryan Coogler, co-written by Coogler with Joe Robert Cole and headed up by the likes of Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o,  Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis, Black Panther will expand on the hidden African nation of Wakanda, as glimpsed briefly in Captain America: Civil War.

For a whole bunch of reasons this is a film that feels very much overdue, so sit back and enjoy what looks like Marvel firing on all cylinders. Hail to the King!

Marvel release magical new Doctor Strange trailer.

“We only want to come when we have a LOT of stuff to show you,” said Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios in his introduction at the Hall H presentation of the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con.

After debuting a new studio logo, which will now play before all their movies, with a new musical fanfare by Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Star Trek 2009), he brought to the stage the cast (Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan, who will play Erik Killmonger; Lupita Nyong’o, taking the role of Nakia; and Danai Gurira as Okoye) and director (Ryan Coogler) of Black Panther (and revealing a new logo for that film).

Feige followed this by revealing a whole bunch of art and designs (and new logo) for Thor: Ragnarok (which promises to include elements of classic comic book story, Planet Hulk – imagine the green giant in an outer space gladiatorial arena – as well as being a buddy movie). Directed by Flight of the Conchords’ Taika Waititi, the film looks like it will contain a broader streak of humour than previous Thor movies, and – alongside Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo – features Cate Blanchett as the villain, Hela.

Next up, director Scott Derrickson introduced his cast for the highly anticipated Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams and Benedict Wong). Cumberbatch took to the stage in a wild, smoke-filled laser light show, and premiered a second, and far stronger trailer for the film.

The presentation is still going on as I post this and I’ll be sure to bring more news as it hits, but Feige wasn’t exaggerating when he said Marvel had a lot to show!

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Marvel logo source: JoBlo Movie Trailers