MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Stay on target Is Avengers: Infinity War good?Yes!Oh, thank goodness!Yeah, because there was a chance in hell anyone wasn’t going to go see this regardless of what any critic had to say on the matter.…shut up.Do you want the review or not?Yes please.Okay. Short version: Very good, better than the second, not as good as the first, not as good as Guardians 2 or Black Panther more recently. I’m not going to say if anyone lives or dies or give away big plot details, but some of this may or may not qualify as extremely mild plot spoilers so… keep that in mind.Got it. So what’s this one about?Thanos (Josh Brolin) is finally up out of his space-chair and it turns out he really is as dangerous as everyone kept saying: He wants to kill exactly half of the entire universe because… reasons. He needs to get a full set of The Infinity Stones (magic space rocks that have played minor-to-major roles in various prior Marvel movies) to do so in the quickest way possible. And the circumstances of his attempts to get them bring the scattered component members of the Avengers, Guardians of The Galaxy, Black Panther’s crew in Wakanda and otherwise-unaffiliated players like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange together in surprising variations across multiple countries, planets, and galaxies to slow and/or stop him. It opens strong, get’s a little shaggy in the middle and ends on an incredibly ballsy cliffhanger (because there’s at least one more of these before a bunch of the “big guns” contracts expire).Is this more of a funny Marvel movie or more serious?Probably more serious, though I’m given to say that’s kind of an unfairly binary distinction. It doesn’t have as rapid a rate of jokes as, say, Ant-Man or the Guardians movies do because not all of the characters joke around as their main form of expression. But I don’t know how you make movies about giant lumpy purple spacemen collecting magic rocks but being thwarted by teenagers in insect costumes, wizards, and talking raccoons. This all while other people with names like “Captain America” and “War Machine” have very, very serious conversations about how to protect invisible African future-cities from alien lizard-goblins. This is all very silly stuff, if you’re not having fun even during the “serious” life-or-death stuff I’m not sure what the point even is?But, yes, this is the “high stakes” one and the result is something very much like a “superhero It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” (or Cannonball Run?) to the original Avengers’ “superhero Rat Pack caper.” In which the plot is at once labyrinthine and portentous yet also superfluous and utterly beside the point.In what sense?In the sense that this is what’s really been the secret to the good Marvel movies this whole time: All the “continuity” stuff only feels like it’s necessary, but it really it only matters as much as you want it to. So if you’re a sad dork who actually cares about dumb lore nonsense (like me) it’s there, it all lines up and you can have fun with it. But if you’re a psychologically healthy person with friends and a well-adjusted life, and you haven’t been wasting your life keeping track of where all the magic rocks are and all the other stupid nerd bullshit between movies… you can still just walk right in because it’s not really that important and what matters is the characters, personalities and the dramatic narrative.What were your favorite/least favorite parts?We’d be verging into spoiler territory for almost anything I could say, honestly. Though I think it’s safe to admit (carefully) that I was tempted to add another half-star to this review entirely because of a single character cameo that I never expected to see again that nearly made me jump out of my seat – even though it makes exactly ZERO sense for them to be there, have the information that they do or be serving this particular function. Don’t care. Still glad they’re back.Okay. Who makes the strongest impression?Shockingly… it’s actually Thanos. For once, the evergreen Marvel movie boast that “the villain could actually be the main character!” is not only correct but feels intentional and thematic appropriate: Thanos is very much the main character here. He’s driving the narrative; he has the goal to reach, the arc to follow, the origin to explore and (in part by virtue of being the “featured” player we know the least about beforehand) the most interesting characterization. It’s really something to see this big lumpy alien stomping around with his golden armor and silly magic glove full of universe-ending Lucky Charms pieces being “underplayed” as a soft-spoken, contemplative sociopath – really fascinating decision. It might actually be one of Josh Brolin’s most interesting performances ever, motion-capture or not.Are you being serious?I am. Without spoiling, he gets a new origin/motivation here that’s different from the one comics fans may have been expecting but serves to frame him as something like the most extreme version possible of the idea that the best bad guy is the one who’s sure he’s the good guy. He’s a madman, sure (and unlike Loki or Killmonger or whoever his goals aren’t really relatable or sympathetic in any way;) but there’s a clearly-defined “logic” behind the horrible thing he’s trying to accomplish that lets Brolin take his performance to some fascinating places. In some respects you could take him as an absurdist caricature of the whole archetype of somber, suffering, self-righteous hero our media has been drowning in of late; these stoic, gravely-seriously Daddy Figures so burdened by the psychic weight of what “must be done” and that only they can thanklessly bear on our behalf.What doesn’t work as well?Unfortunately, the repeated (correct!) decision to not stop the other films cold for dumb exposition about magic space rocks means that eventually parts of this one have to be stopped cold for dumb exposition about magic space rocks and there just doesn’t seem to be a way to make “The Infinity Stones” themselves as interesting as your one wrong friend who still thinks Thor: The Dark World is one of the good movies insists they are.It’s also “odd” that the narrative decided that “YOU HAVE TO DO THE THING TO STOP HIM FROM GETTING THE STONE!!!” “NO! DOING THAT SPECIFIC THING WILL CAUSE GREAT EMOTIONAL PAIN TO ME, PERSONALLY!!!” was such a strong beat that it could be repeated like 4 or 5 times… but I suspect the problem is less diminishing returns and more that those sorts of moral dilemmas are directly proportionate to how much we care about the characters they’re imposed upon; i.e. “Whoa! I can’t believe we’re doing this here instead of their own movie!” in some instances versus “I don’t know anyone who cares about what happens to [redacted] as much as the movie thinks someone out there must.”But you recommend it?Yes! It’s entirely possible that Infinity War is the ultimate example of a blockbuster so absurdly refined and well-polished that ANY reaction other than basic admiration for solid spectacle craftsmanship is going to be wholly contingent on which characters and “pieces” making up the whole are your favorites and whether you feel serviced or shortchanged. But yeah, they’ve still “got it” and (without spoiling) it feels like the stage is very much set for “it” to become something else entirely, so here’s to another ten years – maybe.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.