Avengers: Infinity War

Okay, so it’s finally landed and as promised, it’s an absolute epic. Just about every Disney/Marvel character from the past decade makes an appearance – that’s about twelve leading characters in all, and to be honest I wasn’t sure how they were going to handle it; that is a lot of people to pack in a movie set to run for two-and-a-half hours.

Well … they pulled it off, and I think I see how they did it.

So you’ve got Thor, the Black Panther, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of The Galaxy, Spider-man and the Avengers in one movie, fighting a common enemy on Earth and in space, and that was what the movie was about: the common enemy: Thanos, possibly the most powerful and complex villain in Comicdom.

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So instead of trying to divide the audience attention between too many heroes and their problems and personality defects, the directors focussed on Thanos and his very simple agenda: eliminate half the population of the universe. What makes him so fascinating as a villain trul is that believes he’s doing this for the greater good (there aren’t enough resources in the universe to support its ever-increasing population, so a drastic “correction” is needed). Yup, lots of villains reckon they’re on the side of the greater good, but Thanos is willing to sacrifice anything to achieve his aim, no matter what the cost to himself.

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For thousands of years, Thanos has an enjoyed an on-off relationship with the universal embodiment of death…

Who survives his universe genocide will not be a choice based company in wealth, race, age or religion – it’s a choice the universe itself will make completely at random (though I imagine he’s going to make sure he’s safe). Thanos himself is brilliantly played by Josh Brolin (who’ll be pulling double duty as Cable in the next Deadpool movie) and a lot of CGI. The rest of the cast does an excellent job even though they’re support players to the villain’s master plan. There’s a lot of humour, a lot of tense interaction between the people trying to save the universe, and considering how much screen time has to be shared between so many people, you still get the sense that the characters are more than two-dimensional. That couldn’t have been easy, but it was probably helped by the fact that we know them so well already.

The story works, the plot hangs together (a small miracle in itself), and Marvel Studios continues to kill it when it comes to set action pieces and special effects (this has got to be one of the most expensive movies ever made). It’s edge of your seat stuff from start to finish, so don’t even think you’ll have time to nip out for a comfort break.

An easy ten out of ten.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

This one's from the extraordinary visual imagination of Luc Besson; you might remember him: the chap who brought us the brilliant Fifth Element many many years ago? So if nothing else, Valerian and the City of the Thousand Planets would be a treat for the eyes. And it was a treat for the eyes; unfortunately, it was pretty much nothing else.

Okay, in terms of scope, artwork, imagination and attention to detail, then this is something of a masterpiece, especially when you think that the movie was made outside of Hollywood. The scenery is breathtaking, the aliens are inspired (though some of them did look as if they'd been recycled from the Fifth Element). If that sort of thing floats your boat (it certainly floats mine) then it's well worth the rather drawn-out two hours and fifteen minutes you'll have to spare to sit through it. But in terms of storyline, script and performance then I'm afraid it misses its mark by a good light year.

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The main problem with the film is that while it was concentrating so hard on being the movie equivalent of a catwalk model, it sort of forgot what it was trying to be; it blended action scenes, bits of history with a rambling and uninspired love story.

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Film review: Wonder Woman

Okay, this is was a swings and roundabouts sort of a deal for me. They got a lot of stuff right, but I still think they have a way to go before they match the sheer awesomeness of Guardians of the Galaxy or The Age Of  Ultron.

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Okay, so what did they get right. Well, first off: Gal Gadot. This was a courageous and inspired piece of casting. I can imagine the punch-ups around the water cooler when someone suggested putting a near-unknown in the armoured corset, rather than someone with a more Johanssenesque quality.  Well, the gamble paid off; Gadot brings a sort of naive, willful determination to the role, which was a welcome relief from the square-jawed stoicism we saw in Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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