Avengers: Infinity War

4.5 out of 5 stars

Let’s bring the Infinity War week to an end by answering the most important question: Is it any good?

Though the Marvel Studios have managed to release one feature film after the other without screwing up, they have well proven their ability to fail with some of their more underwhelming series on Netflix. So I could nothing but hope that I wouldn’t be disappointed by their climactic showdown that could set an end to all the comic book movies (which of course it won’t).

The chance of failure was not unlikely, given the high bar they kept raising in the last ten years and the sheer scope of the whole undertaking.

Well, we all knew Marvel Studios’ lucky streak would come to an end one day – A sad day.

But that day is not today. Holy fucking moly! What a fantastic ride! Oh yes, it’s good. I mean: g o o d. It’s spectacular! Thank you Marvel Studios to let your first 10 amazing years end on such a high note, giving a now grown up man all the comic book movie his 9-year-old self would never even have dreamed of.

I have often claimed to regret to be too young to have seen the original «Star Wars» when it first was theatrically released. But that’s a low price to pay to be alive and well today and be able to enjoy wonderful things like «Avengers: Infinity War».

Post Scriptum:

Thank You pic.twitter.com/IP3tLSwQmS

Doctor Strange

4 out of 5 stars

I’m not even mad…

…not even mad that «Doctor Strange’s» script is a bit shallow and the characters are not as rich as I’d hoped them to be.
I’m not even disappointed that this time, Marvel can’t quite pull it off: At least not as masterfully as they’ve done before in «Thor» and «Guardians of the Galaxy», when they obliterated any doubt that without any question, a norse god or a talking, dancing tree weren’t just a good idea, but just belonged on that screen, in that movie, in that story, at that time.

So yes, compared to other movies in the MCU, «Doctor Strange» might be on the weaker side, but it sure looks pretty. And sometimes, (given a solid, but not great structure) that’s enough. Yeah, I know, form follows function, blablabla… but just look at it, it’s so shiny!

This is the moment where I have to admit that my brain’s probably still numbed by the film’s orgasmic kaleidoscopic visual bombardment:
While I may have gotten used to Marvel’s almost perfect, nearly unperceivable visual effects (e.g. «Civil War’s» airport battle), in «Doctor Strange» you really SEE the visuals at work, doing the heavy lifting – in a good way, even artful. There were hints of this kind of imagery in «Ant-Man» but never before where they used to create such an abstract, rich and layered world as in «Doctor Strange». 
We were promised a psychedelic trip – the Doctor’s universe sure delivers. The magic realm just looks fantastic, and for once, even the 3D almost seems justified.

Although the movie is by far neither as funny nor as clever as «Civil War» and kinda feels like the introvert cousin of «Iron Man», it’s still a most entertaining, highly recommendable and enjoyable ride.

And not to forget: The Cumberbatch is strong in this one! He’s all the Doctor Strange I could wish for… and more: As I remember reading the comics back in the day, Strange was quite the earnest, even stiff dandy. But Cumberbatch does his magic and nails it: He makes the character his own while staying true to the source material. Grounded, but surreal. Tragic (a bit), but funny (very).

Seeing the glass half full, maybe I’m even grateful that this time, Marvel did themselves a favour by lowering their own high bar a tiny little bit, bringing the audience’s expectations back to a reasonable level for the coming last bits of Marvel’s phase three, especially the unfathomable «Infinity War».

And yes, there are TWO post-credit scenes.

Demon in a Bottle

Just re-watching me some Marvel movie goodness and realized that one of the few nods to Tony Stark’s alcoholism (a feature I’d always considered to be central to the character) in the current MCU will probably be Stark’s shitfaced appearance in the nineties flashback at the beginning of «Iron Man 3».

Not to be complaining, I think his daddy issues work just fine as a character trait/motivation,… maybe even better considering his role in «Captain America 3: Civil War», without being too dark. 

Nonetheless I can’t shake off the thought that almost 10 years ago, the powers that where considered Robert Downey Jr.’s drug-related history might be a suitable association for the well-informed comic book fan waiting for the next superhero movie to come (of which there weren’t that many around at the time).

iron-man-128-demon-in-a-bottle

Of course, that was before we all learned how truly, perfectly Robert Downey Jr. IS IRON MAN and, even without the booze, was defining Tony Stark for the big screen, clearing the path for a franchise we all learned to enjoy in a way we thought we never could. 

(Now that I think of it, there was some heavy drinking in Iron Man part 2, but that didn’t lead anywhere either.)

Demon in a Bottle

PS: This is getting better and better: I think I just spotted a «The Silence of the Lambs» easter egg in «Iron Man 3» (in which the US-president is strung up in the «Iron Patriot» suit. I think the sound given at that moment supports that theory.)