‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Film Review: Suppose They Gave an Infinity War and Everybody Came?

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There’s an old joke among comics fans: No one in superhero stories ever stays dead except for Bruce Wayne’s parents. So if there’s a body count in “Avengers: Infinity War” — and relax, this review aims to be as spoiler-free as possible, lest Disney unleash the hounds — it might be a little premature to start carving headstones.

After all, this entire movie revolves around an all-powerful deus ex MacGuffin known as the Infinity Gauntlet, which Thanos (Josh Brolin) seeks to possess. A most Malthusian supervillain, Thanos intends to wipe out half of the beings in existence so that the other half may know peace, prosperity and plenty. Sure, Ebenezer Scrooge might talk about decreasing the surplus population, but here’s a guy with an action plan to Make the Universe Great Again.

Thanos and the individual Infinity Stones that bedazzle the gauntlet have been woven throughout almost all of the preceding Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, so there’s an inescapable “It’s all been leading to this” portent about “Infinity War.” On the plus side, mashing up the entire MCU means we get to witness, for instance, the first meeting between New Yorkers Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), to say nothing of the interactions between, oh, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the royal house of Wakanda.

Watch Video: Doctor Strange and Star-Lord Team Up: See New ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Footage

On the down side, there are some 25 or so major characters we’ve gotten to know over the course of 18 MCU titles. This sort of mammoth crossover is a staple of comic books over the years, and in that medium, creators have splash pages and double spreads to spatially accommodate so many superheroes.

The solution that “Infinity War” devises to get them all into one movie is that it doesn’t; there’s a sequel coming, for which this film is in some ways a two-hour-plus trailer. The story ends with a very jarring cliffhanger, which fans may compare to “The Empire Strikes Back” while detractors cite the Part 1 of any recent bifurcated YA franchise finale.

Watch Video: Marvel Was So Secretive About ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Even Robert Downey Jr Wrote Fake Scripts

There will, I suspect, be more admirers of “Infinity War,” because it’s almost an archetypal example of fan service. Yes, the screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: Civil War”) scatters its many characters to various corners of the far-flung universe, leading to occasional whiplash-inducing “Meanwhile, in Scotland” cross-cutting, but the simplicity of the plotting (“Stop Thanos”) allows room for the character interaction and adrenaline-packed combat for which these films are famous.

But for all the delicious banter between Stark and Peter Parker (Tom Holland), or sweet nothings exchanged by Wanda (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (Paul Bettany), there are still a few missed opportunities for meaningful dialogue moments — looking at you, awkward reunion between Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) — that we can only hope will be seized in the as-yet-untitled “Avengers 4.”

Watch Video: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’: Bruce Banner and Doctor Strange Explain Thanos to Tony Stark

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo move their many playing pieces around with as much grace as possible, and they offer up jolts of pleasure throughout. The violence is ratcheted higher than usual — parents, please note we get both torture and genocide this time around — but the wisecracks still work; on this outing, the audience needs them more than usual, and the experienced cast knows how to throw them around as a way to keep their characters sane in the face of Armageddon.

The gargantuan ensemble does consistently fine work; the stand-outs include Holland, whose gee-whiz demeanor provides a welcome respite from the grim mood here, and new-to-the-MCU Carrie Coon, as one of Thanos’ fearsome lieutenants; when her character faces off with two of the series’ most ferocious female combatants, it still feels like a fair fight.

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If there’s one disappointment here, it’s Thanos as a villain, and that’s not in any way Brolin’s fault. (To be honest, part of the problem is a crude joke that Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord makes about Thanos’ face early on, which I couldn’t stop thinking about for the rest of the movie.) The character is more fearsome by his actions — he takes down a seemingly insurmountable foe with shocking ease — than in his dialogue, and his intent to wipe out trillions of living creatures gets subsumed by his chill demeanor. It’s like how Earth gets wiped out because of a bureaucratic error in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” only that bit of banal destruction was meant to be a joke.

Ultimately, Thanos is just a bland sociopath who will stop at nothing to complete his collection, which is a bold choice for a movie aimed at comic-book fans. It also doesn’t help that “Avengers: Infinity War” can’t seem to make up its mind about how powerful Thanos is. Even when his gauntlet is only half-full, it would appear that he could flick aside the worst that the Avengers aim his way, but then there’d be no movie.

Also Read: The Complete Timeline of Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, From ‘Iron Man’ to ‘Infinity War’

And in a way, there isn’t, or at least there won’t be a whole one until the sequel comes out. Anything we say now is still contingent on how the Russos and the writers wrap everything up next time. (And if they’re taking suggestions for how to reach their denouement, let me point out that Howard the Duck is still alive and well somewhere in the MCU.)

If you’re a viewer who binges TV dramas because you can’t wait a week to find out what happens, the implied “to be continued” at the end of “Infinity War” may drive you batty. But if you’ve been solidly along for the Marvel ride up to this point, you’ll enjoy this leg of the journey even if it hasn’t yet reached the terminal.

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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Takes Swing at $100 Million Opening

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Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the long-awaited solo debut of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is looking at a possible $100 million-plus opening at the domestic box office this weekend.

Independent trackers have the film making $90-110 million this weekend, with Sony Pictures projecting a more conservative $80 million from 4,341 locations.

By comparison, Sony’s last Spider-Man film, the Andrew Garfield-starring “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” opened to $91.6 million and went on to rack up a $202.8 million domestic cume ($708.9 million global).

The biggest opening for a Spidey film belongs to the Tobey Maguire era, with “Spider-Man 3” grossing $151 million in its opening and going on to gross $890.1 million worldwide in 2007.

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It’s only been 15 years since the first “Spider-Man” swung into theaters and kicked off the Marvel movie craze in earnest by becoming the first movie to open with more than $100 million.

Yet “Homecoming,” starring 20-year-old British actor Tom Holland as the teenage webslinger, marks the third reboot Spidey has received since then. But the circumstances surrounding this reboot are far different than the one that saw Garfield slip into the red and blue suit back in 2012.

Thanks to a deal made between Sony and Marvel Studios’ parent company, Disney, Holland made his debut as Spider-Man with a special cameo in last summer’s “Captain America: Civil War,” which served as a lead-in to this solo film. As part of the deal, Sony will get all of the box office revenue from “Homecoming,” while Marvel Studios retains merchandising rights.

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The deal also means that the godfather of the MCU, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, will play a supporting role in “Homecoming” as Peter Parker’s link to the Avengers is further developed.

With Holland set to appear as Spidey again in next year’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” Sony will be hoping that Marvel diehards who treat each new installment as a can’t-miss event will turn out as they have for “Civil War” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

“Homecoming,” directed by Jon Watts, has been as well-received as those films, currently holding a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Only the first “Avengers” and “Iron Man” films have posted a higher Tomatometer rating in the MCU canon.

Also Read: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Review: Marvel-Fueled Reboot Has a Good Sense of Spidey

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” takes place a few months after the events of “Civil War,” with Peter Parker returning to his double life as a high school student and neighborhood crime fighter in Queens, but yearning for another taste of the Avenger life that he experienced while fighting alongside Iron Man.

He hopes for the chance to prove he’s worthy of being a full-time Avenger, but gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a blue-collar weapons dealer named Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), who is selling deadly weapons made from alien technology taken from the Avengers’ first battle in New York.

The film also stars Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Laura Harrier, and Zendaya. Watts co-wrote the script with Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Dale, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers. Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal are producers.

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7 New Things We Learned About ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ in New Trailer (Photos)

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The official trailer for “Spider-Man: Homecoming” has hit the internet. While a few things were spelled out plainly — the comedy, the slice of life feel, and the classic coming-of-age Spidey story — the trailer was filled with less obvious moments that seem to reveal a lot. Let’s take a look.

Donald Glover‘s role in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is still a closely held secret, but he very briefly showed up in the trailer alongside this guy testing out what we assume is one of the Tinkerer’s weapons. It feels likely, then, that Glover is playing one of the bad guys.

The Tinkerer — a sort of sub-villain who makes weapons and equipment for bad guys — seemingly will play a big role in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” judging by the frequency with which weapons that look like the kind of things he would make appear in the trailer. There’s this one that bank robbers use to pull an ATM out of the wall, the grenade launcher-looking think a goon is using with Donald Glover and an energy weapon wielded by the movie’s real big bad, Vulture.

Along with Tony Stark serving as a mentor in the movie, it looks like he’ll be suiting up alongside Spidey for more than just a jaunt around the city. The trailer wraps with a shot of them taking to the sky, and if Tony’s suited up, it likely means that this isn’t just for funsies — looks like we’ll be getting some quality Iron Man action here.

Time for a field trip! But, of course, nothing ever goes smoothly for ole Peter Parker, and it looks like what could have been a chill trip to the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. ends up turning into a major set piece.

Behold, the wingsuit, which Spidey gets to show off on the previously mentioned field trip. Tony Stark stepped in to help his protege with an all-new (but only slightly adjusted) look. Familiar webbing stretches forward to give our hero that extra aerodynamic edge he needs to take a leap and websling his way around New York. his is the first time we’ve seen this look on screen, but it’s appeared in several iterations of the costume before. Web-wings are a common addition to most major Spider-verse costumes, including Silk’s and Spider-Gwen’s.

The “Spider-Man: Homecoming” trailer has arrived just in time to be thrown up in front of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which tells the tale of rebel freedom fighters and their quest to steal the plans for the Death Star. And, interestingly enough, the trailer sees Peter Parker’s best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) droppping a LEGO Death Star in reaction to seeing Peter climbing upside-down. Ouch! That’s some expert-level corporate synergy on Marvel’s end.

We get a glimpse of a showdown between Vulture and a maskless Spidey on the beach at Coney Island — which makes us this this glimpse may be of the climactic showdown.

32 Marvel Movie Heroes Ranked, From Dr. Strange to Iron Man to Rocket Raccoon (Photos)

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Dr. Strange is the latest addition to the MCU. How does Dr. Strange compare to other heroes like Thor, the Hulk and Ant Man?

We rate Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) alongside the likes of…

Quicksilver — Say what you will about the inconsistency of the “X-Men” films, but at least they’re doing something interesting with Evan Peters’ version of Quicksilver. The MCU version was just annoying…and now dead.

The Warriors Three — The bottom of the list is filled with Thor’s buddies from Asgard. One of them is a Gimli rip-off. The other two are faceless.

Heimdall — Now that Idris Elba is an internationally beloved star whom every fanboy wants to be in their favorite franchise, can we give Heimdall something fun to do in “Ragnarok”?

Lady Sif — She doesn’t have that much more character development than the Warriors Three, but she did get some time in the spotlight on “Agents of SHIELD.”

Gamora — It hurts to single her out, but while Gamora had great action scenes and the best-tuned moral compass, she wasn’t nearly as fleshed out as her fellow Guardians. Hopefully this will change in “Vol. 2” as it dives deeper into her relationship with her sister, Nebula.

The Winter Soldier — Is Bucky even really a hero? An anti-hero, maybe? Hopefully at some point Steve’s buddy will use that arm of his to do more than create problems for everyone.

Hulk — The famous “Loki Smash” scene doesn’t change the fact that Hulk has the dullest of the Phase One films and is the least developed of the Avengers. Maybe some one-on-one time with Thor in “Ragnarok” will change that.

Daredevil — His battle with The Kingpin was cool, but his endless speeches to The Punisher about how killing is bad got old really fast.

Vision — Yes, he’s charming, enjoyable to watch, and completely unique in the MCU. But beyond the fun factor, there really isn’t anything to him yet. That said, he’s bound to play a major role in “Infinity War,” considering he’s got the Mind Stone lodged in his head.

Nick Fury — The MCU has now largely moved on from him, but that doesn’t diminish his importance to the series. After all, his debut in the post-credits scene in “Iron Man” is what started this leviathan of a franchise.

Falcon — Sam Wilson has an awesome suit and great chemistry with Steve Rogers. But picking him to fight with Ant-Man in his solo movie because he’s one of the “smaller guys” feels like damning him with faint praise. Fortunately, he becomes the new Captain American in the comics, so there’s potential for growth if MCU wants to go there.

Hawkeye — Matt Fraction’s spectacular run with Hawkeye proves that there’s drama in doing a story about an everyman hero whose special ability is being a great shot. Unfortunately, the MCU hasn’t capitalized on it yet.

Ant-Man — On his own, Ant-Man’s story arc about trying to live up to his daughter’s view of him as a hero is fantastic. But attempts to merge him into the rest of the MCU have been poorly ironed out as he was brought into “Civil War” simply for the big Giant Man twist.

Scarlet Witch — The emotional core of “Civil War”, Scarlet Witch’s arc has been the closest to the incessant “mutant prejudice” themes that “X-Men” movies have been hung up on for over 15 years. Within the context of her film, though, Scarlet Witch adds another dimension to the thorny issues surrounding the Sokovia Accords.

Black Panther — T’Challa entered the MCU in “Civil War” nearly fully formed. He had his suit, his powers, and the knowledge to know how to use them. Now that he’s been introduced, it will be interesting to see what direction Ryan Coogler’s solo film will take the Wakandan Warrior in.

War Machine — Rhodey’s main purpose in the MCU is to be a foil and source of motivation for Iron Man. But after the events of “Civil War,” he now has a long way to go before he can even walk unassisted, let along get back in the War Machine armor.

Phil Coulson — Everyone has a different opinion on “Agents of SHIELD,” but we’re pretty sure we can all agree on how great its lead character is. From dealing with superhero egos to cosmic threats to meddling bureaucrats, the Son of Coul has seen it all.

Groot — This is Groot. He has the best fanfiction of all-time.

Star-Lord –

Thor — His solo movies haven’t been particularly strong, but Thor’s culture clashes with Earth are some of the funniest bits Marvel has ever come up with, from the coffee cup to Asgardian liquor.

Agent Carter — We will never forgive

Black Widow

Drax — Dave Bautista has been the biggest surprise of any actor ever signed by Marvel.

Luke Cage — Though his spin-off series was uneven, Luke proved to be a hero unlike any other in the Marvel world. Bulletproof yet emotionally vulnerable, capable of brawling yet longing for a life of peace. Luke Cage is as down-to-earth as heroes get

Spider-Man — This might be a little premature considering how little we saw him in “Civil War,” but boy did Tom Holland make a great first impression. Here’s hoping “Spider-Man Homecoming” will give him the chance to recreate the emotional depth that Tobey Maguire reached over a decade ago. Our only regret is that we won’t see Holland duke it out with J.K. Simmons.

Rocket Raccoon — You know Marvel is firing on all cylinders when it takes a goofy Silver Age character and turns him into a riveting CGI star with a character arc about overcoming trauma and rejection and learning to find a new home

Jessica Jones — The MCU has never

Iron Man — The hero that started this whole deal. Robert Downey, Jr. has found new life in his career playing the sarcastic inventor who has gone through quite a bit of development over the last eight years.

Captain America — It was a toss-up picking between Tony and Steve, but we went with Cap simply because of how MCU transformed him from a character regarded as a relic into a hero for our time. While DC has struggled with Superman and Batman, MCU’s Captain America is a blend of The Dark Knight’s solemn sense of duty and The Man Of Steel’s belief in the goodness of man. Oh, and his theme song doesn’t get nearly as much praise as it should.

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The Evolution of Tom Cruise, From Outsider to Jack Reacher (Photos)

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Tom Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York on July 3, 1962. However, he spent his childhood in Canada after his family moved to Ottawa in 1971. When his mother left his father, they moved back to the United States.

Cruise’s first role was a bit part in the 1981 film “Endless Love.” Later than year, he had a major supporting role in “Taps.”

In 1983, the actor became part of the ensemble cast of “The Outsiders before starring in other films like “All the Right Moves” and “Losin’ It.”

1983 also marked the year he starred in “Risky Business,” Cruise’s career-maker which is also known as one of his most famous films.

In 1985, Tom Cruise played the male lead in the in the Ridley Scott film, “Legend,” which costarred Tim Curry.

The actor then starred in 1986’s “Top Gun,” which cemented his role as a global superstar. It is one of his highest grossing films after “War of the Worlds” and the “Mission: Impossible” series.

The same year, Cruise paired up with Paul Newman for “The Color of Money.”

Cruise married actress Mimi Rogers in 1987 but divorced in 1990, and she was the one who introduced Cruise to the Church of Scientology. Tom Cruise claimed the Church cured his dyslexia.

1988’s “Cocktail” earned Cruise the Razzie Award for Worst Actor, but followed that up with “Rain Man” alongside Dustin Hoffman, which won the Academy Award for Best Film.

Cruise stayed on the awards train with “Born on the Fourth of July,” which earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama as well as his first Best Actor Academy Award nomination.

Cruise’s next films, “Days of Thunder” and “Far and Away,” both co-starred in then-wife, Nicole Kidman. They were married for 10 years before splitting 2001. The couple adopted two children, Isabella and Connor.

Tom Cruise starred in Neil Jordan‘s “Interview with a Vampire” in 1994 alongside Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater.

1996 marked the beginning of the rebooted blockbuster franchise, “Mission: Impossible.” He produced the first one, which has grossed $457 million worldwide since its debut. That same year, he played the titular role in “Jerry Maguire,” which earned him a Golden Globe and his second Academy Award nomination.

In 1998, Tom Cruise sued the Daily Express after the publication alleged his marriage to Kidman was a sham because he was gay.

1999 saw the reunion of Cruise and Kidman in Stanley Kubrick‘s “Eyes Wide Shut.” He also took a supporting role in “Magnolia,” for which he received yet another Golden Globe and a nomination for an Oscar.

In 2000, Cruise filmed the second “Mission: Impossible” film, which was another success at the box office.

In 2001, Cruise sued gay porn actor Chad Slater who said he had an affair with Cruise. Slater was ordered to pay $10 million in damages.

The following year, Cruise starred in “Vanilla Sky” with Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz, with whom he was romantically linked in 2001. The relationship ended in 2004. That movie was followed by the science fiction thriller, “Minority Report and Edward Zwick‘s “The Last Samurai.”

Cruise’s “War of the Worlds,” directed by Steven Spielberg, became one of his highest-grossing films to date.

In April 2005, TomCruise began dating Katie Holmes. One month later, the actor famously declared his love for the actress on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” jumping on her couch during the show.

In 2005, the couple announced they were expecting their first child, and in April 2006, their daughter Suri was born.

In 2005, the actor slammed Brooke Shields for endorsing prescription medication for treating postpartum depression. He also denounced psychiatry.

The couple was married in 2006. David Miscavige, the head of Scientology, served as Cruise’s best man.

In 2008, Tom Cruise starred as “Les Grossman” in “Tropic Thunder” alongside Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. That same year, he starred in “Valkyrie,” also a box office success.

Films that followed include “Knight and Day,” more “Mission: Impossible” films and “Rock of Ages.” In 2012, his film “Jack Reacher” was released, grossing $216.6 million worldwide.

In 2012, it was announced Holmes had filed for divorce.

His upcoming films include “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” as well as “The Mummy”