Avengers: Infinity War. It was mildly distracting to see the movie’s first major battle taking place in my downtown Atlanta neighborhood, just blocks away. Is this how New Yorkers feel all the time? Thanos is a great villain. Maybe knowing they’d have him around later let them invest more and give him some motivation beyond destruction? I like the several scenes where loved ones are torn between hard choices – Vision and Scarlet Witch, Thanos and Gamorra, Starlord and Gamorra, etc.. My main frustration with the movie was the big Wakanda scenes. We are convinced this is the most technologically advanced civilization on the planet, and they are fighting a crucial battle… with infantry, hand-to-hand? It’s a shame. They could have done something more interesting. The giant roto-tiller machines were cool, though.
Jurassic World. There are at least three establishing shots early in the movie that make sure you’re ready, later on in the movie, for a terrible jab about high heels. It’s that sort of dedication to the stupidest things where this movie really shines.
I’m curious about how this amped up B-movie plays for a young audience that doesn’t have ties to the earliest film. There’s a lot of fan service here with “remember how ___?” nudges throughout. The cellphone ringtone that pulls from the main theme was a nice touch. Along with those references, I thought I saw some borrowing from other movies, too: *Predator*-vision with people getting killed in the jungle; *King Kong*, where a monster looms over a woman in a tattered dress; flying creatures pouring over the horizon, like *The Wizard of Oz*; the scene people with tossing air tanks off the back of a vehicle has a hint of *Jaws* to it.
There’s also a complete orgy of product placement! Converse, Beats, Samsung, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Blackberry, Mercedes, Starbucks, Margaritaville. I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting another 5-10, minimum. Totally shameless.
It’s too bad that Chris Pratt is no fun here, mostly posing stiffly and asserting. They killed his charm, but he’s somehow still the best thing going here. D’Onofrio manages to make his Hoskins character more interesting than it should be, with all the swagger and bluster. Most of the others are pretty bland. Least (spoiler) favorite (spoiler) part (spoiler): the viciously indulgent death of the British nanny. Other downsides relate to its general overstuffed-ness. Earnest family bonding moments and a vast insider corporate conspiracy?
That I have so much to say about this says… something. So anyway, go watch Jurassic Park instead.
Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s good. Nice to see superhero movies trying to be a bit more lighthearted and funny. Too bad the villains and the climax are so lame. I’d still put the Captain America movies at the top of my Marvel rankings, but this is close behind.
The Lego Movie. I had heard that this was better than you’d think, but it was still so wildly beyond my expectations. (My first reaction might still hold. I’ll need to mull it over a it more.) The story is pretty straightforward, but they build in a lot of good meta-movie/genre tropes and the sense of humor was right up my alley (both the wit and the dumb gags). And it’s gorgeous. The verrrrry very end doesn’t quite work for me, but geez. What a treat.