|'Avengers: Infinity War': Goldberger's Complaint|
|By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic|
04:24PM / Friday, May 04, 2018
President Re: "Avengers: Infinity War"
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Dear Sir or Madame,
I have a bone to pick. Well, actually, many bones. While I certainly appreciate the obvious effort your studio has put into the here referenced "Avengers: Infinity Wars," I cannot help but feel that your megamillion-dollar, superhero extravaganza is discriminatory against filmgoers not inculcated in the Marvel Comics Universe. Admittedly, being of a certain age, my comic hero fealty lies with "Superman" and, to a lesser degree, "Batman."
Oh, there was that time in my early teens when I had a dalliance with "Green Lantern," but that was fleeting, and doubtless born of an evolving liberalism that encouraged inclusivity and experimentation. You know, positively 4th Street and all that.
But the fact is, your blockbuster enrapturing of what seems to be almost everyone but myself is proving a challenge to my individualism. Hustling out of the theater with a pal eager to discuss how much he absolutely loved every pixel of your spectacle, I begged off, suddenly remembering I had a late-night dental appointment.
Heading to my car, I bantered with myself: "Dare I hate it? I think I hated it. I was so bored I wanted to rip the armrest. Nah, you just disliked it. You're open-minded, remember? How will it look if you're not hip to the jive? Or is it hep again? Anyway, I'll secretly hate it, although not as much as I hated Francois, the grammar school crossing guard a few years my senior who tormented me each time I approached his corner. What a bully! What did I ever do to him?"
In any case, while I fully understand the financial wisdom of catering to your base of zealous, ComicCon worshippers, I think it might have only been fair to toss a few crumbs, such as a plot or some truly infatuating character development, to us Great Unwashed. True, I have spent no sums on Avengers bedsheets, pajamas or slippers, though, I wouldn't mind a gift of a lunchbox for my man cave, creatively perched as a bit of counterbalancing kitsch. But what I mean is, surely you could spare a bit of thought in-between the incessant, thunderously cacophonous battle scenes.
Having to deal with more superheroes than you can shake a magic scepter at, each of them egotistically trying to squeeze their rap into the film's two hours and 29 minutes, it's virtually impossible for directors Joe and Anthony Russo to maintain any kind of narrative order.
And if you haven't imbibed the ins and outs of all things Marvel since your day-care days, you won't be able to groove on the one and two-word allusions — essentially the film's shorthand way of substituting mental glitz for substance. Y'know, the scattershot personality references that cause fans to self-satisfyingly nod and acknowledge, "Yeah, isn't that just like the Hulk?"
So, you have relegated me to the cold, Mr. Marvel, if I may, essentially rendered me inconsequential to your poor man's version of an exclusive, worldwide club. My criticism is beside the point.
Thus, along with a motley band of kindred spirits, I am left to survey matters from my hiding place in the woods of movie lore. There, we speak in hushed tones about pictures like "Casablanca" (1942), "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), "Petrified Forest" (1936) and "The Last Picture Show" (1971). And we vow to espouse unintimidated our take on films like "Avengers: Infinity War," whilst offering our succor to any and all cinéastes who seek the true way.
Granted, in all fairness, Thanos, your evilest of all villains, acted beneath a gray crag of makeup by James Brolin, successfully provides viewers who need a fictional metaphor to recognize true danger, a red alert about unrestrained power in narcissistic hands. Ostensibly contending that the universe c'est moi, Thanos' plan to save the Earth by randomly wiping out half its population showcases the delusional idiocy of those who believe that they alone are fit to shape humankind's destiny. All of which makes your money-grubbing, obscenely pessimistic ending especially offensive.
Only my Hypocritical Oath keeps me from divulging it right here.
Such is my perturbation. However, before you discount my objection to your overlong jumble of discordant storylines, endless battles and thoroughly tedious, superhero mythos as the rantings of an aged, out-of-the-loop heretic, note that I have a surprise witness. I present you Justin, the 20-something lifeguard at my gym, and an aficionado of all things comic books. Yesterday, as I sat on a bench by the pool, idly imagining the lost continent of Atlantis somewhere between the slow and the lollygagging lanes, Justin asked what I thought about "Avengers: Infinity War."
A cautionary chagrin forming on my face, I said I quite frankly didn't like it. To which my young colleague thrust out his right hand, emitted a smile of vindication, and announced, "I hated it," followed by all the perceptive reasons I wouldn't know to posit. I rest my case.
Ever so cordially,
Michael S. Goldberger
P.S. — Any chance of that lunchbox?
"Avengers: Infinity War," rated PG-13, is a Walt Disney Studios release directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and stars Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo. Running time: 149 minutes