‘Avengers: Endgame’ (spoiler-free) review: Marvel’s gratifying finale

‘Avengers: Endgame’ brings pride and joy to the fans who have invested in the MCU franchise, 11 years and 21 movies ago.

After the “snappening” in Infinity War, audiences, myself included, are left with our jaws on the floor as the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) wipes half of the living creatures in the universe. It’s a superhero film where the supervillain wins at the end – it’s far from the crowd-pleasing ending expected, yet it’s something fresh that we can definitely dig. Serving as the culmination to Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3, Avengers: Endgame assembles the surviving heroes one last time to avenge the fallen. The trailers, however, drop very minimal hints. What’s exactly going on in this solid 3-hour film? Are the ‘vanished’ really dead or are they just inside the soul stone? Will time travel through quantum realm be the means to undo their demise? I can neither confirm nor deny these fan speculations in this discussion. One thing I can guarantee for sure, this groundbreaking film exceeds the hype. It even retroactively deepens our love for the previous films. If this isn’t perfection, then I can’t even imagine how to make a more gratifying version than this.

The gang is back. (Half of them anyway). Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd and Scarlett Johansson in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

Whereas the main attraction of Infinity War is its earned fan service spectacle, Endgame surprises as the most emotional and most contemplative MCU film to date. There’s plenty of fuel here – loss, grief and guilt are the prime ones to motivate our core six Avengers. Y’all should know them by now but since this will be their swan songs, I’d mention them anyway. There’s genius inventor Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), super-soldier Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), rage monster Bruce Banner/Hulk, god of thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth), deadly assassin Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and a vengeful marksman Clint Barton/Hawkeye returning from his absence in Infinity War. Rounding up the troop are Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Rhodey/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and newly-minted Avenger, Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely once again deserve high merits for successfully juggling an overwhelming amount of characters, with the OG crew getting the lion’s share of show-stopping moments.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) drifts into space.

The character and ensemble work is better than expected, with every A-lister bringing their A-games to the table. Downey’s subdued grief and reliable cocky screen presence supplies much melancholy and joy. Evans finally gets to play with Cap’s lifetime of regrets from being frozen in ice several years ago. Ruffalo sells both the neurotic scientist and the rampaging Hulk. Hemsworth feels loose and natural as a self-deprecating comic god. Johansson lends an unexpected emotional weight to the film and Renner has so much soulfulness in his eyes. What most trailers don’t show is how much time is devoted to make these characters appeal as more than a team, but rather as each other’s adopted family. By this point, most of us see them as friends. We worry for their safety. We heavily root for them. Genuine emotional connection is the magic that MCU has built all these years.

“Even if there’s a small chance we can undo this, we owe it to everyone that’s not in this room to try.” – Black Widow

Endgame also serves as a testament to the majestic directorial skills of the Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony, in tying up a decade’s worth of storytelling into a poignant and hair-raising climax. The film bears plenty of callbacks from its franchise’s earliest entries, along with a top-notch cinematography and even the frenetic quality of the comic books. It’s emotionally-overwhelming and that’s because Endgame is a layered film at its best. It’s an epic superhero spectacle, an inventive heist, a dramatic tale of courage and loss, and most of all, an exploration of what it means to be a family and a hero. The hearty takeaway is this: heroism is not defined by superhero abilities, but by what one is willing to sacrifice for the greater good.

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) joins the Avengers in ‘Endgame.’

It’s true that Endgame will have a much deeper impact for the diehard fans. With its sense of finality pervading throughout, the film takes its viewers to a roller-coaster of emotions: I was gasping, laughing, crying and cheering (sometimes all at the same time). Its tragic yet uplifting. To say that Marvel has outdone themselves with their carefully crafted emotional beats, thrilling action sequences and heartbreaking farewells, is an understatement. No other movie franchise has done this feat in Hollywood history.

“Let’s go get this son of a b—–.” – Steve Rogers

MCU caps off an era by being more than just 11 years of entertainment. This is the cinematic superhero journey of a generation. Part of that journey is the end but with each ending comes a new beginning. The past is golden and the future looks bright. I give my heartfelt gratitude to all the characters and to all the true and unsung heroes of Marvel.

5 out of 5 stars
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow and Josh Brolin. Based on ‘The Avengers’ by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. 181 minutes.

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ review: Giant-sized fun from miniscule stakes

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, like its predecessor, remains to be a light-hearted yet unpretentious superhero film that holds together with its heartfelt universal appeal of family and extended families.

Temper your anticipation for Avengers 4, Ant-Man and the Wasp won’t answer any of your lingering Infinity War questions. Still, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for this size-shifting ball of sunshine to come out after such a harrowing epic. The story takes place two years after the all-star skirmish of Civil War and we quickly learn that Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) who began the first film in prison, has now been living under house arrest in this sequel. His term expires in a few days and when he’s not accompanied by his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) during his confinement, he keeps himself busy – that is, playing drums, mastering card tricks, reading sappy young adult novels and other activities that a grounded teenager might do. It’s funny to think that this is happening in the same timeline when the Avengers are out there trying to stop Thanos and his forces.

Scott’s former superhero team, Hope van Dyne/Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and her father/the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) reconnects with him after he starts receiving messages from Hank’s wife/Hope’s lost mother/the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). A brief prologue recaps that thirty years ago, she gets sucked into the subatomic quantum realm during one of her missions with Hank. For the uninitiated, the quantum realm is a trippy alternate dimension only accessible through magic (as seen in Doctor Strange) or tremendous subatomic shrinking (as Scott did in the first Ant-Man film). Having entered the same sphere, Scott and Janet are now quantumly entangled with each other – whatever that means. Not much exposition is delved into this bit, and frankly a lot of unanswered questions are left hanging on a pseudo-scientific standpoint, but the bottomline is, Janet can send signals to Scott from there. (On a side note, the discoveries here might play a key role in future Marvel Cinematic Universe films.)

Hence, the top priority of Hank and Hope in this sequel is to finally locate Janet after learning that it is possible to make a round trip to that realm. They plan to achieve it via travelling through a quantum tunnel – a project that Hank has been developing for decades now. “Do you guys just stick the word ‘quantum’ in front of everything to make it sound scientific?” Scott utters at one point to reflect the viewers’ confusion at all the mumbo-jumbo thrown.

Anyway, if Hank’s and Hope’s concern seems relatively small in the grand scheme of MCU’s planetary dilemmas, Scott’s concerns are even smaller: avoid alerting the FBI that he has violated his house arrest, discuss business plans with his chatterbox friend Luis (Michael Peña) and maintain a healthy relationship with his daughter. The gravitas of Scott’s and Hope’s situation are wittingly juxtaposed in one scene where Scott insists a ‘FaceTime’ with his daughter while being held in captive. Ant-Man and the Wasp makes no attempt to outscope previous Marvel films and that is an acceptable breather at this point.

Why so? Because every now and then, MCU needs to remind its audience that these superheroes are humans too that need to deal with their personal stuff first before heading on to save the world. True enough, the film heavily leans on its light tone – one can even classify this as a straightforward comedy. For the most part, it never gets tiring because there are different types of humor present in here. Rudd has an amazing comic timing when it comes to situational humor, Peña’s motor-mouthed storytelling under the influence of truth serum comes into play, and even ancillary characters led by their former ex-convict friends, Tip “T.I.” Harris and David Dastmalchian, nail their few scenes just like how Drax would do. While the comedy occasionally borderlines to sitcom level, it’s easy to look past at that because everything is just fun to watch.

Director Peyton Reed and his team of writers wholeheartedly embrace the silliness of Pym’s size manipulation technology. Buildings, cars, salt shakers – you name it, are all playfully manipulated for gags. The giant man effect is used to insert fun in a scene where Scott’s suit malfunctions and he decides to roll with it by using a cargo truck as a scooter. While the shrinking aspect simply amazes with the variety of stunt direction and camerawork present during a Wasp’s combat scenes.

Speaking of the Wasp, this sequel’s greatest achievement is to secure her spot in the roster of Marvel heroes. With Rudd taking charge of the comedy, Lilly exudes badass swagger in delivering more dynamic action set pieces, thanks to her wings and blasters. The film’s title is a landmark in itself – it features the first female hero to co-headline an MCU movie (much to dismay of Black Widow fans). The film does justice in giving them equal weight and even Douglas’ Hank Pym shines in being more of a multi-layered character. It is also worth mentioning that Marvel astounds with their de-aging technology in a flashback scene featuring a younger Hank.

Coming out the heels of Black Panther and Infinity War this film, however, falls flat in delivering a well-fleshed and formidable villain. Illogical communication drove most of the film’s plot and the two other opposing sides: low-level criminal marketeer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and scary, wall-phasing Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), all want to get their hands on Pym’s miniature lab for different reasons. Ghost is an interesting take on Marvel’s villain (if she really is); while she has an intriguing backstory and Kamen brings pathos and desperation to her role, the story does little to explore the character in the present to make her feel more than just one-dimensional. Goggins, fared even less as he’s somewhat relegated as a minor roadblock, so random and inconsequential that he’s mainly there to lead the film to its high-octane car chase. Also bogging Scott is FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) who’s been keeping track of his every move. Individually, the conflicts here seem disjointed and miniscule in stakes but the film does pile them one on top of another to be entertaining and momentous enough at the moment. In hindsight, it never really gets at that point.

Ant-Man and the Wasp, like its predecessor, remains to be a light-hearted, inconsequential yet unpretentious movie among Marvel’s bunch. Despite having a bigger and bolder action this time around, the film still holds it together with its heartfelt universal appeal of father-daughter relationships between Scott and Cassie as well as Hank and Hope, or just themes of family and extended families in general. This film should not be given merit merely because it’s a palette cleanser, but because it solidifies Ant-Man films’ spot as one of the comedic pillars in MCU – a reminder that the franchise is malleable enough to tackle diverse superhero tones but still coherent enough to link them together in the bigger picture. If you’re craving for a cosmic romp, go see Guardians of the Galaxy; if royal politics intrigues you, there’s Black Panther or Thor; but if you want a laugh-out-loud, easy-going yet grounded superhero film, Ant-Man films are there to entertain you.


4 out of 5 stars


Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ is now showing in PH cinemas starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Randall Park, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian and Abby Ryder Fortson. Directed by Peyton Reed from a screenplay written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari. Based on the characters by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby and Ernie Hart. Runtime: 118 minutes.

Sacrifice is the undercurrent theme in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (Spoiler Review)

Marvel’s latest gargantuan, Avengers: Infinity War, has already earned a whopping $1 billion within its first 11 days of release (the fastest film ever to do so), surpassing the biggest opening weekend set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (for US release) and The Fate of the Furious (for worldwide). Most impressively, Infinity War has nabbed this record (and all sorts of box office records) without the help of the world’s second biggest movie market, China. (The film opens there on May 11). Kudos to the whole crew and cast! It’s safe to say that a huge demographic of moviegoers has already seen this and we can finally go in depth with everything that happened in this epic installment.

WARNING: This is a spoiler discussion. If you want to have an untainted viewing experience, I suggest to check our spoiler-free reviews instead.


‘INFINITY WAR’ STARTS WITH A BANG


Avengers: Infinity War
“Oh, mighty Thanos, I, Loki, Prince of Asgard, Odinson, The Rightful King of Jotunheim, God of Mischief, do hereby pledge to you my undying fidelity.” – Loki, handing the Tesseract to Thanos

The purple mad titan Thanos makes an impression right of the bat by killing off two major characters from the Thor franchise – Heimdall and Loki. The Guardian of the Bifrost’s death makes sense with the destruction of Asgard and the uncertainty of future Thor sequels. Fan theorists, on the other hand, are not entirely sold on Loki’s death considering the “God of Mischief” surely has better plans than deliberately attempting to stab Thanos right in his face.  Still, we can’t ignore if Thanos’ line, “No resurrections this time” is a meta-reference that seals his fate.

Avengers: Infinity War
“Hear me and rejoice! You have had the privilege of being saved by the Great Titan.” – Ebony Maw to the dying Asgardians

We are also introduced to the short-lived, one-dimensional but nevertheless formidable Thanos’ henchmen a.k.a. The Black Order – Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, Cull Obsidian (Hulk’s counterpart) and Ebony Maw. If I have to pick a favorite, it has to be Maw and his dope telekinesis powers that allows him to effortlessly split cars in half. “Squidward” can easily obliterate most of our heroes but his skills apparently won’t stand a chance against someone like Peter Parker who “has seen more movies.” Taking up on the kid’s suggestion, Tony Stark blasts a portion of his spaceship and Maw is flushed into the vacuum of space, a reference to the film Aliens. Indeed, being a film geek has its own advantages too, especially when it comes to extinguishing intergalactic creatures.


HOW THANOS IMPROVED THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE


Now, I partly discussed on my previous review why Thanos is arguably the best MCU villain to date – how his spiritual journey of collecting the infinity gems is tied up to addressing real-world problems. Let’s add a few more reasons to that.

Avengers: Infinity War
“All that for a drop of blood?” – Thanos

First, Thanos and his children forced our heroes to step up their A-game. Iron Man’s nanotechnology increases his fighting chance to a whole new level and Spider-Man gets a free upgrade as well with his spider-legs (something that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield can be jealous of). Thor earns his title of a Norse god as he forges a new warhammer, Captain America equips himself with two shields this time and even Black Widow manages to hold her own with two electric batons. Doctor Strange, however, bags the MVP award for bringing up most of the new tricks in his sleeve which I will inaccurately call as the “crimson bands of imprisonment”, “the butterfly effect” and some form of “Naruto’s Kage Bunshin no Jutsu technique” (You get what I mean). The battle in planet Titan stands out the most as the whole showdown turned into a Dragon Ball-Z affair (albeit one that doesn’t suck). Yep, Thanos just lasso-ed a moon and threw it on our heroes. Still a great effort #TeamIronMan, #TeamCap will get him on planet Earth (no they won’t).

Avengers: Infinity War
“Broke up? Like a band? Like ‘The Beatles?'” – Bruce Banner, clueless to the Avengers break-up in ‘Civil War’

Next, instead of Banner having a basic storyline of playing catch-up on Earth’s events, Thanos improved his arc by giving him a performance anxiety issue. Fear is usually not a part of the Hulk’s vocabulary, even in Thor: Ragnarok when he has shown willingness to go head-to-head against the overpowered fire demon Surtur. In this film however, Thanos puts an end to his child-play, lifts him up in the air like a professional wrestler and gives him a taste of his classic “Hulk smash!” (Now he knows what Loki felt like in Avengers 1). Down goes his esteem and Banner fails to unleash the Hulk for the rest of the film. It works as a comic relief plus we get more of Banner, so it’s a win-win. Hulk’s shattered ego will surely be explored in Avengers 4.

Avengers: Infinity War
“Let’s talk about this plan of yours. I think it’s good, except… it sucks. So let me do the plan, in that way. It might be really good.” – Star Lord on rebutting Tony Stark’s plan

Most importantly, Thanos teaches Star-Lord a valuable life lesson of putting your head above your emotions so you won’t act like a reckless kid. Peter Quill’s rage essentially costs the Avenger’s win and he indirectly condemns half of the universe in the process. To his defense, his reactions are very human (for a half-human, half-celestial being) and I’m not sure if any of his human haters won’t do the same if they find out that their significant other is killed by their demented father-in-law. Anyway, since Tony Stark went into a profound maturation after inadvertently creating Ultron in Avengers 2, we can hopefully expect some growth from this lovable man-child in the future. Oh wait, he disintegrates into ashes in the end right? Well, more of that later.

NEXT: The twisted love-hate relationship of Thanos, Gamora and Nebula

Josh Brolin, from Thanos in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ to Cable in ‘Deadpool 2’

After breaking box office records, Ryan Reynolds returns as Deadpool and this time the Merc with the Mouth’s movie is bigger and more badass than ever.

“Deadpool” debuted in February 2016 with the biggest R-rated opening of all time and went on to be the highest-grossing R-rated film in history with more than $750-million globally. “Deadpool” was also honored as the first live-action superhero movie to be nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture in the Comedy or Musical category, and Ryan Reynolds was also nominated as Best Actor.

Academy Award-nominated actor Josh Brolin has starred in a slate of films, ranging from “No Country For Old Men” and “Sicario,” all the way back to the now-classic “Goonies.” In “Deadpool 2,” Brolin stars as one of the most highly-anticipated screen personas in recent history. He plays the role of time-traveling Cable, a warrior infected with the techno-organic virus that renders him cybernetic.

READ MORE: It’s Ryan Reynolds vs. Josh Brolin in movie sequel

“One of the things that made “Deadpool” popular was that, while it was silly and irreverent, it also had a heart and real angst and grounded emotions,” says writer/executive producer Rhett Reese. “Wade Wilson is someone who leads a pretty tormented life and lives on the edge of society. We wanted to carry that into “Deadpool 2,” and we worked in some pretty serious, dark plots. Deadpool is still on the fringe, he hasn’t really made much of his life and he is still scrounging to get by – which is always endearing.

The Cable character has also lost a great deal. He has lost his wife and daughter at the hands of a mad man, and he’s doing anything in his power, including traveling back in time, to solve that issue and bring them back. In this, there is an undercurrent of real emotion and depth that counterbalances the humor. It’s not just farce or a romp. It has real emotional underpinnings and I think the combination is where we like to live.”

“Cable is a stalwart of X-Force,” says writer/executive producer Paul Wernick. “Deadpool is the gateway into the X-Force world, and an essential part. Cable is the straight man to Deadpool’s madness. He provides an almost parallel emotional core. Despite them being very different, they’re very similar in that they’re both broken. They’ve both lost something and are in search of something. Ultimately, they find each other.”

“Josh is a treasure and one of the great actors of our generation. We’re just privileged to have him,” says Wernick. “Josh is incredible,” adds Sood. “He personifies this character that’s been a fan favorite for years. I think it’s going to be really exciting for everybody to see it on the screen. It was great for us, because we got to look at all those wonderful Cable – Deadpool stories and try to get the essence of what that relationship was and translate it to the screen. They are incredibly strong-willed personalities. Sparks fly between them. The movie is not a buddy movie in any way, but you can see the beginnings of a partnership that may yield even bigger results in the future.”

“Deadpool” creator Rob Liefeld, also created Cable. He says, “Josh Brolin could not be more perfect for the role. He’s one of the most talented actors of all space and time!” Liefeld recalls meeting Brolin on set and thinking, “I’m meeting Cable! How awesome is this!?! I dare anyone to meet one of your own creations and not get umpteen butterflies in your stomach.” To morph into the fighting machine Cable, Brolin worked out diligently for months and was also extremely disciplined in his dietary habits. He was very proud of getting into what he calls, “the best shape of my life.”

About Deadpool 2

Rated R-16 by the MTRCB, “Deadpool 2” opens in Philippine cinemas on May 16 from 20th Century Fox. With early previews on May 15 starting 5:00pm at selected theaters nationwide (check cinemas near you!).

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ now the all-time biggest grossing movie in the Philippines

Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” continued to make history at the Philippine box-office as it became the All-Time Highest-Grossing Movie in the country after only six days of release.

Cementing its phenomenal run, the epic action-adventure achieved the stunning feat with a gross of P730.1 million, outpacing Disney’s 2017 live-action “Beauty and the Beast” whose entire run of P677.1 million formerly held the record.

It’s worth noting that the top six films ever released in the Philippines were all from Disney. Beside the aforementioned two, the rest are “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3.”

Earlier Sunday, “Avengers: Infinity War” already shattered the All-Time Biggest Opening Weekend record with a five-day opening weekend gross of a breathtaking P650.1 million.

Along the way, the film also left previous daily records in the dust, including Biggest Saturday at P151.8 million and Biggest Sunday at P148.3 million.

These slew of records may be jaw-dropping but hardly a surprise. Fan anticipation for the 19th film in Marvel Studios’ stellar 10-year history has been fever-pitch, as the stakes have never been higher story-wise, this marking the end of Phase 3. There is a palpable feeling that the revelations will come to a point of no return, and fans are bracing themselves for the inevitable. Regardless of the conclusion, the excitement has definitely translated into incredible box-office, with moviegoers and Marvels fans seeing the film more than once.

“Avengers: Infinity War” rolled out in 849 screens across the country, with an estimate of over 2.4 million admissions.

Join the conversation online at #AvengersPH & #InfinityWar. Avengers: Infinity War is now playing in Philippine cinemas nationwide.

ABOUT MARVEL’S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Anthony and Joe Russo direct the film, which is produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay. “Avengers: Infinity War” opened in Philippine cinemas last April 25, 2018.

MOVIE REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) [2 of 2]

Avengers: Infinity War soars through a galaxy of big stars that the world has fallen in love with over the last 10 years. A decade-long of brewing momentum that spews generosity on its loud visual effects, and unprecedented humor injects, are only but a couple of reasons why Marvel is at the top of their A-game.

Avengers: Infinity War

When it comes to a pitch perfect image of a superhero movie, Avengers: Infinity War epitomizes that cinematic definition. Marvel has once again proven its keen eye for pleasing cinephiles and comic book fans alike through a very satisfying visual and emotional treat. Over the last 10 years, Marvel has, one by one, assembled the Avengers’ standalone movies before coming up with this big collaboration with everyone on-board — something that DC’s Suicide Squad could learn something from. They made sure that the audience has fully invested on these characters, that it almost didn’t matter how short or long each of their screen time was, or how underwritten some of them were. Marvel has done every establishing rapport to the moviegoers over the last 10 years, which goes to show that a film this big truly takes a decade to have full and complete fruition.

The stars are overwhelmingly big. From the nostalgia brought by Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man way back in 2008, to Chadwick Boseman’s luminous Black Panther just 2 months ago, the movie is a collection of an end-to-end dynasty of stars, making Marvel an unstoppable force who truly knows how to build a universe. The combination of all these characters along with their respective trademarks brought so many nuances to the film: from Thor and Star Lord’s sharp comic versatility; Spiderman’s naive-Gen Z persona; Black Panther’s regal cast ensemble; Doctor Strange’s ethereal, almost ghost-like presence, to the ill-fated romance of Scarlet Witch and Vision, just to name a few. They have proven that superhero movies is a trend that hasn’t gotten old, and won’t likely be getting close to it anytime soon. It is a pure testament that superheroes will always be a part of the psyche in every generation, and it’ll never be outdated or old-fashioned. Infinity War has upheld that timeless legacy.

READ MORE: First review of CinemaBravo for Avengers: Infinity War

That being said, the movie primarily worked because of two things: 1) too many big stars, and b) our connection with the characters, as established by our years of emotional investment towards them. It’s always refreshing to see them all together in one movie. However, there really isn’t anything particularly new to the story, or anything groundbreaking to the premise. From X-Men: Days of Future Past, to Justice League (a bad movie, but hey, the premise is a been-there-done-that) — that Superhero: All Star theme is something that didn’t register as fresh or new. Infinity War only felt like it’s high above the rest because of these top-billed A-listers, who aced each of their characters, needless to say.

Moreover, the first half of the film seemed like a never-ending momentum towards something that ultimately never felt fully achieved, other than a boastful prelude towards the next Marvel movie. It was an oxymoronic combination of being too long, but equally too short. The build-up was painstakingly long, but the climax ultimately felt underwhelming (Really? All that otherworldly, interplanetary build-up scenes, and the fight ends up in some random forest that looked like it was shot in someone’s backyard?) Don’t get me wrong — it was great movie, but its boiling hot premise dwindled down to a lukewarm finale. Infinity War felt like an overly-prolonged commercial for the next Avengers film.

Nevertheless, Avengers: Infinity War stirred my curiosity to the continuance of the Marvel universe, and is a testament that a decade-long franchise and partial conclusion is just the beginning of it all. It left me hanging, but for most part, it made me want to see what’s next. At the end of the day, that feeling of excitement towards the sequel is all you could hope for in a franchise.


4.5 out of 5 stars


About Avengers: Infinity War

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Avengers: Infinity War’ is now showing in PH cinemas.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spiderman), Chadwick Boseman (King T’Challa/Black Panther), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Paul Bettany (Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Anthony Mackie (Wade Wilson/Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/White Wolf), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Groot), Vin Diesel (Groot), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Benedict Wong (Wong), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Benicio Del Toro (The Collector), Josh Brolin (Thanos) and Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star-Lord). Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

Runtime: 2 hours, 36 minutes

MOVIE REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) [1 of 2]

After a decade of patronage, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ takes its viewers to high highs and low lows. If you’re an MCU fan, you may find yourself buying another ticket for a repeat viewing.


If I were to channel Mantis’ empathic skills to understand Thanos’ plan of saving the universe by wiping half of it, I would stray no further and ponder on the two-hour excruciating morning commute I had to go through to catch an 8AM screening of Avengers: Infinity War. These days, every place is so crowded: roads, restrooms, restaurants, theater houses… there’s an endless queue for almost everything. Not to mention a climate change as moody as a Teenage Groot! For someone who lives in a third world country, Thanos’ vision is not actually hard to take in. Don’t tell me you never fantasized, even just for a second, about erasing half of the human race (spare yourself and your loved ones) at a snap of your finger. The earth will suddenly be a more sustainable planet to live in, right? I guess I feel like Thanos some days, growing increasingly impatient and cynic, looking for quick solutions in this problem-infested world. Thanos believe he’s the hero in his story and I can’t blame him for that.

That makes Thanos as arguably the best MCU villain to date. The Mad Titan’s quest for the infinity stones boils down to an end goal we can all relate to: addressing overpopulation in the midst of scarcity. (The same goes for Killmonger’s plan to liberate the black race in Black Panther). Thanos is the center of the story here; we finally get to know his back story and explore his estranged relationship with his adoptive daughter Gamora. He feels loss and burden but he is more driven than ever to finish what he started, even if it costs him everything. Actor Josh Brolin has the enviable task of giving weight and dimension to this purple giant and the resulting motion-capture performance ends up affecting.

But of course, Thanos is not the main reason why you’ll buy a ticket for this film. You’re here for the cast ensemble. Because Infinity War is also a story of how alliances are formed among the heroes we used to see in MCU’s standalone films. Some of them might not like each other, but with the fate of the universe hanging in balance, they’ll do what they have to do. Like a hit rendition of “We Are The World” brimming on the edge with your favorite artists, this film gives the same amount of feels. Look, that’s Tony Stark and Doctor Strange clashing egos! That’s Star-Lord exuding an unnatural amount of machismo in front of Thor! That’s Bruce Banner awkwardly bowing down to King T’Challa! That’s Okoye fighting side by side with Black Widow! Okay, I’ll stop now. This film makes MCU fans hyperventilate in ecstasy, it’s essentially a fan service but it’s never done cheap and meaningless.

Much like Iron Man’s slick nano-tech suit upgrade, we see how the main characters have evolved significantly since the first time we saw them: Tony Stark flirts on the notion of settling down, Peter Quill and Gamora are finally being honest about their feelings and so are Wanda and Vision, Thor is now a god searching for a purpose after the destruction of his home Asgard in Ragnarok, Steve Rogers has embraced his moral compass in the face of institutional corruption, and so on. Yes, some of the minor players get the shorter end of the stick and mostly serve as comic-reliefs or extra set of hands during the explosive third act, but it’s hard to get mad for those little things given that the film has an overwhelming amount of characters. Marvel has done most of the job in the past and deservingly earned its fan base in the process. Hence, exposition here is at a minimum, it’s now time to witness how these character arcs come together.

And with like 30 characters or so vying for their screen time in this film, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are given the daunting responsibility of threading each one into the narrative all while incorporating ten years’ worth of mythology into a solid script. Could they have done better? I can’t really say, but in the hands of a clumsy writer, Infinity War, at best, will end up looking like a crowded souvenir photo. Thank God it’s far from that case.

It also works hugely thanks to the competent directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who helmed Captain America: Civil War. It’s tough to play with characters coming from tonally different films and make them work as a cohesive whole. The Russo brothers maintain momentum all throughout: Infinity War moves briskly like a roller coaster traversing from one other-worldly set-piece to another, featuring jaw-dropping small to large scale action, peppered with playful banters along the way. It takes you to highs and lows that you can hardly gasp for air. Still, the whole ride never feels too long that you may find yourself buying another ticket.

Plot-wise, Infinity War is perhaps the most straightforward film in MCU and there’s no shame in that. Still, those who haven’t done their homework and watched at least the “essential” MCU films will be short of having a rich viewing experience. (If you’re on crunch time, do check this recap.) This movie in fact does not mainly aim on bringing new audiences to the ship but it’s more dedicated on serving the fans, especially the old-timers who has been there since 2008 when Iron Man changed the film industry for good. The film stands weaker on its own hence it should be treated like a season finale of a prestige TV series played on the big screen with a humongous budget. If you’re not caught up, some of it won’t make sense.

In the film’s final 15 minutes, all the thrills turn into tension, then into dread. It left me shell-shocked to the core and all that’s left in my heart is an eerie calmness, a counterpoint to all the spectacle showcased earlier. Much of the hype of Infinity War rests on who will survive and who will die in this epic chapter but the reason why we really care about these heroes is that Marvel made us believe and invest in them. The iconic characters reflected through the unforgettable performances from its actors allowed us to follow them up to this foreboding dark conclusion. Come to think the beauty of it, this generation of fans all over the world are now experiencing this level of complex emotions in unison.

Marvel has set a highly ambitious goal and hits its mark. For that, I am extraordinarily impressed.


5 out of 5 stars


Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is now showing in PH cinemas.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spiderman), Chadwick Boseman (King T’Challa/Black Panther), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Paul Bettany (Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Anthony Mackie (Wade Wilson/Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/White Wolf), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Groot), Vin Diesel (Groot), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Benedict Wong (Wong), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Benicio Del Toro (The Collector), Josh Brolin (Thanos) and Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star-Lord). Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

Runtime: 2 hours, 36 minutes

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ breaks record as biggest single day box-office gross in PH with P141.6-M

Philippine box-office records were shattered at the opening day of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War”.

Arriving with unprecedented excitement, mystery, and anticipation, “Avengers: Infinity War” opened yesterday to a record-shattering P141.6 million (USD 2.7M), creating a new milestone in local film history. This marks the biggest-ever opening day in the Philippines and the biggest single day gross box office for any film.

Avengers: Infinity War opened its first day in 829 screens nationwide with screening schedules starting as early as 8 am.

Join the conversation online at #AvengersPH & #InfinityWar. Avengers: Infinity War is now playing in Philippine cinemas nationwide.

About Avengers: Infinity War

An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Anthony and Joe Russo direct the film, which is produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay. “Avengers: Infinity War” opened in Philippine cinemas last April 25, 2018.

Check out new posters for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

As Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” arrived yesterday in Philippine theaters, feast on the newest one-sheets released for the film, including the official artworks for IMAX and LEGO.

Check out the posters below and watch Avengers: Infinity War — now in cinemas.

An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Anthony and Joe Russo direct the film, which is produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay. “Avengers: Infinity War” opened in Philippine theaters on April 25, 2018.

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War is distributed in the Philippines by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

RECAP: Everything you need to know before watching ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Hey MCU fans (or casual moviegoer who has never seen any Marvel film but wants to join the hype for Infinity War anyway)! We are only a few days away from the premiere of the biggest event in the history of cinema and my guess is that you don’t have enough time to re-watch all 18 MCU films (translate to: 38 hours and 19 minutes of movie marathon, no CR breaks included). But fret not, your “friendly neighborhood” is here to give you a recap of all the MCU films, including the post-credit scenes that you might have missed. Here’s everything that you should (and might) know before watching Avengers: Infinity War. Spoilers ahead! Obvi.

PHASE ONE

  • In 2008, MCU kicks off with the introduction of the genius, billionaire, playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Iron Man. After almost dying, thanks to the weapons of destruction he created, Stark builds himself an arc reactor to keep himself alive and an iron man suit to fight off his evil business partner Obadiah Stane who plans to exploit his technology and overtake his company. The film also introduces Stark’s friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes, his personal assistant Pepper Potts and his A.I. system Jarvis. Director Nick Fury pops up in the post-credits scene to explain the “Avengers Initiative” to Stark.
  • Next up is The Incredible Hulk – this is not to be confused with the earlier adaptations starring Eric Bana and Lou Ferrigno. A nuclear physicist and biochemist Dr. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) inadvertently exposes himself to gamma radiation which causes him to transform into an enormous green monster (the “Hulk“) when agitated. He defeats the Abomination in a massive battle and learns that there is no permanent cure for his condition but only an antidote that can suppress each of his transformation. In a post-credit scene, Tony Stark approaches General Thunderbolt Ross and informs him that he’s assembling a team.
  • Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) steps on the ring in Iron Man 2 and works as an undercover assistant for Tony Stark. Stark builds a new triangular arc reactor for his chest and together with her and Rhodey/War Machine (Don Cheadle), they defeat Whiplash, a physicist who wants to exact vengeance on the Stark family. In a post-credits scene, agent Phil Coulson reports the discovery of a large hammer at the bottom of a crater.

READ MORE: Survival odds of each hero appearing in Avengers: Infinity War

  • Of course this hammer referred to is the enchanted Mjolnir in Thor. Exiled to Earth, the titular hero/prince of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth) proves himself worthy to reclaim the hammer and defeats the Destroyer. Thor’s father, Odin banishes his adoptive son Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for plotting to take the throne for himself. In a post-credit scene, Nick Fury asks Dr. Selvig to study a mysterious cube-shaped object.
  • The said mysterious relic is called the “Tesseract” that actually houses the “space infinity stone” inside. In Captain America: The First Avenger, we go back to 1942 when Johann Schmidt/Red Skull and Dr. Arnim Zola intend to use the artifact as an energy source for world domination. In the same timeline, skinny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) enlists himself in the U.S. military, gets injected with a super-soldier serum and becomes the super-buff Captain America. Rogers infiltrates the fortress of Schmidt’s Hydra organization and defeats the Red Skull. His friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) presumably dies during the mission and Rogers, piloting a jet, crashes in the Arctic. He wakes up 70 years later and Nick Fury proposes him a new mission.
  • The first crossover of the franchise, Marvel’s The Avengers pits our core six heroes: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk (now played by Mark Ruffalo) and newcomer Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) against Loki who takes the Tesseract and opens a wormhole to allow his Chitauri army to conquer Earth. The Other gives Loki a powerful scepter with the “mind stone” attached to it allowing him to control the minds of others. After the Avengers won the battle in New York city, S.H.I.E.L.D. takes custody of the scepter while Thor returns Loki and the Tesseract to Asgard. In a mid-credits scene, it is revealed that The Other is a personal servant to Thanos.

NEXT PAGE: Phase Two