Blog

The Michael and Mihir Review of Skyscraper

The Rock is in theatres and that’s all you need to know.

Skyscraper is about a building on fire and Dwayne Johnson saving his family from inside it while the Hong Kong police is after him. If that isn’t a synopsis for a perfect film, nothing is.

Jokes aside, my friends and I were extremely excited for this film, and given that all we wanted was a mindless action film, we were very happy.

When I try and review a film like this, I always remember what the movie is trying to be. It is never fair to examine a film like this under the same lens that you would examine a film like Taxi Driver or Children of Men, because they are not trying to achieve the same purpose. Children of Men is trying to be something different to what Skyscraper is trying to be, and so saying Skyscraper is not believable or that it lacks arcs, character development or, well, logic, is unfair to the film. Of course, this is how I see films when I watch them and it doesn’t have to be how everyone sees them.

This is a film that is designed to be a fun action film, and that is what it is. You are entertained from start to finish, and The Rock has enough charisma to carry any film.

Skyscraper isn’t a film with a ground-breaking plot or complex characters or intriguing writing. There are instances in which you simply must abandon logic and just roll with it. There are times you can predict the next line with barely any thought. But that just adds to the charm.

Skyscraper is a great time and it doesn’t try to be anything more than that. The Rock is entertaining, the action is engaging and almost everything is dumb. But that’s why it’s cool. Not everything has to be Oscar-worthy.

The Michael Ashton column:

From the director of DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, comes the second chapter in Rawson Marshall Thurber’s trilogy of the underdog story. Except this time…. The Rock is dodging bullets while on a building, and just like The Rock’s career… the building is on fire. We can only hope the third one will take place in space, even though that’s where this movie was literally heading.

This is the type of movie that you are able to create a drinking game out of, whether it’s how many times you can guess the next line correctly, or how many computer screens change from offline to online and vice versa. But in there lies the fun of this movie. You shouldn’t go and see this movie by yourself. Take a pal, and just cheer everytime The Rock does something near-impossible, but believable enough because he has the muscles the size of treetrunks. It’s no coincidence that there are many Biblical and mythological references in this movie, ranging from Chin Han’s (the second Hollywood blockbuster he has been in where he is kidnapped from a Hong Kong building) character labelling the top of the Pearl as Heaven, as well as The Rock have a literal Achilles’ heel, not to mention his God-like presence.

Remember Neve Campbell? Don’t feel bad, I forgot she had a career as well. She’s back, and with the help of her stunt double, she’s able to achieve the impossible task; being the only likeable white person in this movie. I’m serious, not even her kids are white, thanks to Dwayne’s Johnson. Danish villain #65 does a great job of having an evil accent, and the editor does a fantastic job of wasting Noah Taylor. I have to applaud the director for allowing the Asian character’s to speak their own language, knowing that the audience was not limited to 5 year olds who are just learning to spell for the first time. However, I cannot applaud him for perpetuating the cliche of the black guy dying before everybody else.

If you were expecting Bruce Willis to climb out of a vent to say “Yippi ky-ay, mother-trucker” just before The Rock picks up the building to whack a Dinosaur, you will be sorely disappointed in the film’s lack of imagination. However, what you will find are high angle shots that will keep you away from rock climbing, a plot that is so paint by numbers you can almost see it drip (that line makes no sense, but I like the sound of it), and a charismatic lead you want to see survive because you hope that one day you’ll be in the same room as him, hoping that he does smells like cinnamon cookies.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

M
I
H
I
R

 

 

Advertisements

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Fun But Frustrating

In a world of three Marvel films a year, there can’t always be a huge, high-stakes monster of a film. This year, Marvel Studios have released arguably their heaviest solo film in Black Panther, and definitively their heaviest film in Avengers: Infinity War, so bringing it down for its final chapter is a wise decision.

Ant-Man and The Wasp is once again directed by Peyton Reed, and has virtually the same cast as the first film, with the exception of Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, Lawrence Fishburne as Bill Foster and Michelle Pfeiffer as Janette van Dyne.

This is a tricky review to write because Ant-Man and The Wasp is a film I want to love, but simply cannot because it’s problems cannot be ignored. I will talk about everything I did like later on, but first I must address the biggest problem with the film, and it is the writing. This film is written in ways that will leave you questioning it, given a little bit of thought.

The characters do not feel like they gain anything from the film. The film feels like an event with people there who are experiencing or are responsible for the event, but the characters themselves don’t seem to receive anything from the event.

Ghost, in particular, is frustrating, because she is utilised in a strange way in the film, but the character itself is interesting. I was hoping she would be used in a better way.

However, there is no denying that Ant-Man and The Wasp is an extremely entertaining movie. There is never a dull moment, and whether it be through the engaging action set pieces or the great humour, the film keeps you within it.

The humour in particular is really good, because it’s derived mostly from characters and not from situation, so all the humour feels more natural.

Everyone delivers a great performance in this film, from Evangeline Lily to Michael Pena, but Paul Rudd is especially a stand-out for reasons I will not get into because they involve spoilers.

Ant-Man and The Wasp is a film with noticeable problems, some of which do greatly bring the film down. However, it is still funny, charming, and entertaining. At a time when Marvel has seriously raised the bar for their films, it doesn’t quite earn the right to be in the same basket, but it certainly is a great time.

Also, definitely stay for the first post-credits scene. The second is optional.

Finally, in a little bit of self-advertising, I’ve started a new blog on Medium, specifically for analyses and passion pieces about film. You can read my first article, about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by clicking here, if you’d like.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Ant-Man and The Wasp: MIHIR

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – A Completely Forgettable Placeholder

The inevitable sequel to Jurassic World is fun. I’ll give it that. It’s a good time at the cinema and you will always be entertained. But that’s really all that I can say for it.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return to lead a film about dinosaurs almost going extinct again, and the consequences of this prospect.

I don’t have much to say about this film, and that should speak for itself. I’ve actually had a whole day between watching the film and beginning to write this review, and in the past day I have disliked this film progressively more.

I’d initially walked out of the theatre not very satisfied, but at least happy to see a film that isn’t terrible. But over time, it’s dawned on me that this just isn’t enough. I’m not saying all films should be perfect, or almost perfect, or even really good. They should at least aim for more than ‘not terrible’.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a film that is very much on the surface. Things happen, and there isn’t much significance to anything happening. The biggest problem the film has is in its characters. Before I get to the main characters, it is worth noting that the villains in the film are complete cartoon characters and the new supporting characters do not feel purposeful enough to even be in the film.

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt have even more tragic stories, not least because their characters are so disposable I can’t even remember their names. However, the bigger problem is that they feel less like characters than they do tools the story uses to push itself along. Nobody in this film is different at the end than they are at the beginning. Everyone is just a monotone, two-dimensional dialogue-machine, and that’s it.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a film that doesn’t even appear to be trying to be memorable, or stand out in any way whatsoever. It goes the route of the Amazing Spider-Man 2, and feels more like a stepping stone to a succeeding film, rather than an actual film in itself. I can’t do much for this except give it a negative rating:

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: MIHIR

Incredibles 2 Makes You Forget About the 14 Year Wait (featuring reviews of Tag and Upgrade)

This weekend will ultimately be dominated by a Pixar sequel that has been due for a very, very long time, but before I get to that, I would like to talk about two other movies that come out this weekend. One I do not like very much, and the other I fear will under-perform because it releases on the same weekend as Incredibles 2.

wicked-cool-new-overkill-red-band-trailer-for-the-sci-fi-action-film-upgrade-social

Upgrade is written and directed by Leigh Whannel, and is a revenge story with sci-fi elements.

What I liked about Upgrade is that there are interesting things within its world, and that it is directed in a unique way.

I don’t have much else to say, however. Upgrade is bogged down, at least for me, by almost comically laughable performances and questionable writing. It is a film that is effective in telling the story it wants to tell, but is executed rather poorly. Almost everyone in the cast delivers a performance that isn’t as good as it should be, and when it is a problem with a lot of actors, it could be a directorial problem. The interactions in this film are, with very few exemptions, noticeably awkward, and I was struggling throughout the film to be completely invested in what was happening because its acting stood out.

On the whole, Upgrade has some intriguing elements, but is a film I simply cannot find myself liking.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Upgrade: MIHIR

I think I’ve gotten all the negativity out of my system, because everything else I have to say in this article is nothing but positive.

10652175_web1_TAG-03558r

Tag. Is. Amazing.

Based on a true story, Tag follows a group of friends who have been playing the same game of tag for thirty years. There is nothing else that needs to be said to sell this movie.

I found myself very excited for Tag and I was not disappointed in any way. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. Tag is funny, creative and has quite a bit of heart to it. Its cast is naturally likeable, from Ed Helms to Jon Hamm to Jeremy Renner to Isla Fisher, and everyone seemed to truly be enjoying themselves making the film.

As I already said, I have nothing bad to say about this film, and even though everyone would want to watch Incredibles 2 this weekend (with good reason), I also strongly recommend Tag.

Tag: MIHIR

Here comes the big one.

https_blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.comuploadscardimage7871700ffea7f0-0b15-4ec8-b6cb-4d8765e02110

Growing up as someone born very late in the previous millennium, The Incredibles came out when I was four, and as I have grown up, I have had an evolving relationship with the film. As a little kid, it was a cool superhero movie with a lot of fun to offer. As an early adolescent I could see through some of the layers and the different ways in which it mocks the superhero genre itself. Now, The Incredibles is a film about the craziest mid-life crisis ever.

This is an unbelievable feat, because the way I see the movie now is nothing like how I used to see it. Over the last fourteen years there has been no shortage of praise for The Incredibles, but the truth is, there never will be enough. It is a spectacular piece of cinema that deserves to be remembered far into the future.

Fourteen years on, and here we are. It’s no surprise that in a packed theatre, I saw maybe two children. It is a little surreal to look around a room and realise that almost everyone there likely has a similar relationship with a movie as you, and all of you have waited so long for what you are about to see.

It’s worth taking a step back and appreciating that for a second. Incredibles 2 refrains on using nostalgia to get to its fans, but the very nature of it invites nostalgia. At least, it invites a beautiful collective attachment to something.

Incredibles 2 is incredible. It somehow manages to make you forgive it for taking so long to arrive while also making you enraged that it didn’t arrive earlier.

Brad Bird returns to write and direct, and it shows. Stylistically, Incredibles 2 is very similar to its predecessor. This is not a critique. If it ain’t broke…

Maturity is once again at the forefront of this film. I watched The Incredibles again this week and one thing that is noticeable with that film, and this one now too, is that it is paced rather differently to most Pixar films. Both Incredibles movies truly take their time to establish their context and ease the audience into the plot, rather than jumping into it head-first.

Naturally, the animation in Incredibles 2 is beautiful. Every returning voice actor also shines, and it doesn’t at all feel like we’ve left these characters for so long. Every character in the film is written wonderfully.

While it can be argued that Incredibles 2 is better than the original, I will refrain from making that comparison because I do not have a conclusion yet. However, one thing I definitively will say Incredibles 2 beats its predecessor in is humour, because this film is almost unbelievably hilarious. There is no joke that doesn’t land and there are so many great jokes. It is an enthralling experience from start to finish.

Also, the short film attached to Incredibles 2 is both strange and heartwarming.

Incredibles 2 is a film that has to make everyone, at least to a minimum extent, happy. It is a sequel that may have taken too long to arrive, but certainly does not disappoint. It is really saying something when a film can give The Incredibles a run for its money, and it’s really something else to say it may even be better.

Incredibles 2: MIHIR

Ocean’s 8 May Be the Most Frustrating Film of the Year

Going into Ocean’s 8, I didn’t have expectations but I did see potential, and I was rather excited. The trailers for the film were finely assembled and the cast, it goes without saying, is packed with big names.

On that front, this film does have a good cast. I am talking specifically about performances and not necessarily character, but Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and the rest do a good job with what they are given. Hathaway, in particular, is a scene-stealer.

The movie is also occasionally funny. And it looks good.

That is as far as I can go with the compliments for this film.

Ocean’s 8 is a reboot of sorts of the Ocean’s series of films from the early 2000s, and this time around there is an all-female cast.

I really wanted to like this film. I wanted it to be nothing more than a fun, popcorn movie, and somehow it was less than that. Ocean’s 8 is a film that can best be summarised by one word: nothing.

This is a film in which there are never any stakes whatsoever. This isn’t an exaggeration. This is a heist film that doesn’t have a single moment in which it has stakes. It is a film that feels like it has no script at all, and could probably have been made by handing out the next day’s script with the call sheet during production.

I like films that are fun, and that’s why I wanted to watch this film. But when a film simply lacks in a most basic department, it cannot be excused for being fun. Ocean’s 8 is written so lazily that anyone at all can think of a better written version of it with barely any thought. Not only are there no stakes, I could never really decipher the main character’s motivation. It can be argued that it is explicitly stated in the film, but it is paper thin. If that is her motivation, then the film doesn’t do enough to explain that it is.

As I said, I do think this film is fun, and it has good performances. But it is completely pointless. I don’t mean the reboot is pointless; I was actually excited for it. The film itself is entirely pointless. I don’t know if there is a stranger critique of a film than ‘it doesn’t feel like this had a script’, but I also don’t know if there is a harsher critique either.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Ocean’s 8: MIHIR

If You Expect Nothing From It, Solo Will Truly Surprise You

It is a strange feeling when there is a Star Wars movie just around the corner and I feel no excitement for it whatsoever. This is the same person that was going insane a month leading up to The Last Jedi. It was difficult to be excited for a film I saw no reason to want, had severe production problems (most notably losing its directors) and had Rogue One as a measuring stick.

If we are to use Rogue One as a measuring stick (a film for which I actually was excited), there isn’t a shadow of a doubt to me that Solo is the better film. There was a brief phase during Rogue One in which I actually fell asleep, but with Solo I was engaged from start to finish, and really, that’s all I ever needed.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a movie without flaws. Solo’s plot isn’t worth summarising because I’m not sure how, but I will say it is an interesting plot and is appropriate in the context of the film. The flaws are few but major, with the biggest being the film’s predictability and the severe weakness of its ‘villain’. On that note, it is worth mentioning that Paul Bettany does a great job with what little he has.

In fact, the biggest indicator that Solo is superior to Rogue One is the fact that it has great characters. Emilia Clarke’s Kira, Woody Harrelson’s Becket and Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian are all wonderfully cast and thoroughly written. The biggest surprise is Alden Ehrenreich, who plays a great Han Solo. I had a predisposition that I would reject him completely, but I just had to concede defeat. It cannot be easy taking over a role this iconic and so he deserves to be commended for doing such a good job.

Also, Chewbacca is naturally wonderful. When is he not?

When I compare Solo to the original trilogy, the new trilogy (in the making) and even Revenge of the Sith, it probably isn’t of the same quality. A more appropriate term would be ‘memorability’. While I did enjoy everything I was seeing on screen, none of it was particularly memorable.

However, I should stress that this film didn’t need to be any more than that. It’s a sincerely fun time and that’s all I needed from it. It’s a space western (of sorts) and that plays into itself. It is funny, the action is great and I didn’t even notice the two hour twenty-three minute run time fly by.

While there isn’t much of the spectacular technically, I will say that the cinematography in one particular sequence stands out and I loved every frame of it. I will not say which sequence, but I had to mention that.

When it comes down to it, I expected this movie to be another Rogue One, but it really isn’t. It’s a great time and there’s no point asking it for any more than that. Solo, I still think, is unnecessary, but I’m also glad we got it. I’ve got nothing more to say.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Solo: A Star Wars Story: MIHIR

Season 5 May Not Be Its Last, But It May Just Be Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Best (no spoilers)

There is pure joy associated with the fact that I write this knowing it isn’t going to be an article of sorrow, tribute and remembrance.

Here we are, instead, after a rollercoaster of ten days, allowed to simply celebrate the fact that… Well I can’t really say because it’s a spoiler.

Season 5 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is, despite the competition from the rest, the best of the show so far. It is a season to be remembered for its incredible Halloween episode, gripping overarching plot, innovative episodes and truly important character development.

It really says something about a series when its already fleshed out cast of characters can be given so much more in its fifth season, and that really is a representation of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s characters are people, nothing less. Season five elevates all its characters.

Season five also marks a milestone for the Nine-Nine, with a celebratory 99th episode (instead of the traditional 100th), and I could argue that it’s the show’s best ever episode.

brooklyn-nine-nine-episode-99-featured.jpg

Add to this an episode in which Rosa is caught in an active shooter situation, and a brilliantly unique episode, The Box, guest starring someone I have nothing but love for, Sterling K Brown, and you find yourself with a season of episodes that truly stand out. Also, it has, by far, the best season finale of the show to this point.

TheBox_-_1

This season, inevitably, will be remembered for almost being the last, and if it was, it would have been a wonderful last season. Thankfully, it isn’t, and it certainly looks like things aren’t going to slow down from here.

The worldwide uproar when Fox cancelled the show wasn’t just for nothing. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, to those of us who love the show, genuinely means something. Sure, it’s just a workplace comedy, but the show itself is so much more than that. It is naturally diverse, without drawing attention to itself. It is an overwhelmingly positive show, much like Parks and Recreation, that is driven by characters supporting one another.

Something else that needs to be brought into the spotlight is just how much all these characters have matured since season one, and how much tighter their bonds are. It feels natural because the show is written that way, but it is a beautiful thing to see progression in character.

And once again, I feel the need to repeat myself in saying the show isn’t dead. There isn’t a TV show today, or possibly ever, that I have a connection to quite as much as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and it has earned its right to stay.

There isn’t a trace of a doubt that season six will be as charming, funny and… Well… Moving as this season was.

Nine-Nine!

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (season 5): MIHIR

 

Riverdale season 2: A Showcase of Dreadful TV Writing

Last year, I watched a thirteen episode series that caught me off guard with how good it was and made me excited for more.

When the second season was announced, that excitement only grew, but it did take a little hit when it was announced that the second season was going to be twenty-two episodes. My concern that most of the season would be obsolete and forgettable soon accompanied my excitement. Then the second season of Riverdale arrived.

I couldn’t have been more right.

It’s not just that most of the second season of the show is pointless, it’s also that a lot of it is just bad. This season seemed like it was going out of its way to be a showcase of poor television writing, and if it really was, it succeeded.

I don’t even know where to begin here, but I’ll logically start with the plot point that I think was supposed to be at the forefront. There is a serial killer on the loose and nobody knows who it is. That’s pretty much it.  It is one of the two plots that actually work. The Black Hood story is not perfect – far from it – but at least it is a story that makes sense.

The rest of the season, however, falls flat, especially when it comes to how awfully written Veronica and Archie are. Without meaning to spoil anything, there are points in this season when both characters are written as definitive villains. There isn’t even an attempt to justify their actions, and at this point anyone watching should be questioning why they should care for two main characters who are just bad people.

But while Archie and Veronica are consistently written poorly, it’s Betty that suffers the lowest points on the show. Betty’s actual arc in the whole season is good, but there are moments – which I will not reveal – which are so bad for her character, you wonder how anyone on the writers’ team could have sold that to the show-runners.

The real star of this season is Cole Sprouse’s Jughead, who not only receives the strongest story and writing, but also the best performance. Jughead in this season is more rounded than anyone else, and everything he does feels right for the story. He is written the truest to his character and his entire arc is immensely satisfying.

Apart from the core four of Riverdale, there are clear hits and misses. Josie and Kevin are basically non-existent, Reggie is… There… And Cheryl has high points but suffers from severe inconsistency throughout the season. The parents of Riverdale have certainly stepped up this season, however, with Alice Cooper, Hiram Lodge and FP Jones being the most compelling.

This season also does a great job of humanising the South Side Serpents, which is really why everything with Jughead works. There is a major plot from start to finish surrounding the tension between the North and South sides of Riverdale, and while it has its questionable moments, it is a good plot. The Serpents also bring with them new characters that are welcome additions to the show, particularly Toni Topaz.

While I appear to have listed strong plot elements in the season, I need to make sure I’m not being misinterpreted. This is not a good season. There are twenty-two episodes, and I actually liked about nine of them. I loved three, and one of them is a musical and another is told in a very unique way, at least for Riverdale. That’s only because I have a soft spot for TV episodes that are stylistically distinct from most other episodes.

The biggest problem casting a shadow over this season is the fact that the show never really seems to know what it’s doing. Things happen and then other things happen after that, and you’re not really sure why you should care. The first season of the show, being only thirteen episodes, was crisp, focused and effective. While it is never easy to be gripping for twenty-two episodes, it could have definitely been done better. There’s no way around that.

The fact is that when I look back at this season of the show, despite it having a wonderful Jughead story among other good elements, I will always think about how much I disliked Veronica and Archie and how poorly almost everything was executed. That does make me upset, but I am not going to turn my back on the show because when Riverdale is good, it’s great.

I just hope it manages to be good again in the next season.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Riverdale (season 2): MIHIR

Deadpool 2 Goes Bigger, But Is It Better? (no spoilers)

The year is 2016. It is February. A film that is possibly the biggest passion project ever made comes out. It is more successful than anyone expected.

Fast forward two years and that film has a sequel, and this time, it’s a Summer movie. With a much larger budget.

Deadpool 2 can best be described by imagining the original film, but on steroids. Not only is it a longer film, it also has more than four sets, and it takes both sides of action-comedy up a few notches.

Even the plot is much more complex than the first. I won’t even explain it. I will say that the film does manage to tell its story in a manner that’s easy to follow, so it doesn’t really feel so complex when one is watching the film.

I didn’t place too many expectations on Deadpool 2, but I certainly didn’t expect to walk out of it unsure about how I would review it.

I’ll start with what I liked. Ryan Reynolds cannot go wrong as this character. He is clearly passionate about the role and it resonates in his performance. Josh Brolin also does a good job as Cable, not really bringing anything special to the table but effectively delivering on what he needs to.

Deadpool 2 had me laughing from the very first frame of the film to the very last. The humour in the film is a varying degree of vulgar, and its subjects are even more widely varied, and it works almost all of the time. Much like the original, this is clearly more a comedy than an action film, and that’s exactly what it needs to be.

On that note, however, I’m going to talk about problems I had with the film. I talked to everyone I watched the movie with afterwards and one thing that was clear was that everyone liked it more than I did. This isn’t to say I didn’t like the film – I really did – I just have more issues with it than perhaps most people will.

The humour in the film, as I said, works, but I did find that a lot of the jokes were carried over from the original film. Some work really well, but sometimes it comes off as lazy writing. It’s funny because ‘lazy writing’ is also a joke in the film (this doesn’t count as a spoiler because it was in a trailer), but that doesn’t justify some of the writing in the film for me.

The CGI is also… Questionable. The first film was allowed a pass in this regard because of its budget, but this film simply isn’t.

The final problem I had with the film is my biggest, but it is also something that I think most people won’t agree with me on. The first film found a perfect balance between a light and serious tone, but this film, at least to me, struggles to do the same thing. I cannot explain this in any way without mentioning spoilers, but all I will say is that there are things in this film that don’t quite fit in for me. Perhaps this will be different on another viewing – whenever that is – but as a first time digestion, there was a bit of tonal friction in the film.

Deadpool 2 is a film that is better than the original in a few ways and worse than the original in others. I had initially thought of rating it lower than I am, but the post-credits scene is possibly the greatest thing ever put to film, so it pushes the film up a rating.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Deadpool 2: MIHIR

 

 

A Spoiler-Filled Analysis of Avengers: Infinity War

It’s been a week and I really hope a week is enough because I have a lot to say.

Avengers: Infinity War is a film that is so special to me that I reviewed it twice, and here I am after three viewings with still more to say.

I’d like to start, however, with a couple of things I really should have touched upon in my two spoiler-free reviews. First is the film’s cinematography, which I think is fine, but becomes something awe-inspiring in one particular scene: Vormir.

Over three viewings, I grew to appreciate how beautiful every single frame of this scene is, from the initial glorious wide shot, to the snowfall as Thanos mourns over Gamora, to the end when Thanos actually receives the Soul Stone. It is truly beautiful.

The second thing I really should have mentioned is Alan Silvestri’s breathtaking score. Marvel’s music has really stepped up as of late, from Tyler Bates’ surprisingly moving compositions for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 to Ludwig Goransson’s criminally underrated Black Panther suite, and Silvestri – who I will always associate with his masterpiece for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey – returns to give this film some wonderful compositions. His original Avengers theme, obviously, returns, but there are instances when the film’s score elevates it even further. The Vormir scene, for instance, is visually stunning, but the music to that scene is also magnificent.

Moving on, I’d like to talk about something fun. Death.

Marvel Studios have been widely criticised for their lack of big character deaths, especially when it came to Captain America: Civil War. In response to this, Anthony and Joe Russo said they didn’t see a reason for anyone to die, so they didn’t kill anyone.

There is an argument to be made that the lack of death drastically reduces stakes, but I find myself on the other side. The MCU respects death. Nobody dies for the sake of dying, and every death truly matters. Consider every major MCU death before this film (excluding villains). Phil Coulson’s death is what brought The Avengers together, Quicksilver’s death is what fueled Scarlett Witch in Age of Ultron (there was also some legal mumbo jumbo) and Yondu gave his life for Peter after a fully realised arc for both characters. All three deaths were deeply meaningful, and that’s what death should be. Death without reason is a betrayal of character.

That is true of the character deaths in Infinity War as well. Heimdall is among those that Thanos kills at the start, but in his final act, he sends The Hulk to Earth as a warning. Loki, who has been the greatest character in the MCU, goes from being the villain in Thor to dying a hero’s death. Loki’s death is perhaps the perfect conclusion to his incredible arc across multiple films. It truly says something that audiences felt so much pain seeing someone who did so many terrible things die.

(It is also amazing how we can say actors as huge as Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston are in the film for one scene).

The two other big deaths are torturous to watch, and I won’t get into the significance of Gamora’s because I found a great article that does so, which I strongly recommend reading here. However, there is something that resulted from this that I will talk about.

Peter Quill is not the worst person ever. If I’d lost my mother at 12, had my father figure die in my arms, had the very last memory of the person I loved be me attempting to kill her, and the person who actually did kill her was right in front of me, defenseless, I’d probably forget everything else in the world and finally snap because there is finally something that I could blame for all of my pain. I think a lot of Quill’s tragedy is lost in his persona – which ultimately is what he tries to achieve – but it can only be hidden so much. And that impulse to attack is not out of character. Watch Guardians 2 again. He does the exact same thing.

The most inevitable death in this film was Vision’s, but it was done so well that it almost hurt the most.

Transitioning from death, I’d like to talk about loss. It’s a cheerful article.

I have gained something new every time I’ve watched this film, but my favourite scene remains the same. It’s surprising because I haven’t seen too many people talk about it. It’s just a conversation between Rocket and Thor. But it’s perfect.

I mentioned earlier how Quill’s tragedy is buried under his facade, but when it comes to everyone else, I think their immense loss is overshadowed by everything they actually do. I don’t know if anyone else felt this way, but simply hearing Thor list out all the people he lost was possibly the most powerful moment in the entire film for me, because it shows how far every character has come and also illustrates that Thor truly has lost his home. He has absolutely nothing anymore.

I bring up everyone‘s loss because everyone has lost so much over the years. Tony Stark has lost, in a sense, his sanity and Steve Rogers has lost his entire life… Twice. And these are only two examples.

Chris Hemsworth is smiling and crying in this scene, and he does it so well. Thor’s last film – and even this one – elevated him to untouchable levels of power, but you see the real Thor in this scene. Hemsworth manages to translate that Thor could crumble under his own weight if he didn’t have a purpose, and it’s heartbreaking. At least, to me it is.

The last thing I want to talk about is Thanos himself, who I think I’ve praised enough in my two reviews, but I do want to talk about one more thing. Thanos is introduced as a hard, menacing villain, but this significantly changes throughout the film.

Yes, he murders Loki in the first scene, but from then on something incredible happens. I think Thanos stripping himself of his armour through the film isn’t just because he grows more powerful as he retrieves the Stones. I see it as a metaphor for Thanos himself throughout the entire film. His heartless exterior fades away and the real Thanos emerges. Throughout the film, Thanos loses his armour and his facade. He loses all his children and he loses the one person he loves, to himself. Thanos loses as Thanos wins. This is astonishing because this is completely unconventional writing for a villain, and it’s incredible.

I hope I’m done writing about this film. At least until my top ten films of the year article comes around. I could probably write a whole other article with things I haven’t talked about yet, but I think I’ll leave it here. Another writing spree awaits in a year.