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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Rated PG-13: For Intense Violence and Minimal Sensitive Themes

Running Time: 149 minutes (2 hours and 29 minutes)

Released on April 25, 2018 (PH Release Date; Available for Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Inspired by "The Infinity Gauntlet" by Jim Starlin, and "Infinity" by Jonathan Hickman


"Iron Man" Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby

"Thor" Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby

"Captain America" Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

"Guardians of the Galaxy", the 2008 version, Created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

"Doctor Strange" and "Spider-Man" Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

"Black Panther", "The Hulk", and "The Avengers" Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby


Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Starring:

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Anthony "Tony" Stark / Iron Man
  • Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
  • Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / The Hulk
  • Chris Evans as Steven "Steve" Rogers
  • Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange
  • Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes / War Machine
  • Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
  • Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther
  • Paul Bettany as The Vision
  • Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
  • Anthony Mackie as Samuel "Sam" Wilson / The Falcon
  • Sebastian Stan as James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes / White Wolf
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye
  • Letitia Wright as Shuri
  • Dave Bautista as Drax
  • Zoe Saldana as Gamora
  • Josh Brolin as Thanos
  • Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord
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And after ten years of waiting, it finally comes. War. The heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except for the ones featured in the shows at Netflix and ABC, have come together against a threat unlike any other.

The initial reviews accuse the defendant of being overly crowded and having a rather short running time. With God's good grace, and the powers that be that are the Infinity Stones, we will get to the bottom of this situation, and tell you if this film is really worth buying a ticket for. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and film court is now open for the case of Dateline v. Avengers: Infinity War.

I hope you remember ... that there are tons of spoilers coming your way. I mean it. If you have not seen this film yet, you might want to leave, then come back later.

You should also be warned that, given that this is a culmination of a decade worth of storytelling, major spoilers for past M.C.U. films, starting from Captain America: Civil War, all the way to Thor: Ragnarok, and one major callback from Captain America: The First Avenger, are within range. This is your last warning.


What is the movie about?

After years of searching, the Mad Titan Thanos, played by Brolin (Deadpool 2), has finally decided to do things his way. He is hellbent on reclaiming the highly destructive "Infinity Stones" that are scattered all across the universe, and Thanos will not let the mightiest of heroes stand between him and his genocidal ambitions.

With doomsday about to come kicking, Tony Stark, played by Downey Jr. (Due Date), Thor, played by Hemsworth (Star Trek), Bruce Banner, played by Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Steve Rogers, played by Evans (Playing It Cool), Natasha Romanoff, played by Johansson (Ghost in the Shell), Stephen Strange, played by Cumberbatch (August: Osage County), James Rhodes, played by Cheadle (Boogie Nights), Peter Parker, played by Holland (Pilgrimage), T'Challa, played by Boseman (Marshall), The Vision, played by Bettany (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Wanda Maximoff, played by Olsen (Ingrid Goes West), Sam Wilson, played by Mackie (Detroit), Bucky Barnes, played by Stan (We Have Always Lived in the Castle), Okoye, played by Gurira (Mother of George), and Shuri, played by Wright (Urban Hymn), must join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy, composing of but not limited to, Peter Quill, played by Pratt (Passengers), Drax, played by Bautista (Spectre), Gamora, played by Saldana (Infinitely Polar Bear) must make a last stand against Thanos, before the world, and the universe, is destroyed!


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What we think of the movie?

The Defense:
  • Josh Brolin's Thanos exceeds expectations!
Almost all of the M.C.U. films have been building-up to Thanos being revealed as the baddest of the bad, the "quasi-protagonist" of this flick, the devil that we all sort-of know. We are very much glad to report to you that the rumors are true, and Thanos is one seriously emotionally complex, maniacally devious, and ultimately complex whirlwind of death and destruction. You might even say that he is truly the best villain in the entire franchise for a variety of reasons.

I am a tad bit disappointed, at the same time slightly impressed, by his updated origin story here. Disappointed, because generally speaking, he is changed to an evil version of the popular DC Comics character Superman's father, Jor-El, wherein like the aforementioned character, he once tried to warn his kind of an impending doom that will bring their species to extinction, to no avail. Instead of fathering a child and wishing that said child would be a hero, he dedicates his life to the mercy killing of various individuals in a universal scale. Impressed, because I felt that this made Thanos a much more terrifying presence instead of the overly desperate, and overly delusional hopeless romantic pining for the feelings of the physical manifestation of Death itself, although that would also be pretty decent in some way. Either way, Thanos' core personality traits remain intact, and the screenplay does the character justice.

But the real draw to Thanos is his slightly sympathetic nature, which manifests through his obvious regret when he has to kill Gamora, the only individual in the entire universe whom he truly cares about, in order to obtain the Soul Stone, the most mysterious among all of the Infinity Stones, and his cunning intelligence, that shows when the Guardians of the Galaxy are lead in an illusion-based trap through the use of his Reality Stone. I also commend the amount of character development that Thanos gets in this film, which is not an average M.C.U. villain would get.

We should also be thankful for the extremely pitch perfect casting of Josh Brolin, who is certainly having the time of his life by having two major comicbook roles in the big screen, plus one if you would count the forgotten Jonah Hex adaptation, as he managed to make this seeming ripoff of DC's Darkseid more than just a pastiche. By placing emphasis on his unexpected human and relatable qualities, we see Thanos not just a disturbing figure, but an existentialist who raises a few interesting points pertaining to inevitability of chaos, with a side of a little "doomsday prophet" to go along his demented mental state.

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  • Its proper mix of humor and surprising bleakness makes this flick ... perfectly balanced!
Are you tired of the M.C.U. films' tendency to try and try and try to be funny? Are you bored at the apparent lack of stakes in every single climactic battle? Worry not, dear friends, for Avengers: Infinity War gives you a very nihilistic, and unbelievably mind-blowing movie where death really does matter for everyone involved (unless the currently untitled sequel comes around, but still), where fighting Thanos is no dance-off or an average fight against a faceless army of random monsters, and where, in the end, everybody loses, and the bad guy wins. In case you really do not know how dark this film is, everyone gasped when we realized the flick just faded to black after half of the universe is erased from existence.

But since this is a "family" movie, and since this is more or less the staple of the entire franchise already, there is still some humor intact, but in contrast to past entries, it feels much more natural and never does it feel extremely out-of-place, although not as much prevalent as it was in Thor: Ragnarok. These mostly come from the quip-loving heroes such as Spider-Man, Star-Lord, and Iron Man, as well as a little bit of the usual awkward humor, which still feels a little oddly placed at times, from the Guardians of the Galaxy. These are mostly involved at the near-first part of the film, with Tony Stark calling-out one of Thanos' henchmen as "Squidward" from the animated series Spongebob Squarepants as probably the best gag in the film, and second place going to Drax, claiming to be invisible after standing still for an hour, awkwardly staring at Star-Lord and Gamora chatting about what to do with Thanos.

This change of tone, and sign of overall maturity, enables the movie to fully develop its characters without delving to unnecessary quips or one-liners, and it only makes us root for heroes, after years of getting acquainted with them, even more.

Arguably, the most emotional scene in the film, for me, that allowed the audience to get glimpses of character development is when Star-Lord lashes-out at Thanos when he learns that Thanos killed Gamora to get the Soul Stone, which cost Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Mantis, Nebula, and Drax the chance to get the Infinity Gauntlet. Not only do we get to see Star-Lord be dead serious, even more serious than he was in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but we see just how much Gamora meant to Star-Lord. Thor's solo arc in this film is itself one huge tearjerker, as he is the last Asgardian in existence, and he struggles the entire movie to cope with his losses.

Also, Strange's haunting last words that state that they never stood a chance, even after seeing multiple alternate probabilities, shows just how much of a practical realist Strange is, and how much he was willing to just end it reveals how much hope is taken away from our heroes, most of all Strange. Gamora's origin story is also great, by the way, even if it is only shown for only one scene.

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      • Nothing is better than having (almost) all of the actors and actresses interact with each other on-screen.
      All of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, teaming-up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, plus a whole long list of new additions ... it really is a dream come true for everyone who has been watching the movies for over a decade.

      To keep it short, considering that there are loads of actors and actresses to list down, I just have to say that my personal breakout performances are those of the following. One of whom is Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, whose on-screen grief-stricken tantrum involving Gamora's death put all audience members at the edge of their seats. Dave Bautista as Drax delivers some funny moments, and so does Bradley Cooper (Burnt) as the voice of Rocket Raccoon.

      Another is Chris Hemsworth, who is on a roll after finally getting to do Thor justice with his third and last solo outing, as well as the character's story arc here. Basically every scene with Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Holland are awesome, especially the climactic battle scenes resulting in numerous deaths, even Spider-Man's, which we see is absolutely soul-crushing thanks to Tom Holland's brilliant performance. Josh Brolin, as we have previously said before. Zoe Saldana, who is able to show-off much more of her acting prowess by exploring the emotional complexities that lie within the adopted daughter of Thanos, and her unexpected pre-death exchange with Thanos is absolutely devastating. 

      And Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, both of whom, despite having a very rushed romance-themed story arc that spanned for about three films in total, show-off plenty of great chemistry. Olsen's saddened expression at having to kill The Vision, in order to prevent Thanos from getting the Mind Stone, then having to witness The Vision get resurrected, and killed again when Thanos just pulls the Mind Stone from his forehead. Bettany is also not far behind, and heartbreaking pleas for Wanda to kill him, and before that, his requests for reassurance that he is not evil, are made all the more better by Bettany's acting. Special mention also goes to Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak), who makes his potentially last hurrah as the God of Mischief really disheartening, even more so for fans of the character.

      I also appreciate the other actors, but for now, I will just settle for the rest of their works as "alright", considering that much of the film is heavily placing emphasis on the above mentioned characters. This leads to the actors and actresses not really getting to have any chance to shine. I do hope to see them get to standout more in the forthcoming follow-up, and since it is going to be a film that will mark the end of an era, they better get to have at least one powerful moment. They still did good, though.

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      • The action, the score, and the visuals, are at their best here.
      The biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe film ought to have the best of the best elements, and because they know how much we have been waiting for this, they certainly did not disappoint, although the amount of dialogue-driven scenes dedicated to character development could be off-putting for only the most impatient. The action scenes, especially the climactic twenty-plus minutes battle against Thanos and his forces, is tense and packed to the brim with gorgeous visuals. The shots of seeing all of the heroes fight against a common enemy is simply pulse-pounding.

      I also have got to admire the fight with Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and Spider-Man, against two of Thanos' most powerful henchmen in New York City, because it is fun, and although not as nail-biting as the succeeding sequences, it is strangely optimistic, and it helps prepare the audience for the overall bleak tone that is about to come. Although the scene when Knowhere, the workplace of The Collector, played by Benicio del Toro (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), who holds one of the Infinity Stones, being burned by Thanos is not filled with action, it remains as one of the most disturbing scenes in the film. Del Toro's cameo as an illusion, who claps at Gamora for killing a fake Thanos makes this scene even creepier.

      The designs for the Outriders, Thanos' semi-faceless army of ravenous monsters, are outright terrifying, and they are just as visually striking as the designs of the Black Order. The design for Ebony Maw, played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (The Cured), which includes a semi-reptilian exterior theme that amplifies the character's creepy nature, for Cull Obsidian, played by Terry Notary (Kong: Skull Island), which is basically a default giant gray alien look, but still a menacing one, and for Proxima Midnight, played by Carrie Coon (The Post), which removes the large black horned helmet of the character, and instead placing more focus on her much more humanoid qualities such as her beautifully blue-colored eye line, are just magnificent. The best design among all four members is the design of Corvus Glaive, played by Michael James Shaw (Constantine), whose goblin-like appearance make for a menacing presence, which only looks better with his trademark spear and hood.

      Iron Man's "Bleeding Edge" armor, which functions almost similarly to T'Challa's suit when it comes to wearing it, while also granting users the ability to create various objects, is just a beaut. This also goes for Spider-Man's "Iron-Spider" armor, which was originally teased at Spider-Man: Homecoming.

      Also, the designs of various otherworldly locations such as the locations for the Soul Stone, and the place where Thor's new weapon, "Strombreaker" is built, which is  known as "Nidavellir", are wonderful. Plus, Alan Silvestri's melancholic beats further amplify the film's darker atmosphere, and his music really becomes effective during the ending.

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      The Prosecution:
      • The Black Order and some heroes are side-lined, and it may or may not be for the best.
      Among all of the four core members of the Black Order, only Ebony Maw, the guy who can move things with his mind, for those who are not aware who is who, is unique. Ebony Maw is the only one who gets different abilities, while his other siblings only get super strength and special sets of weaponry that are barely featured, and he is also the one to get the most lines, therefore making him the most developed. Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive are not even mentioned by name. As such, it feels slightly underwhelming to see all of them bite the dust during the Wakandan defense, especially Maw, who is not even able to participate in the final battle after being killed by Spider-Man, Iron Man and Doctor Strange by pushing him into the dark void of space.

      This sounds a little bit too demanding of me, but I really do wish that all the characters could have gotten one standout moment, because man, there are a lot of underused major characters, most especially Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch. It is funny considering that even one of the characters, Okoye specifically, raised the question as to why she is just watching the entire battle from the secured areas of the Wakandan fortress. 

      Anthony Mackie's The Falcon, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Sebastian Stan's newly christened White Wolf, Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther, Pom Klementieff's (Oldboy Remake) Mantis, and Don Cheadle's War Machine, even Mark Ruffalo's The Hulk all feel underwhelming here, as the focus is on the many actors and actresses that we mentioned awhile ago. I understand why this is so though, but I wished  that they could have been used much more. Also, the final fight scenes would have been much better than it already is if Wong, played by Benedict Wong (Sunshine), joined, since he only appeared in the New York City scene.

      Although, I could say that The Hulk's story arc, wherein Banner is having a hard time transforming into the Green Goliath, and is now forced to fight in the new Hulkbuster armor, which he knows how to use for some reason, does leave enough room for speculation. A role in the story that could be fleshed-out even more in the next film. I also have to say that one exchange between Rocket and White Wolf, wherein Rocket asked if he could get Bucky's newly upgraded arm, is a neat callback, and Black Widow and Okoye's tag-team battle against Proxima Midnight is indeed fun.

      I also wish that they could use the Red Skull, played by Ross Marquand (The Walking Dead), in a much more prevalent role in the next installment, since his return as the guardian of the Soul Stone, while it makes sense narrative wise, feels lacking. For one thing, he is Captain America's arch-nemesis, and he has been missing for a lot of movies already, so I think it would really be nice to see his hinted powers at full capacity. It is still a nice surprise though. I think that was the only time when I really did gasped in a movie theater.

      I might have also wanted to see the Xandar fight scene that took place off-screen, wherein Thanos obliterated the planet to get the Power Stone, and perhaps even the Masters of the Mystic Arts responding to the crisis in the fourth movie.

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        • The movie will really test how much you remember from past M.C.U. titles (and how much you will remember soon).
        My last concern with the movie is that it borders heavily on how much you remember about what happened in other flicks. In-contrast to all of the past flicks, which only feature not-so subtle nods and references, you must have watched all of the Phase 3 films for you to understand how all of the characters managed to find themselves in their respective current predicaments, especially Thor: Ragnarok, which will definitely help you understand how Asgard is now reduced to a small group of homeless aliens, and, as this film shows, how the population is reduced to a sole survivor. Captain America: Civil War is also integral, because this will help you understand why Captain America, The Falcon, and Black Widow are no longer members of The Avengers, why Bucky managed to find himself in Wakanda, and why they only get to appear about halfway through the movie. All the way from Phase 1, Captain America: The First Avenger is definitely something that you should watch for you to appreciate the Red Skull's cameo here, and it gives context on how he ended-up in space. Guardians of the Galaxy should give you insight on how the Power Stone ended-up on the planet Xandar, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 should also be watched for you to know whatever Star-Lord was talking about with regards to his father with Thor.

        However, this does not necessarily present any problem for me, because I have been keeping track of the franchise since its inception, but for others who are not all that familiar, they might get confused along the way.

        The film itself ends in a cliffhanger, and it might make the movie-viewing experience somewhat incomplete, and obviously, the next film is counting on you to remember what transpires here. That is not really much of a problem but a mild annoyance, but surely enough, you will be hooked until the next Avengers movie.

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        The Ruling: Not Guilty!

        While it does tend to exceed its grasp, huge twists and real emotional stakes make Avengers: Infinity War the most ambitious Marvel Cinematic Universe film yet, and it will definitely put a smile on your face.

        Dang, I am just blown away with what I have just seen with my friends! Be sure to check-out the movie while it is still in theaters, and considering that you have made it this far, I am going to assume that you have watched the film. As such, please be reminded that Thanos demands your silence. Before you leave, do also check-out this awesome piece of animation from a little studio known as "ArtSpear Entertainment". Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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        Thor: The Dark World (2013)

        Rated PG-13: For Intense Violence, and Minimal Sensitive Themes

        Running Time: 112 minutes (1 hour and 52 minutes)

        Genre/s: Action, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero

        Released on November 8, 2013 (US Release Date; Available for Worldwide Viewing)

        Presented by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios



        "Thor" Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby



        Writers: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Don Payne, and Robert Rodat

        Director: Alan Taylor

        Starring:
        • Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
        • Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
        • Tom Hiddleston as Loki Laufeyson
        • Anthony Hopkins as Odin Borson
        • Idris Elba as Heimdall
        • Christopher Eccleston as Malekith the Accursed
        • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Algrim the Strong / Kurse
        • Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig
        • Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
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        Countdown to Avengers: Infinity War continues with the most forgettable , Marvel Cinematic Universe movie since probably The Incredible Hulk, and that one is still much better. In case it is not yet obvious, this is my personal least favorite flick.

        This film has been accused of being "extremely corporate", as it only exists for one reason, and one reason only, and that is to serve as an approximate two-hour long filler episode until Avengers: Age of Ultron. With the All-Father's good graces, we will see if the critics and fans are right to forget all about it. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and movie court is now in session for the case of Dateline v. Thor: The Dark World.

        If you still have not watched this flick, it best that you remain in the dark, because spoilers are up ahead.



        What is the movie about?

        After putting an end to the sinister plans of his adoptive brother, the God of Mischief Loki, played by Hiddleston (The Night Manager), Thor, played by Hemsworth (The Cabin in the Woods), has some catching-up to do. Not only does he have to restore peace to all of the Nine Realms after the Bifrost, Asgard's primary source of interstellar travel that is monitored by Heimdall, played by Elba (The Mountain Between Us), was destroyed not so long ago, leaving the rest of the universe unguarded by Asgardians, Thor must also reconnect with his friends from Earth, including Erik Selvig, played by Skarsgård (Cinderella), Darcy Lewis, played by Dennings (To Write Love on Her Arms), and most especially his girlfriend Jane Foster, played by Portman (Jackie), and help them in their latest scientific quest.

        When Jane is unwillingly dragged onto a malevolent plot by the Dark Elf Malekith, the Accursed, played by Eccleston (28 Days Later), who, alongside his right-hand Elf Algrim the Strong, played by Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad) plans to plunge the entire universe in a new dark age, Thor must join forces with Loki, and must decide if he should choose a life on Asgard, and takeover the place of his father Odin, played by Hopkins (Fracture), as the king of Asgard, or stay and be with Jane.

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        What we think of the movie?

        The Defense:
        • At least the visuals are much more polished than the last time.
        There are a lot of things that I seriously dislike about this film, and I do mean several. But since this is a movie review, I ought to go through some of the only good things that I see in this movie, and that is the updated visuals, costume designs included, for this flick.

        I guess the production team really took it up a notch when it comes to the fantasy side, almost. They all managed to add a little bit more color through the use of eye-catching C.G.I., and costumes and set-pieces ripped straight out of someone as imaginative as J.R.R. Tolkien. I personally do love the technology used by the Dark Elves, because their displays and the looks of their battleships make me feel, a little, as if that I am watching something as epic in scope as Star Trek. The newer designs for Asgard are also a huge plus for me, as well as for one of the monsters, the rock creature Kronan. The make-up department really did a massively brilliant job with the looks of Malekith and Algrim, and when I first saw this film, I was blown away by the sheer greatness that is the visual fruits of labor.

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          • Some of the performances are alright, I guess.

          And again, both Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston bring their A-Game to the table. What makes Hiddleston's performance much more interesting is the unnecessary focus on his character, giving him a story arc that fleshes-out his character. Through Hiddleston, he is able to convey Loki in an even more sympathetic light by making us realize that somewhere in there, there is just one guy who is incredibly desperate for love. You really cannot help but feel bad when he dies (although faked), and Thor actually thought that he died for real this time. The emotional delivery of both actors, especially Hemsworth's massive no, really do take this one scene home, effectively making it the scene with the most impact in the entire flick.



          You know what? To make things less complicated, let us just say that every scene where both Thor and Loki interact on-screen, including the two's escape from Asgard's guardsmen, after Thor breaks Loki out of prison in order to aid him in their quest to kill the bad guys who murdered their mother Frigga, played by Rene Russo (In the Line of Fire), is just priceless, and you really cannot deny the brotherly, foil-based chemistry that the two actors have. And that scene when Loki shape-shifted into Captain America, played by Chris Evans (Gifted), is absolutely funny, and it really is sad that this is the funniest scene in the flick.

          I also have to give credit to both Christopher Eccleston and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje for being able to not laugh and convincingly portray the Dark Elves while reciting various made-up lines through the use of a totally made-up language. Also, when I first saw this film not so long ago, I was, at first, really impressed with the way Eccleston managed to a rather intimidating force at the beginning of the film. It really is also such a waste that his performance is all for not, which now brings us to the many, or at least five of my summarized complaints on the film.


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          The Prosecution:
          • All the side-characters are still boring, even after they debuted, and even Thor, of all characters, has nothing to do here.
          And even after their debut at Thor, absolutely no one else gets any form of character development, and you can blame all of that at the film's huge emphasis on Loki, who is not only the only character in the whole film to get a unique story arc, which involves his supposed redemption, but is also now the most popular character just behind Iron Man at the time. It is because of these two factors that made Loki the unofficial protagonist in this film, and leaving Thor the unofficial side-character of his own movie.

          Heck, do you even remember anything that is worth mentioning with regards to any of the Warriors Three? No, unless you count helping Thor and Loki escape from Asgard while making cheesy jokes as "memorable". They should have at least participated in the final battle in London, but no, because apparently Thor's best friends are not as important as the three random human scientists that he only met on a couple of days, with one of them even having an underdeveloped and rushed romance with him. Also, I will just say it. All of the human characters are lame! And if not lame, they are really infuriating to the point that I and my sister will just call them the Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of Jar Jar Binks of the Star Wars franchise. (I am looking at you, Darcy Lewis). Why letting the humans participate in the battle is such a good idea for Alan Taylor and the rest of the team, when the more qualified Warriors Three could have joined the battle is beyond me.

          With regards to Thor being a side-character, he really does not get any arc at all. In Thor, it is all about the hero trying to learn to be humble. In Thor: Ragnarok, it is all about the hero trying to learn to be independent of his trademark weapon of choice and confront the ugly truths of the past. What does Thor: The Dark World have for the God of Thunder you ask? Nothing. Absolutely nothing but to search for another plot device that is supposed to do something cataclysmic. We do get a hint of one potential story-arc though, and that is Thor's internal conflict on deciding whether or not he should finally take over as the king of Asgard, which you can notice through some exchanges of dialogue between Thor, Heimdall, Odin, and Jane Foster, and it is immediately abandoned once we start focusing on Loki and the unnecessary inclusion of Jane Foster. Even after Loki vanishes midway through the film, we barely get to see Thor develop as a character. With no story arc, the audience has no reason to care for the central protagonist, and Hemsworth's efforts are all for nothing.


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          • Even the action feels as soulless the film's humor. (Forced-in realism is forced-in.)
          I did mention that the designs are epic, but by Odin's beard do the action scenes feel really tedious. None of the action scenes, no matter how visually dazzling are some of them, have actual stakes, and they feel more like another mandatory levels in a video game that I have to go through in order to get to the actually interesting parts.

          One of my main problems with some of the fight scenes, notably when both Thor and Loki encounter Malekith and Algrim in Svartalfheim, and the final battle with Malekith, who is using the "Aether", yet another plot device clearly meant to substitute the Tesseract. Both scenes feature too much smoke, and it gets pretty uninteresting to look at is if all I see is computer-generated dust particles flying through the air. The shots are really dusty, it really butchers the thrills that the scenes are aiming to generate, and it really does not help that I cannot see anything outside of dusty red and gray.

          My other complaint with regards to the action is the painful predictability, which is the fault mostly of the film's plot, with the screenplay co-written by ... the writers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier? What the heck? How could this film have such a boring story when they already have the two screenwriters responsible for making the script for one of the greatest Marvel Cinematic Universe films yet?

          Anyway, about the predictability, you can clearly see the consequences from a mile away, such as Frigga, a very minor presence in the two movies, getting killed by Algrim after staging a riot. The predictability is fused with unrealistically cartoonish fight sequence ideas such as random teleportation all across the Nine Realms, and even London, to cookie-cutter realism such as having Thor fight he escapees from the Asgardian prison not entirely by using his powers, which kind-of makes sense considering that he could do a huge amount of damage. Honestly, I really do not know how they managed to make any scene, be it unrealistic or realistic, really stake-free.

          The only fight scenes that I enjoyed is when Malekith first invaded Asgard and staged a prison break, and Thor and Loki's escape from Asgard. But due to the aforementioned flaws, they all feel, in the end, despite the efforts of the cast, overly underwhelming. And I thought Iron Man 2 had underwhelming action sequences.

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          • Malekith is the dullest evil character in the history of movies.
          Here we are with everybody's least favorite M.C.U. villain since ... ever, probably even less so than both Whiplash, played by Mickey Rourke (Animal Factory), and Emil Blonsky, played by Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction). What does he want really? Why does he want to plunge the world into darkness? Why does he even need the Aether to do that? Could he not have used an even more convinient doomsday artifcat to advance his plans? Should we care? No, because the film will not even give the slightest care in all of the Nine Realms for you to even root for him, and because there is not a single ounce of character development at all. Okay fine, he might know that the Aether is the Infinity Stone of Reality, which pretty much does what you might expect a "Reality Stone" could do, but other than that, why even bother even after Odin's father hidden it away? He is just a presence that needs to be defeated just because, no more, no less. Look, I am not entirely familiar with this character, but from what I have heard, he is somewhat of an average deal in the comics, so wasting a practically menacing villain in yet another lifeless role is just so heartbreaking.

          There really is no reason left for me to make this section longer. Malekith is lame, and my least favorite M.C.U. villain, and that is all you need to know.

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          • Some of the other performances feel incredibly lackluster.
          I have read a little about how Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, and probably even Idris Elba, having little to no interest with ever returning to the franchise, and you really cannot shake that feeling when you see all of them perform here. While Portman and Hopkins delivered with everything they could have, their work here is less than noteworthy, with Portman losing all form of romantic chemistry that was established in Thor, while Hopkins is not given remotely anything to do, unlike the last time, when he gets a single standout scene. This can also be blamed on the screenplay, but even without blaming the film in general, you can just feel that some of them, at least not Hopkins and Elba, who somewhat placed minimal effort, are not even trying, and it is not that hard to see why not.

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            • There is such a thing as too much jokes. Right, Marvel?
            Yes, pre-independent Marvel, there is such a thing as too much unnecessary jokes. You can say the same thing with Thor: Ragnarok, but most them are hilarious, and they even add some forms of character development for each of the characters. But here, the humor is all sorts of annoying, and this effectively ruined the movie for me. The only funny moment for me was Captain America's surprise cameo, and a little on the part when Mjolnir is placed on a coat hanger.

            From jokes such as being teleported midway in battle to a London subway station and instead of flying, which is a superpower of Thor's, he takes the subway, to gags such as playing Erik Selvig's brainwashing trauma for laughs, even going as far as being naked in the public eye while at one point doing some research, the jokes ate just screaming annoying at first glance. Each of them know how to kill a decent moment, and it all comes crashing down by the finale, with even more jokes.


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            The Ruling: Guilty!

            Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are brilliant as ever, but even they are not enough to save Thor: The Dark World from succumbing to uninspired humor and flat storytelling, and the inevitable truth that it is all a marketing ploy.


            Overall, this is corporate meddling at its second finest. Although we all know how too much creative freedom for Alan Taylor could be such a bad thing,(Ahem, Terminator: Genisys, ahem.), we can never really be certain if Taylor could have given us a better film, or an even worse one. 

            And by this time, Avengers: Infinity War will be showing in a couple of hours, and you bet that we will be reviewing it the first thing we see the film. In the meantime, while you wait for that post, and all the other posts for the remaining Phase 2 films, here is one more Marvel One-Shot. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!

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            Iron Man 3 (2013)

            Rated PG-13: For Intense Violence and Mild Sensitive Themes

            Running Time: 130 minutes (2 hours and 10 minutes)

            Released on May 3, 2013 (US Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

            Presented by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures




            "Iron Man" Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby



            Writers: Drew Pearce and Shane Black

            Director: Shane Black

            Starring: 
            • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
            • Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia "Pepper" Potts
            • Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes / Iron Patriot
            • Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian
            • Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen
            • Jon Favreau as Harold "Happy" Hogan
            • Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery / The Mandarin
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            Countdown to Avengers: Infinity War continues with only a day left until this major crossover event comes around in theaters.

            Many fans have reviled this film for its controversial plot twist and its supposed "mishandling" of the source material, as well as many other wasted elements that could have been used better. Wow, this is probably the only time before Star Wars: The Last Jedi when I saw just how easily "triggered" fans are. With God's good grace, we will determine the truth for you. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and movie court is now open for the case of Dateline v. Iron Man 3.

            Also, you ought to see this one coming, but spoilers, especially for one particular twist that I mentioned about awhile ago, are definitely ahead! 


            What is the movie about?

            After fending-off an alien invasion with his newly assembled superhero friends,  and after experiencing a near-death experience, Tony Stark, played by Downey Jr. (Wonder Boys), is left broken and paranoid, unable to let go of the protection of his armor and advanced technology. This once again creates some tension with his relationship with Pepper Potts, played by Paltrow (Proof). While this is happening, Tony's best friend Rhodey, played by Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda), is now the carrier of the "Iron Patriot" mantle.

            A new enemy in the form of "The Mandarin", played by Kingsley (Eulogy), has been orchestrating bombings all across the United States of America, and after Tony's bodyguard Happy Hogan, played by Favreau (Chef) is nearly killed in one attack, Tony threatens retaliation. Out of reach from his gadgets, Tony must put an end to The Mandarin's terrorist operations, while also uncovering the mystery behind the "Advanced Idea Mechanics", composing of members Aldrich Killian, played by Pearce (L.A. Confidential), and Maya Hansen, played by Hall (Christine).

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            What we think of the movie?

            The Defense:
            • Even if the movie spends much less time in the Iron Man armor, the action is still engaging, made more appealing by awesome visuals!
            With updated visuals and upgraded versions of the Iron Man Armor, and a decent score by Brian Tyler to back-up the action, you would expect that the action should at least be as marginally as epic in scope as what we have seen in The Avengers. The film certainly does deliver, even if the film decides to take the bold step of not relying on the armor to make action scenes too much.

            But armor or no armor, the action is awesome! Tony's fight against two of The Mandarin's henchmen with fire-based powers in a lowly town, with noting but his average civilian skills, and also the assistance of a youngster named Harley Keener, played by Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World), is pretty fun, and it shows how much Tony is still capable of fighting against threats without his precious technology. His infiltration on The Mandarin's headquarters is also a good one, as this is where we really get to see him make use of his intellect.

            My favorite fight scenes are still the ones with the armor, of course, and they remain as the film's visual highlights. The best among these scenes is Tony's rescue of Air Force One, where he has to catch falling passengers before they fall to their graphic deaths. It really does keep you on the edge. That final fight sequence, with all of the armors against enhanced soldiers, is pretty fun, even if, like I said, did not get to show much of the other armors' unique features, save for brief glimpses. The attack on Tony's house is great, and it is pretty exciting, although I would have preferred it more if it featured all of the other Iron Man suits defending his home.

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            • The acting is as fine as ever, and Sir Ben Kingsley makes for an intimidating presence.
            Without sounding extremely repetitive for the past two movie reviews, all you just need to know is that Robert Downey Jr. still continues to bring the same amount of eccentric energy that he has carried over to all of his previous appearances. Although his more paranoid moments could be seen as some forms of exaggeration, at least Downey Jr. is able to embody once more the much more broken down spirit of the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle are also given much more to do, and even Paltrow gets to join in the action, making for the two of them to do so much more in their limited amounts of screentime, although the screenplay does not really give any of them that much character development. Even former Iron Man director Jon Favreau is able to get one pivotal role, even if he disappeared halfway through the film, only to return at the ending. 

            However, credit goes to Sir Ben Kingsley for being able to pull-off a rather controversial role. The comicbook version of The mandarin is nothing more than just a magic-wielding would-be world conqueror, and here, he is an actual face of terror. Kingsley is able to embody the spirit of chaos with his televised "lessons" that reflects modern day terrorism, and people, myself included, are truly at the edge of our seats at all of his scenes. The other part of his performance is linked to the plot twist, which we will talk about later, so for now, let us just appreciate just how greatly Kingsley managed to portray Iron Man's most persistent enemy.

            For newcomers Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall, I really cannot help but shake the feeling that they could have done so much more in their roles. Granted, that is mostly the screenplay's fault. At least these two manage to do decently in their roles, and even Pearce gets to be hammy for a moment when he declares his secret machinations.

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              • The film (almost) doesn't go back to previously charted territory, and that plot twist is brilliant. (Fight me!)

              There is a huge emphasis on "almost", because the basic premise of Tony Stark having to deal with his near-death is already visited once in Iron Man 2, and also the idea that the sins of the past will come back to haunt you, also explored in Iron Man 2. But other than those, the film goes out of its way to keep the formula of Iron Man having to deal with incompetent copycats or basically anybody who steals weapons and other designs from him, and instead treat us to a more character-driven narrative. As much as I would really want to see Iron Man fight basically other ripoffs like he usually does in the comics, do we really need to revisit yet another Iron Man 2 situation, wherein we see Tony drink his way to victory against inevitable death, against someone who has the same technology as he does? There is the saying that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but there is also as something as not rehashing already explored ideas.

              I also enjoy how this film explored the startling reality behind comicbook movie heroic sacrifices, wherein at first glance, it is all about kicking intergalactic butt while just having fun, but the truth is it gets truly horrifying when you nearly die alone in space. Although, as mentioned before, it does come-off as silly or out-of-place whenever Tony Stark gets an anxiety episode, it does give a clear insight on just how devastating the life of a superhero can be. Also, I do appreciate for showing just how much of an arrogant fool the past Tony Stark was, seeing that he left Maya Hansen as if she was nothing more than just a source of pleasure for a one-night stand, and that he made Aldrich Killian, a man who idolized him, feel like he is less than nothing after Tony ditched him on a promised project proposal. While it does sound petty on paper, it does show that even the simplest, and the most petty of actions can haunt you in the future.

              Let me just put it out there and say this. The plot twist that Aldrich Killian is the real Mandarin, and that Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery, a drunken, drug-addicted washed-out actor, is just a fall guy for Killian's crimes, is amazing! Wait, wait, hear me out. I know that he is Iron Man's most feared enemy, but think about it. Would you rather choose a potentially racist caricature of a villain for the main antagonist of the story, or a contemporary revision of said stereotype that is both original and clever? Although I would really want to see that happen soon, considering that one of Marvel's One-Shots showed us that there is a one, true Mandarin out there, and he is not happy that someone just bastardized his name. While I can see why many are upset at this, Shane Black and Drew Pearce managed to do something that is unexpected, while not entirely crushing the spirit of the film.

              Okay, I might be just a little upset that the Mandarin persona is only just a fictional in-universe moniker, due to reasons explained earlier, and I really was a tad bit sore until the One-Shot was released, but like I said, they really did something new, and that is a major plus point for me.


              The Prosecution:
              • The film squanders a lot of its potential. (The first true sign of corporate meddling in the pre-independent M.C.U.)
              For all of the great things that Iron Man 3 provided, this movie has a lot of wasted potential, and I mean, a serious lot. The worst part is that this is really the first time that corporate meddling is increasingly becoming more and more prevalent in the franchise, and you might even consider the behind-the-scenes drama in Iron Man and Iron Man 2 as parts of it. We really are just lucky that, for all of the corporate meddling involved, Iron Man 3 managed to remain a decent enough of a movie.

              Let me list down all of the wasted, cool elements of this movie. Remember all of those cool Iron Man suits that were teased in the trailers? Yeah, they are only used for one fight scene, and they are all blown-up in the end. Rebecca Hall's Maya Hansen was originally going to be the main villain, which means she could have been the first female antagonist in the franchise, and would have made for a much more believable protagonist than Aldrich Killian? Too bad, because the committee heads say that a female villain would not sell enough toys. You wanted Rhodey to have an expanded role in addition to having a cool new suit? Oh well, just settle in for Rhodey without the armor for half of the movie, and just accept the fact that he did not even get to fight at all in the finale.

              I think it would have been better if they just set the entire movie in just one location, like a Stark Industries research facility, and just have Tony fight his way through Extremis soldiers with the use of the scattered Iron Man Armors all across the area. This way, people could get much more of those fun moments with the suits, given that the armors are the film's main marketing ploy anyway, and have Rhodey as Tony's partner-in-crime-fighting, with and without the armor, much like the episode of the animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes "Alone Against A.I.M.", with the title alone being a pretty fitting story-line for this film. I have nothing against Ty Simpkins though, considering that he is alright here, but his role here just feels like a Rhodey substitute, although they can put him in a less important role to make way for Rhodey's development. And I really did feel that Hansen could have made a better villain, which we will explain earlier. But if you do not want the entire plot of the movie to change at all, then they could have just followed what this guy suggests here.


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              • The real villain, Aldrich Killian, is rather disappointingly cliched.
              Many tend to associate the hatred of fans towards this film for its misuse of the Mandarin, and the reveal that Aldrich Killian, an evil corporate businessman who just wants money, very much validates the backlash. For one thing, what is worse than not changing an age-old stereotype that has been by many for so many times now? Tinkering with the said stereotype, and then just switching it up with an even more blatant, and less creative stereotype.

              I will admit that Killian's plan is pretty complex from an average cinema villain's plan, which involves making the Mandarin persona so as to cover-up the accidental explosions caused by the flawed Extremis programming and gain money in the process. I really do like the character's plan, but his motivations are pretty vague. Yeah, he is mad at Tony, but why even bother getting richer when all he wants is revenge?

              It really would have been much more fitting if Hansen remained as the villain, because at least the heartbreak caused by Tony, and some dialogue that suggests that she wants to be better than Tony in so many ways, could be enough to justify her motivations. That, for diversity reasons, and that Aldrich Killian rather feels forcefully included into the script, are my three main reasons as to why Hansen could have been better off as the main antagonist.

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              • While the humor can tickle your funny bones, much of the gags are unnecessary.
              And finally, while this issue does not go completely overboard as it does in the next movie, and another movie that came after that, and while this might come-off as petty nitpicking, Iron Man 3's extensive emphasis on humor can be quite tiring. It only becomes more and more frustrating if it feels out-of-place, to the point that it ruins that moment. There are moments that the humor works, including that one scenes featured in the above .gif, and a little bit of the usual Tony and Rhodey banter.

              But there are also times that it really just does not have to be there, such as all of the moments involving the Mark 42 Armor, Tony's primary suit for the duration of the film. This includes having the armor dismantle after being hit by a truck, take a lengthy time in assembling in the midst of a hostage situation, and dismantling again during the final battle.

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              The Ruling: Not Guilty!

              A creatively complex mystery-themed plot and updated visuals, plus the ever alluring presence of Robert Downey Jr., are more than enough to compensate for Iron Man 3's failure to meet its full potential.

              Yes, Iron Man 3 could have been so much more, but hey, it could have been worse, right? With that, we officially conclude this movie review, and it looks like we would not be able to finish all of the films before Avengers: Infinity War comes around. Oh well, we will just make an extended version, since we have already covered a lot of the films already anyway.

              Since we already showed "All Hail the King" once before, here is one more Marvel One-Shot, featuring Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg (Live by Night). Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!