Infinity War Was Great. Reminiscent of The Dark Knight, Great.
- A Look Back at Shit I Like -
I’ve seen a ton of good movies in my life. Most movies are good but then again “good” itself
has a few denominations to it. For instance, some of those movies I would say to be “pretty
good” (which of course is worse than standalone “good”), while other movies I would say to
be “really good” (better than). Great movies on the other hand are hard to come by. Some
films are said to be great, but they’re not. Not that they’re not good, more that too often great
is used to describe something which can be seen everyday. Other films are understood as, or
better yet are accepted as great, while at the same time are not personally ingested as great
by all who witness it. Citizen Kane and Casablanca are both great... Sure. Yeah. Ain’t like I’m
gonna ever watch them again, but yeah, ya know, I would say they’re probably both pretty
great, or at the least, they’re considered great by enough people that I’ll willingly yield to public
Great? Okay. Fine.
Favorite? Pfft. Hell no. Get outta here! I said, Getttt outtaaaaaaa hereeee!
Ain’t a person alive gonna tell you Citizen Kane is their favorite film. Further more, if you’re out
on a date with someone and they say their all time favorite film is Casablanca, you bail. Don’t
even wait for them to use the can. Just get up and walk right out because they’re lying to you.
Or even worse, they’re pretentious.
C.K and Casablanca are, as with most critically acclaimed films, anchored in time because, to
their credit, they were “great” during the time at which they were made. Which, yeah, that’s
important. Timing is everything. When you see a film probably weighs more important than the
film itself. I respect that… but then again this here is the internet so The Dark Knight is a better
film then both of them. In fact, I’d go as far to say it’s undoubtedly better. It might not be
topping off any “best movie ever” lists, mostly due to the stigma associated with it’s cashgrabbing
genre... but it’s better.
For the record - quick sidebar if I may - there’s really no wrong time for a Will Ferrell movie is
there? I could be getting indicted for murder and if someone showed me a picture of Ferrel on
rollerblades, you bet your ass I’m gonna laugh. Nobody else will laugh. Just me. Then I won’t
be able to stop laughing because now it’s inappropriate. Eventually I’ll have to pull it together
and apologize to the judge. See what you did Will? Do you see what you do to me?
Anyway. Back to the rarity of greatness.
To reiterate, if great films are to be considered medium-rare, then great Comic Book films are
like biting into a live gazelle. The Dark Knight was a gazelle. Logan was a gazelle. And now,
albeit not in the same way, Infinity Wars is a gazelle. Oscar nom or not, each rose above their
genre by utilizing one common strength... Theme.
Theme is the DNA of a moving picture. It’s the connection we make while sitting in darkness,
suspending disbeliefs and stuffing our faces with food so overpriced it makes renting an
apartment in Highland Park seem reasonable. Theme is the thing that never leaves the
screen. Everything else; the characters, the action, the explosions, the jaw dropping special
effects, even that marvel comedic timing will slip from our sugar induced heightened sense of
focus, but never the Theme. Theme we never forget, and only on a human level can we,
sometimes unknowingly, connect with it.
Villains can often be the cinematic vehicle for weighty themes. Batman has squared off with a
ton of villains over the years but Nolan’s joker hit us in a way we’ve never been hit before. Not
even by Old Boy Jack during the 90’s while portraying the very same role. Perhaps after wide
releasing in the summer of 2008, after seven long years of war in the Middle East, we were
finally ripe. Perhaps by then we had a higher understanding of ambiguous threats laced with
mental illness, cult followings and self abandonment. Perhaps by then we were used to the
endless chaos, breaking news and breaking buildings. Perhaps by then we were used to so
much terror that we didn’t feel terrorized enough, that we felt deprived of our god given right to
that terror, so much so that the US had to ignore all the facts, level up and wage a
motherfucking war on it. #Oorah.
Therein lies the artistic genius. The joker began terrorizing Gotham at a time when, right, left or
center, terror was deeply implanted into our psyche. And no, that’s not to say all political
parallels make movies better. On the contrary in fact, as politics can be too disruptive and
therefore emotional land mines for auteurs. But I’m not not talking about politics. The war on
terror wasn’t just at the center of our political arena, it was at the core of our humanity. Kudos
to Nolan for reflecting just that, at a time when our collective discomfort was rampant, and our
collective innocence fleeting.
Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of Avengers: Infinity Wars, painted with a much different
thematic pallet. It was at times hilarious and far lighter than TDK. Kind of like how that 1/3 fat
cream-cheese is lighter; it just spreads across the audiences so much easier. Although,
someone tell John Krasinski that if he’s still looking for a quiet place, he’ll find one on the
planet Titan, right after Thanos shanks the fuck outta Tony Stark, and where, for a second, the
impossible was about to happen. Iron Man can’t die, right? Status quo in the MCU says...
wrong. Now, anything is possible. Now, the bad guys can win because now is where wrongs
can be willed into being right, and where lies, if caught, can always rebrand to pass for the
truth. The axis of our beloved fictional universe wasn’t just tilted a few degrees off it’s center,
the entire axis was snapped in half. That’s where, just like Nolan, the marvel filmmakers were
able to tap into our subconscious, thematically drilling down into the core of all that collective
discomfort we talked about, or at the very least, mine.
And I won’t need to elaborate on this fact... but watching evil men with ill intentions seize and
wield power against decent, everyday people, is, well, pretty damn familiar. Is it that I can’t
watch, or that I can’t look away? Is it that I can’t believe he won, or is that I can’t believe we
lost? Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. It’s the new reality. The Avengers will simply have to
adapt, and we, once again, will have to anxiously wait, watch and cry as this nightmare
unfolds over the course of multiple years.
Motherfucking Groot though? Bastards… I hate new reality’s. The good news is at least the
silver screen version of one will be highly entertaining.