Before we enter the void of this latest truancy into the world of cinema, can I just say the title of this bog will become apparent later, unless you already know your films. This isn’t a cheap joke about the current issues surrounding the misogynistic abuse and degradation of women in film. I love and respect women, heck some of my favourite films were driven by powerhouse female performances: Mrs Doubtfire, Tootsie, Some Like It Hot and Big Momma’s House. Well maybe not Big Momma’s House; you could whitewash that film with bleach and it would still come out shit (I love it really).
So, its nearly time for Avengers: Infinity War. I can’t wait to see millions of pounds wasted on an amalgamation of underdeveloped characters, who have fought over five minutes of screen time. Sadly, all we will be left with, is the carcass of a character’s ethos incorporated into a singular comic throwaway line, that twenty writers spent months working on.
Infinity War will boast a breadth of cinema depicted Marvel heroes to date; you wonder how will they top it for the next wave of superhero movies? They will probably begin by enlisting the entire human race before making it compulsory. Secretly I hope so, because I’ve always had an affiliation to play a steaming pile of cottage cheese with the power to curdle people’s blood. I’m sure this conscription would send a wave of euphoria through the world contrived of people that claim to have read every Marvel/DC comic before seeing the movies and know everything. If that was the case, my next-door neighbour’s wife is probably using Kryptonite as a dildo, and her husband is using the Human Torch to burn his child pornography cache.
The mass cinema going audience aren’t looking for highly complex characters with layered thematic stories that force them to think. They want an escapism from the real world for a few hours, with action, comedy, sex, a clear beginning, middle and end (well an end that will lead to a few more illegitimate sequel bastards), but in all fairness who can blame them? You’ve worked hard all week; your mind needs medicinal movie magic to counter the monochrome mush of the corporate Matrix we’re wired into five days a week. You don’t want to spend your Friday evenings watching a three-hour German comedy that makes you question your own life and problems; it’s too close to home. Instead you choose to leave the European Union and invest your money in weekly trips to a distant galaxy far far away, full of the same villainous political leaders that bludgeon the heroes and kill their friends, before rehashing the Groundhog Day face off for the final 20 minutes, congealing so much CGI into a single frame that when you walk out of the cinema, Tron felt like a nostalgic holiday to Blackpool, infusing so many magnanimous origin stories that I felt nauseated at the thoughts of orphaned children. I don’t recall a character in a Blockbuster of late that has connected more with the working-class audience since the three-breasted mutant hooker, Mary, in Total Recall. She epitomised social realism. Here is a woman doing everything she can to support her family: Mary is prostituting herself to provide food and shelter for her children. Even in the year 2084 I, Daniel Blake resonates; and if that wasn’t enough, she’s selling her body for sex on bloody Mars. I hope she doesn’t have four kids, because it would look like one of them is getting bottle fed, but hey, at least you don’t have to read the subtitles.
Now you may think I am some sort of movie snob, who would turn his nose up at the sight of a Hollywood Blockbuster for the comfort of Y Tu Mamá También, Amores Perros or El Laberinto Del Fauno, but on the contrary, I love nothing more than switching off for a couple of hours watching gorgeous men, women, and Xenomorphs fight their way through the Daedalus labyrinthian CGI playgrounds. All I’m saying is, is it too much to ask for some more brains, or unconventional filmmaking? We are living in a world in which Hollywood cinema is contrived by the maelstrom of Marvel, DC, remakes, sequels and literary adaptations, but through the concrete jungle blossom few auteurs with original and intelligent ideas that have flourished critically and at the box-office. Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iňárritu and Guillermo del Toro have all won an Oscar for Best Director (four out of the past five years) for sewing their world cinema directing styles through the multi-million-pound Mithril fabric and draping the cinematic vest over the shoulders of the movie going audiences, who are happy to oblige. In hindsight it’s a good job Trump hasn’t managed to get Mexico to build that wall yet.
Gravity $723.2 Million ($100 million Budget)
The Revenant $533 Million ($135 Million Budget)
The Shape of Water $114.3 Million ($19.5 Million Budget)
There are other directors doing the same and being given those budgets such as: Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, James Cameron, Tim Burton, Ron Howard, Robert Zemeckis, JJ Abrams and Peter Jackson but, the majority of their work is from other sources. That’s not specifically a bad thing, as they are incredible artists who make enormous films with the Byzantine characters and plot that is often lacking in comic book movies, despite the wealth of pioneering flawless writing awash in the comics. There’s just not much left in the risk factor for Hollywood compared to the wealth of original content seeping through the pours of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Saying that, Nolan is pushing through with his original auteur blockbuster approach which is in part due to making The Dark Knight Trilogy before the explosion of the Comic book boom; and let’s face it, I doubt very much he’d be allowed to make Batman Begins now; no one would. Who would have the audacity to shoot a superhero trilogy like a Nordic Noir when you can have some computerized giant sea cucumber shooting lasers out of its eyes and decimating half of Metropolis.
The Avengers $1.519 Billion ($220 Million Budget)
Avengers: Age of Ultron $1.405 Billion ($250 Million Budget)
Avengers: Infinity War *NOT YET RELEASED* ($1 Billion Reported Budget for pts 1 & 2)
If the budget is true for Infinity War, Marvel/Disney Studios must be hoping that the entire universe wants to see it, and the Pseudo-Arachnids on Klendathu best take their wives, girlfriends, kids and Casper Van Diens’ mother-in-law’s gardening instructor to the 2D, 3D and 1000D seizure screenings.
Ruben Östlund, after winning the Palme D’Or for The Square, went away and edited the film to make it longer, despite rumblings throughout Cannes that it was already too long. Now you would think after winning the award which considers The Square to be the best film in the world, it would be perfect, but his elongation of the film is the perfect fuck you to Hollywood conglomerate quagmire (well it’s not really, as the film won’t get a mainstream Odeon, Vue, Cineworld release but, a two and half hour Swedish film that questions the current state of our society compared to the current state of Iron Man’s Arc Reactor creating enough energy to power his kettle must be worth a dabble). He states a two and half hour foreign language film is deemed too much, and they want one hour fifty for adult films as they only take up one slot in the cinema, but you happily take your children to watch a two-hour fifty-minute Harry Porter movie or a two and half hour Marvel film. Sadly, that’s economics; those films will take up two slots while they tsunami over 50% of screens because that’s what everyone wants to see and where the billions are going to come from, watching a studio congeal as many superheroes into one film, whose super powers were enough to defeat anyone in their own plots but suddenly not when all together appears to be a breath of fresh air three times a year.
I’m not worrying though, Marvel characters are the epitome of their alter egos: Iron Man is made of iron, Spider-Man is a spider, Luke Cage is a 4×4 solid steal enclosure and Thanos will kill everyone and end the Marvel films for ever.