I’m aware that some regard Kevin Connolly‘s Gotti as one of the 2018’s worst, but I’m not so sure. I finally saw it last weekend and my general impression was “okay, this could be better…all right, a lot better but at least it’s not painful to sit through.” Put another way: semi-dismissable but short of atrocious.
Less than ten minutes into Anthony and Joe Russo‘s Avengers: Infinity War (Disney, 4.27), I felt as if Josh Brolin‘s Thanos had leapt out of the screen and was sitting on my chest and blowing his stinking breath into my face. I also felt like a little kitten about to be given a bath in the kitchen sink. “Mew, mew…I don’t want to endure this…nooooo!”
But I had to because I wanted to experience the latest big Marvel flick, and I was seriously excited about…well, who knew but the death of Robert Downey, Jr.‘s Tony Stark had been rumored, and I wanted to at least celebrate this. Please. I was down with Iron Man a decade ago, but then Downey became the Reigning Marvel Paycheck Whore and for that he must pay.
I promised yesterday that I wouldn’t spoil any deaths in this film, but can I at least say that (a) the wrong guys die, (b) not enough guys die, and (c) you can’t trust a Marvel film to deliver death with any finality because Kevin Feige doesn’t respect death any more than comic-book creators respect it, which is not at all. Or woundings, for that matter. The MCU mostly regards death and serious physical injury as a tease, a plot toy, something to fiddle or fuck with until the apparently dead character comes back to life, etc.
So fuck this movie in general for slamming and pounding and gouging the Avengers all to hell with next to no consequence, and for taking 150 minutes to deliver, and fuck Thanos (I prefer to call him Thermos or Thorax) and his stupid ugly alien henchmen for failing to simply rip the heads off their opponents.
Wanna kill someone? Simple — separate their heads from their bodies and then eat their inner organs like African wild dogs. Do that and they’ll never come back to life.
The press people at my 10 am screening were laughing, whooping, giggling and occasionally even cooing. “Hoo-hoo…hah-hah…oooh! oooh!” I hated sitting near them. I hate that there’s this whole culture of people who live for this Marvel crap. Okay, not all Marvel films (I’m an Ant-Man fan) but this one’s a bear to sit through. Too many characters, and the sound system at the El Capitan obscured a good 60% of the dialogue, and I was cupping my ears left and right. I’m also dismayed to report that poor Chris Pratt looks fat again. Jesus God, this guy can’t fucking control himself. He looks like Mr. Cheeseburger and fries with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
Marvel superhero dialogue formula: (a) Announce recent occurence or plot turn in a serious, grim-faced way, (b) somebody replies to serious, grim-faced announcement with their own doleful, “this isn’t funny” assessment of the situation, (c) the first guy says that what’s happening is really fucking bad and maybe worse than that, (d) somebody who’s listening or who was speaking about the bad thing earlier drops a deadpan wisecrack of some kind, and (e) people at Los Angeles press screenings howl with laughter. Wash, rinse, repeat.
When I was 19 I was beaten up by three or four goons in a diner once. Punched, kicked, gouged. I took the first swing but I went down fast. There were three or four guys with me so it was the Jets vs. Sharks. I remember being on the floor and looking up at everyone punching and shoving as my head began to swell to twice its size. I was amazed how much it hurt. In the decades that followed I never felt so beaten to a pulp. Until this morning, that is.
That fucker Feige stomped on my ass. Feige, the Russos, Thorax, Downey, Chris Evans…they don’t fight fair, and they don’t know when to quit. I felt bruised, broken. Between blows I looked at my watch at least three if not four or five times. I felt as it I was dying of cancer. The sixth time I looked at my watch I realized there was another half-hour to go. “God help me!” I said out loud.
I respected one thing about it, and that’s the ending. I won’t say what the ending does or what it amounts to, but a middle-aged woman who was sitting to my left and apparently loving every minute of Avengers: Infinity War said “what?” when the film cut to black. I almost looked over and said out loud to her, “S’matter? You found that unsatisfying? You were looking for your typical Marvel third-act high and that wasn’t it?”
I’m sorry but I can’t write a “review” of this thing. All I can say for sure is that it felt like punishment, like being in a mosh pit. My opinion doesn’t matter anyway. It’s expected to make $225 million this weekend, and as far as I’m concerned it’s dogshit. Okay, not “dogshit” exactly and not even “mindless” — it deals reasonably smart cards — but if I ever sit through Avengers: Infinity War again it’ll be too soon.