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Avengers: Infinity War

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is so huge it has been split in two. You can’t accuse Marvel Studios on not going all out on delivering a spectacle. Based on the Marvel Comics series, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is gargantuan in scope. That’s appropriate for such a popular series of movies that has earned an untold fortune. It has cost a mint to make with a cast of thousands pushing the budget into the stratosphere. Subtlety isn’t something this movie has but it is high on entertaining escapism only a big bucket of cash can buy.

Thanos (Josh Brolin) is a despotic alien determined to collect the fabled Infinity Stones. Allowing the user to control the universe, the stones’ power is frightening. Only the Avengers can stop him. Unfortunately the once fabled team has come undone due to various internal conflicts. Its members, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), aim to reunite and defeat the new menace. Every hero known to humanity and beyond is called to face the foe in the ultimate clash of the titans.

Directed with energetic flair by the Russo Brothers, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ embraces the word ‘epic’. At nearly 3 hours there’s a lot to get through but it does with style. Its biggest plus is that despite the sprawling run-time, the pacing rarely sags. Whilst there are moments where the many characters can ‘breathe’, there are rarely any dull spots with the action sequences as spectacular as hoped. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ has promised a lot and generally delivers which is largely thanks to the tightly written script and direction.

No one performer stands out as ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is an ensemble piece. All contribute effectively with the thrill of seeing their well-known characters interact with each other palatable. In Thanos, the series has a sense of menace rarely seen with the villain’s motives easily understood as is the overall plot. The cinematography is gorgeous with comic book colour springing to life. The surprises it brings are genuine with the pay-offs to long-standing story elements welcome.

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is what you’d expect from a monstrous production. It successfully moves the films along without turning into a confusing mess. Marvel Studios have been careful with their movies as ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ shows. It whets the appetite for what’s to come with further superhero mayhem as certain as the morning sunrise.

Rating out of 10: 8

Rampage

Based on a video game series ‘Rampage’ has a lot to live up to. Not only does it feature Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who is currently Hollywood’s box office prince, but has to avoid the stigma of game to screen films. ‘Super Mario Brothers’ and ‘Streetfighter’ are a couple of the celluloid atrocities committed in the name of raking in cash. Unfortunately ‘Rampage’ is more of the same with a dreadful script failing to hide behind a mass of CGI that would shame the most basic of computer programmers.

Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) is a primatologist who is the head of an anti-poaching unit. Determined to protect any species, his latest target is George, a giant gorilla who has been infected with a mysterious disease. Turning into a rampaging beast, George has been joined by a wolf and crocodile who have also been turned into ginormous creatures. Aided by genetic engineer Kate (Naomie Harris), Davis must save America from destruction and find out how the infection began before even more hell unleashes.

‘Rampage’ is the type of block-buster Hollywood churns out with boring regularity. Spending a fortune on CGI with little else spent on characterisation and tension, you have ‘Rampage’. You know what to expect when the movie starts – virtuous heroes, hiss-able villains, a little romance and lots of special effects wizardry. It’s all here with Brad Peyton pushing the required buttons rather than directing anything resembling creative flair.

The few savage graces of ‘Rampage’ belong to the performances. Johnson almost carries the entire movie on his established charisma and has fun as buildings crash around him. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a shady government agent also enjoys being amongst the hijinks with his smile as big as the paycheque he’ll receive. The mean-spirited moments of grisly gore goes against the ‘family friendly’ tone ‘Rampage’ aims for, making for a narrative just as messy as the debris the monsters leave behind.

‘Rampage’ is dopey entertainment for the popcorn brigade. It goes through the motions with depressing predictability and the money spent being enough to feed a small army. Computer games will never go out of style although films such as ‘Rampage’ need to up their game in providing something more exciting than a standard morass of noise and over-cooked carnage.

Rating out of 10: 5