Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Avengers: Infinity War


Avengers: Infinity War

It's set in Edinburgh! goes the cry, and I only wish it had been, or at least, much more than the five minutes that we get to see Edinburgh. Like the ten-second use of Northern Ireland in Hell Boy II, I was left wondering, what was the point?

Locations-wise, the big winner in Avengers: Infinity War was outer space, with its stunning purple and maroon nebulas, so evocative of what I liked most about Doctor Strange. Concurrently, the stars of this Marvel movie are those suitable for, well, the stars: Thor, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, a special space-suited Spiderman, and yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy. Very quickly, these become the warriors searching for, and then duking it out with, the film's brick-shit-house villain, Thanos.

Elsewhere, though, the high number of heroes means some have to give way. Scarlet Johansson's Black Widow says barely nothing, and Anthony Mackie's Falcon and Sebastian Stan's Bucky even less. Of the scenes in Wakanda, Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther has one or two sentences of quiet nobility, expressing a lot with the little he's given. Mark Ruffalo's Hulk is bizarrely under-utilized, flitting around scenes, unable to summon the Hulk with what I think was meant to denote sexual impotence. Perhaps the most criminal under-utilization, though, was that of Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, the film's most charismatic figure to my mind, with a love story involving Paul Bettany's tender Vision that had potential. It's never really explored, but then again, in a film with so many protagonists, how could it be? More so than even Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War feels like an exercise in plate-spinning.

Underpinning this sense of superficiality, CGI-designed Thanos is a problematic villain. His plan is to cull the universe of half its (humanoid?) life to solve the issue of overpopulation. Why he feels this is necessary or logical, given the dynamics of an infinite and ever-expanding universe isn't clear. We're given a back story that he's done it before, on a planet somewhere, and it worked then, in a brutal, genocidal kind of way, so it's worth doing again, even if this time it involves killing the person dearest to him. What does he get out of such destruction? What happens after the job's complete? Retirement on a beach somewhere? The stock market?

There are in fact different points where the moral choices don't appear to make sense and I wondered if this was deliberate. At one point Doctor Strange rescues Ironman, to the cost of a trillion or so lives. Doctor Strange never explains this anti-Spock design, muttering something about too-late, nothing-to-be-done. Chris Pratt's Peter Quill earlier commits the stupidest act in the entire film. Is this the message of the film? There's nothing you can do, just stoically accept your fate, and that of everyone's, and of the world's. Who wrote the screenplay to this film, Bashar Al-Assad? Or the anti-environmental lobby, perhaps. At best, this is a thought-provoking prompt: should we accept we're all going to hell in a handbasket? Is our advanced capitalist system, with its insatiable need for growth and consumption and profits, leading us to another historic cull? Avengers: Infinity War may well be a zeitgeist movie, but if so, it's one of pessimism and dark forebodings.
A Quiet Place


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Monday, 03 August 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
October 05, 2019


October 05, 2019


Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...