“Avengers: Infinity War” is the ultimate showdown the MCU deserves

With near 40 characters, dozens of sideplots and a ten-year buildup spanning over a 15 films, it seemed as though Marvel’s “Infinity War” would be a colossal mess. It’s amazing therefore that not only is “Infinity War” not a disaster, it tells a great story that deftly weaves together everything special about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and sets up a killer finale.

The film focuses on Thanos (Josh Brolin), a warlord who seeks to wipe out half the universe with the use of the Infinity gauntlet which he can wield when he discovers all 6 Infinity stones which have appeared sporadically throughout the Marvel Universe up to now. As each Marvel character from Iron Man to Dr. Strange to the Guardians of the Galaxy to Thor to Black Panther comes to grips with his plan, various scenarios emerge to try and stop him before he harnesses the ultimate weapon in pursuit of a psychotic quest. Even that may not be enough.

Thanos serves as the protagonist. He becomes one of Marvel’s best villains to date, joining Loki and Killmonger as fully realized characters with sympathetic agendas and interesting personalities. The fact that he is not a simple evil monster bent on world domination, but has an interesting take on how to save the universe, gives him an interesting ethical quest. He’s empathetic and terrifying.

Anthony and Joe Russo deserve a great deal of credit for finding a way to balance all of the characters while making sure that no one feels thrown in. Each storyline builds in progression to the climax, creating a tapestry of plots around the theme of sacrifice. What will it take to save the world? Your life? Your lover’s life? Your soul? It’s a dark, emotional story, something far deeper than anything the MCU has ever done before. We’re now passed the simple good guy vs. bad guy plot. We’re delving into deep human nature.

In a way, it’s similar to a “Lord of the Rings” film or “Game of Thrones” as Marvel has pushed each of their characters to the final breaking point. It feels like an ending of sorts and that gives the film added heft. This feels like the send off we deserve.

*SPOILERS BELOW* DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM

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Many will state that this is only half a film, but it is not. The protagonist is Thanos, and he goes from having a goal to achieving a goal, end of story. We all know another film is coming, but the Avengers finally have their “Empire Strikes Back” down ending necessary to really test their mettle. The next film should be connected but feel distinct as it’s own entry.

There are a few storylines that need to conclude, specifically the Tony Stark and Steve Rogers plot. These two have been at it over different ideologies since the first “Avengers” film. “Civil War” officially broke them apart and now the need to destroy Thanos will bring them together. Tony has been trying to avert cataclysm since the beginning, always looking for a way out. Might that mean he and Steve need to recognize the need for self-sacrifice together? Tony and Pepper Potts as well are nearing the end of their drama. Will they get to have a happy ending with a family or will Tony sacrifice himself for Pepper’s future?

Also needing a conclusion are Bruce Banner and Black Widow. Their romance has lost steam over the years, but now they must determine whether or not they can make it work.

Thor seems to have most of his character arc wrapped up after “Ragnarok” by inheriting the responsibility of becoming king, but perhaps he will explore the nature of revenge in the final film. Rocket surviving hints that he will continue to be a foil for the god of thunder.

And of course, the next film will be a continuation of Thanos’ story. After proclaiming he has lost everything, he has still achieved his goal. Whether he is happy or not with the result will determine his future actions. Logic dictates that he will safeguard the Infinity gauntlet at all costs, meaning that the Avengers will be dictating the action. But with reality itself malleable, perhaps madness may overcome the titan, testing his will. Things could, and should, get mighty trippy.

One thing that was lacking from “Infinity War” was a direct ideological confrontation against Thanos. The next film should firmly introduce what the Avengers stand for and how that vision is different than Thanos’ genocidal fanaticism. This will ultimately show what the Avengers stand for and serve as the overall moral of the entire saga. In tying with the previous films, it will likely involve the need to stand together as a team and the value of every person.

One can not help but think back to Vision and Ultron’s conversation at the end of “Age of Ultron.” Vision mused about mankind’s shortcomings and Ultron reminded him that they’re doomed. Vision agreed, but that there was grace in their shortcomings. That speaks to the ending of “Infinity War.” Now comes the need for Earth’s mightiest heroes to show that though they may be defeatable, their ideals aren’t.

At the end of the film, it is hinted that Captain Marvel may be part of the solution against Thanos, but this plot has some inherent danger attached to it. The Avengers can not win with a deus ex machina where a magical being comes in and saves them. The victory must come from them.

And we all know that death is not a certainty in superhero films. Spider-Man, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy are not really gone. They have further films still to do. We know they’ll be back. It’s just important that when they do come back, the effect of death is not minimized. Characters can not come and go without consequence or else the films will become a muddled mess without stakes. All future deaths will simply be viewed as empty because we’ll just wait for their return. It’ll be tricky for the Russos to navigate that return without cheapening the film’s power.

As the penultimate film of the first MCU iteration, “Infinity War” does a great job of setting up the final film. The saving of the universe is at stake as well as deep themes of personal loss, sacrifice and revenge. It’ll be a long wait till next year to see how it all turns out.

 

 

 

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Hockey is for everyone

Perhaps more than any other season in its history, the NHL playoffs are being celebrated all across North America. From the tundra of Winnipeg to the beaches of Tampa Bay, from Music City Nashville to the slot machines of Las Vegas, from the political headquarters of Washington, DC to the Boston shoreline, fans of all ilk have shown their passion and dynamism for hockey.

For so long, hockey was the domain of Original Six franchises. Large, metropolitan cities in Canada and the Midwest and Northeast United States, the game was restricted by geography and economy. Even as expansion began in the 1960s, franchises had trouble attracting fans and relocation (or folding) was common. Just ask any Oakland Seal, Hartford Whaler, Atlanta Thrasher or Cleveland Baron fans.

In the 1980s, the game’s greatest star brought hockey to the masses in a way never seen before. Wayne Gretzky became the face of hockey and his trade to Los Angeles made the NHL one of the biggest attractions around. His star power and influence were instrumental in expanding the game, bringing franchises to Miami, Phoenix and Dallas. But with Gretzky’s retirement, the NHL lost its strongeest ambassador and the lockout in 2005 nearly shuttered the sport for good. The southern franchises in particular were hit hard. Hockey didn’t belong in the Sun Belt, the critics claimed. Return it back north. Keep it for the “real fans.”

But here we are, a little over ten years later, and hockey seems to be thriving in non-traditional markets. Why now?

It involves two elements: community tie-in and winning. Winning is self-explanatory. The more a team succeeds, the more fans will want to partake in the jubilation. Nobody can win forever though. As teams such as Carolina and the New York Islanders can attest, when the winning stops, fans can disappear.

It’s the connection a town has to the team that will ultimately create long-lasting, sustainable franchises. The most recent case in point are the Vegas Golden Knights. Sure, they’ve done a whole lot of winning in their first season and the novelty of being a new team remains strong, but it’s how the team has woven itself into the city that has generated such strong connection and good will. After the shooting tragedy just weeks before their home opener, the Knights embraced their fans in a touching way, becoming one with the city. Suddenly, Vegas had a sports team and a conduit to channel their emotions. That has driven the team this season.

The same can be said for any number of NHL franchises. Visiting hospitals, being soldiers of goodwill in the community, setting up youth training camps and sponsoring human causes can create lifelong fans.

As a Detroit Red Wings fan, it’s not just my proximity or the team’s former winning ways the made me a fan. It’s the commitment the players and owners have for the community such as Henrik Zetterberg’s foundation and Illitch Charities. It’s the respect management has for its fans and towards their personnel (the so-called Red Wings way). It’s the history and regard that the team shows to past players and even their opponents. These intrinsic qualities endear me beyond simple wins and losses as the Wings are an example of class and sportsmanship, an inspiration in an age of cynicism.

Now, having said that, the NHL, like all sports in general, still has a way to go. Plenty has been made about the inclusion of LGBT athletes, but no player, past or present, has come out as gay. In a league spanning 100 years and thousands of players, it’s near-impossible that there is not a single gay player in the sport. And as with all professional and cultural atmospheres, more needs to be done to ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all, regardless of sexual orientation.

In addition, hockey continues to be the whitest sport of the majors, and this is a direct result of poor opportunity. Hockey is expensive for families, more so than baseball or basketball or football. You need skates, equipment, sticks, an ice rink, etc. For those already financially disadvantaged, it’s near impossible to break through. Several black athletes are being celebrated in today’s game as PK Subban, Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane. They have established themselves as stars, but it’s important to generate greater outreach in all communities.

And there are still issues in regards to funding and taxpayer finances. Ticket prices continue to rise (across all sports) and public funds are heavily utilized to build stadiums for owners who are worth billions of dollars. And if some owners don’t get their way, they simply move the team to another city (ie the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas) that will give them more money. It’s a reflection of a corrupt monetary system that will continue to stain all sports until proper changes are installed.

But in terms of enthusiasm and public perception, hockey is on the up and up. There is now finally a National Women’s Hockey League, and the players have fought and won greater compensation for their skills. The US women’s team’s win in the Winter Olympics has also generated more appreciation for female players. Amanda Kessel and Hillary Knight are becoming household names and that is breaking the “old boys” mantle further. Other leagues such as the AHL, ECHL, KHL and burgeoning markets in China point towards a bright future for the sport, a bright future for men, women, gays, blacks, everyone who can appreciate the sport and break it from its self-inflicted bonds against change. It’s a great time for hockey.

“The Greatest Showman” more glam than substance

“The Greatest Showman” tells the story of P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), a dad married to his wife, Charity (Michelle Williams), who embarks on a plan to create a circus sensation with the help of his partner, Philip Carlyle (Zac Effron). They enlist the help of various performers such as Anne Wheeler (Zendaya), a trapeze artist, and Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle), a bearded woman singer, in their struggle for legitimacy.

The film harkens back to the days of the grand old musical, full of sparkle, glitz and glam. There’s extravagant costumes and bright colors and kinetic energy. And underneath it all is practically nothing, a hollow shell of a story.

The music is great (just try to get “The Greatest Show” or “This Is Me” out of your head afterwards), and the film is visually well-made. It’s fun to watch, but ultimately fruitless without that essential beat of a story. No character really goes through personal trauma that tests them. There’s no buildup or plot twists. Everything glides over the surface and you forget the film (though not the music) as soon as the story is over.

This is not to say that the film’s morals are wrong, just its story. The story has themes of fitting in despite being different, never forgetting where you come from and accepting love wherever it may lie. It’s old Hollywood schmaltz at its finest. The plot structure however keeps these themes from being relevant parts of the story, and it’s only the soundtrack that makes them somewhat overt.

For those who have seen the film, imagine the following scenario instead:

Unloved outcast P.T. Barnum feels as though he doesn’t belong anywhere. He imagines all sorts of fantastical people who he befriends to help him get through the hard times.

He meets a woman whom he tells his stories to and sweeps her off her feet. He finds love and starts a family.

As the Great Depression wreaks havoc on families everywhere, Barnum, overcome with a desire to bring some happiness to others, decides to tell the stories of his youth to his daughters. Seeing their adoration of such fantastical tales, the daughters wish such things were real. Barnum knows that in fact they are. He decides to create the same experience for families all over the country, using love of family to spur his actions.

It’s a long, hard struggle to raise the funds. He travels the country to find people who match his vision, having to convince his performers to take the leap and expose their outer selves on stage. This results in a grand first performance (after much jitters) at the midpoint of the film.

The second half of the film then focuses on how success changes the relationship of Barnum to those he has befriended. Is he exploiting his friends for personal gain? Does he lose sight of why he undertook the endeavor? The relationships between his performers are also put to the test as romances begin and wane and friendships are tested by prominence and ego. They resolve these issues as they put on their biggest show yet at the film’s conclusion.

There are hints of this plot throughout the film, but glam overtakes substance throughout the narrative. The circus is put together far too quickly, and we never really get to know the characters. The fun should have come from seeing all the different performers interact, learn their backgrounds and how they are similar to us, and how they overcome their professional and personal demons. Instead, we don’t really have much of anything to latch onto.

Some will find issue with the abuse of facts about Barnum’s life, glorifying a man who was far from a saint, but it is evident that the filmmakers were going for schmaltz and offering plenty of winks to the audience about the old-time musical. The approach is fine. The execution is lacking.

NHL Playoff Predictions Round 3

(1) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (1) Washington Capitals

The Lightning have rolled through the playoffs in dominant fashion with an 8-2 record, displaying their wide array of depth at every position and advancing to the third round for the third time in the past four years. Brayden Point has been a revelation for the team, giving them an additional threat as if they really needed another one.

The Capitals meanwhile, have finally advanced past the Pittsburgh Penguins after so many years of disappointment. They are a hard-working, tenacious group that makes life miserable for their opponents. It will be important for them not to bask in their win over the Penguins because the Lightning are a better team than they’ve faced yet.

In the end, Tampa may have just too much depth and better health than the Capitals. If Nicklas Backstrom (who missed Game 6 against the Penguins) is able to contribute, he makes things interesting, but Stamkos, Hedman and Vasilevsky are too formidable for the ragtag Capitals.

Prediction: Tampa Bay in 6

(2) Winnipeg Jets vs. (1) Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights are undoubtedly the best expansion franchise in the history of any sport. Can they push it further to a championship? They’re healthy, deep and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has crafted a new chapter in his legacy; cast off from a dominant franchise, bringing to life a new team in the middle of the desert after an unspeakable tragedy. I’ve doubted them all the way up to now. Will they continue to surprise?

They’ll face their biggest test yet against the Winnipeg Jets, who overcame their playoff inexperience in an epic series against the Nashville Predators. The Jets are loaded at every position and are now brimming with confidence after disposing of the best team in the regular season. Their window of opportunity to win a Stanley Cup is now. If Patrick Laine can break out of his goal-scoring slump, there may not be a better team in the league.

Prediction: Winnipeg in 5

“A Quiet Place” delivers a touching story with an intriguing plot

We are in a silver age of horror films. With recent releases such as “Get Out”, “The Witch”, “It Comes at Night” and “The Babadook”, horror films have found a new voice in Trump’s America, echoing our current paranoia and national consciousness. “A Quiet Place” does not necessarily speak to modern times, but it does tell a good story with an interesting concept, adding further to a recent spate of quality horror films (surrounded by oodles of studio crap of course).

In four years’ time, strange creatures have taken over the planet. Blind, they hunt by hiding in the ground and using their incredible hearing to find prey. With most mankind decimated by their ranks, the survivors, including the Abbot family, dad Lee (John Krasinki), mom Evelyn (Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward), must live in total silence to survive.

The film is clever in how the characters find ways to keep quiet and builds up the anticipation towards the film’s conclusion. As we learn more and more about the characters and their situation, details about them become clearer, stakes are raised beyond simple survival and audience investment deepens.

The film is a strong example of high concept. Any genre film can be hooked by a concept, especially a horror film. “Speed”: What if a bus was rigged with a bomb that would go off if it went below 50 mph? “The Matrix”: What if we were living in a computer simulation? “Jurassic Park”: What if a theme park of dinosaurs went amuck? “A Quiet Place”: What if the monsters hunting you could only catch you if you make noise?

To make a film more than just the concept though, you need to elevate the story elements around it to create dimensional characters with an arc that makes you feel something over the course of the story. Luckily, “A Quiet Place” has a pretty good heart beating inside it.

It’s a story about family and how tragedy can sever the bonds between members. Regan questions whether her father loves her after she makes a mistake. The other family members sense the struggle and try to help. That question and the devotion between them as they seek to overcome their present circumstances drives the narrative. It’s not a wholly original concept, but it serves as an important undercurrent to keep the audience invested beyond simple survival/death. It could have even been pushed further to incorporate more internal strife and disharmony.

Krasinki’s directing and acting give the film a firm direction as the action ramps up, the suspense never feeling cheap or forced, naturally allowed to proceed to its logical end. It makes for an interesting film that goes beyond simple scares.

SPOILERS

Inciting Incident: Beau is killed when Regan gives him a toy that makes noise.

Act One Climax: Lee shuns Regan as she tries to help the family.

Midpoint: Marcus tells his father about Regan’s guilt as she goes to Beau’s gravesite.

Act Two Climax: The Abbot family enacts their plan to get through Evelyn’s labor.

Act Three Climax: Regan discovers the creature’s weakness through her hearing aid.

The film does a fantastic job of setups and payoffs. Lee tries to create hearing aids for Regan pays off as a way to show his love to her after he’s gone. When Evelyn leaves a nail sticking up on the stairs after she does laundry, we know it will play an important part later on. When Beau draws a rocket and takes a spaceship as his toy, the fireworks pay off as a symbol to him. And having Evelyn pregnant leaves the audience wondering how the family will sort out the situation. Labor is noisy. Babies are loud. How is the family going to get through this? The little moments leading up to the climax don’t make sense when we watch them, but they do later on as we realize that they are making a soundproof basement fort, have an oxygen tank for when they need to hide the baby in a box and why lighters are so important (to light fireworks). It is a very well-written script that builds up piece by piece, every detail mattering in the end.

Some moments were a little predictable though. Evelyn telling Lee that he has to save his family, along with several other heavy hints, guarantees his demise. Regan’s hearing aid providing the clue to the monster’s weakness is hinted at so strongly for such a long time that the viewer is practically yelling at the screen for her to figure it out already. And the creature design is far too similar to the monsters from “Stranger Things”, which are in turn similar to monsters that came before them. A bit more originality into their look would have really helped differentiate them.

Overall, it is hard to find too much to complain about. The acting, writing, editing and directing are all good. The story is solid. It’s simply a well-made film and for new director John Krasinski, a promise of an interesting future yet to come. It’s too bad they’ve already announced a sequel. Some films lose their intrigue with a second edition. This seems like one of them.

NHL Playoff Predictions Round 2

(1) Nashville Predators vs (2) Winnipeg Jets

It took a few games for the Predators to find their footing, but by the end of their season against Colorado, the Avalanche were completely overmatched. The depth of Nashville’s scoring lines and Pekka Rinne’s timely saves reminded the hockey world that the Predators are the most complete team in the league and they seem to be firing on all cylinders. It’s bad news for the rest of the NHL.

However, if there’s one team in the West who seemingly has the chops to knock Nashville out from a return to the Cup final, it’s Winnipeg. Where Nashville is consistent throughout their lineup, the Jets feature game-breaking talent and moxie. Whether it’s Blake Wheeler, Mark Schieffle or Patrick Laine, the Jets have a much tougher offense than Colorado and pose a much bigger threat.

Both teams have great defenses, with Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien for Winnipeg matching up with Nashville’s fab-foursome, led by Norris Trophy-nominated PK Subban. In terms of goaltending, Connor Hellebuyck had a great first round. If he wears down as the playoffs go along though, the Predators have the guns to put pucks past him, but if he keeps playing like he has been, he’ll be fine. Rinne, again, is shutting the door with that great defense in front of him.

It’ll like come down to a battle of wills, and a little bit of luck, as both teams are so evenly matched. It’s a literal clash of the titans and the winner will have a very good shot of going to the Cup final.

Prediction: Nashville in 7

(1) Vegas Golden Knights vs. (3) San Jose Sharks

The Golden Knights continue to surprise. After a sweep of the Kings in the first round, they have carried over their play from the regular season into the playoffs and maybe there will be more surprises along the way.

The Sharks, meanwhile, counter with a sweep of their own against the Ducks, all while still missing Joe Thornton. Perhaps this old group still has one more run left in them.

William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith form a dominant first line for the Knights and will need to be stopped for the Sharks to advance. Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane and Logan Couture though are pretty phenomenal in their own right, and the Sharks seem able to match the Knights in pure offensive force. What the Sharks have that the Knights don’t though is Brent Burns, the most dominant offensive defenseman in the game today, and something that the Knights didn’t have to deal with in the first round against the Kings.

Marc-Andre Fleury, reprising his run from last year’s playoffs with the Penguins, continues to put up great numbers. He can single-handedly carry the Knights at times if San Jose swarms against their smaller forwards. Martin Jones though, is no slouch either. Coming off sweeps, both of their confidences will be high.

Prediction: Sharks in 6

(1) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (2) Boston Bruins

After a full seven game series in the opening round, Boston will face an even bigger challenge in the second with a Tampa Bay squad that is rested, deep and dangerous.

The Lightning showcased their depth and talent in their first round series against the Devils. Kucherov, Stamkos and Johnson all came through with timely goals, Hedman and Stralman anchored a stingy defense and goaltender Vasilevsky hung through to be strong. As long as their health is good, they are the second, maybe even the first, best team in the league.

Meanwhile, it took the Bruins three tries, but they finally eliminated the pesky Maple Leafs. Bergeron got his first goal of the playoffs in game 7 and must be a stronger offensive force. Marchard and Patstrnak complement him on the wings as the best line in hockey, but the Maple Leafs exposed Boston’s propensity as a one-line team. If the Lightning shut them down and get under their skin, drawing some dumb penalties as Marchand is wont to take, then the Lightning will prevail.

Prediction: Tampa Bay in 5

(1) Washington Capitals vs. (2) Pittsburgh Penguins

Another year, another second round matchup between the Capitals and Penguins. The playoff structure is surely to Washington’s detriment as they have to contend with Pittsburgh every second round. If it were the standard 1 vs. 8 scenario, it’d be interesting to know how many conference or Cup finals this group would have under their belt.

But it’s back to Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Murray against Ovechkin, Backstrom, Carlson and Holtby. The Capitals are lacking the depth they had last season when the won the President’s Trophy and went all-in on capturing the Cup. But the Penguins are surely fighting the fatigue of three straight years of deep playoff runs. Which will win out?

If the Capitals are ever to win the Cup, they have to beat the Penguins. Pittsburgh is so in Washington’s head that they should charge rent. It may all come down to Capitals goaltender Brayden Holtby. If he can perform at his best, he could steal this series for Washington.

Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6

“Isle of Dogs” a lot of fun

Wes Anderson makes the same movie again and again, just in a different format. For some filmmakers (Tim Burton), the formula has become stale and tedious. For Anderson, with his kinetic style and dry wit, it’s still fun for the time being.

“Isle of Dogs” tells the story of Atari (Koyu Rankin), a young boy and ward of Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura). After dogs are deemed a public health crisis after a string of diseases is associated with them, all dogs in Japan are shipped to a trash island far away. Atari runs away from his home, steals a plane and flies to the island to find his dog, Spots (Liev Shreiber). He befriends a group of dogs including Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Boss (Bill Murray) and Duke (Jeff Goldblum), who agree to help him find Spots. Chief, the only stray of the group, is a reluctant ally and resents humans for what they’ve done, but as he grows to know Atari, his emotions change.

The film is a visual feast, with the swift camera pans accentuated by the vibrant colors and smooth animation. Anderson has always done a good job of focusing the viewer’s eye to his subject and exemplifying the film’s emotions through the actions on the screen. Whether it’s a closeup of a character’s eyes as they come to a realization or a chaotic zoom in to emphasize a shocking turn of events, he uses film composition to keep his stories interesting and heartfelt.

He also continues to display his unique wit and charm. The main characters have interesting personality quirks and story arcs and the script keeps the action going at a brisk, never-boring pace. Things move fast and the audience is rewarded for keeping up with his trademark jokes.

For Anderson though, his repetitive style is beginning to border on unoriginality. There are enough differentiations in theme and plot to keep his films interesting for the time being, but like many others before him, his movies are all starting to feel the same: dysfunctional family, long lost relatives, quirky side characters, prestige vs. instinct quarrels, blatant yet funny dialogue, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum. There is a risk that he may soon seem to be parodying himself and that would demean his otherwise strong stories.

And a continuous problem with Anderson in all of his movies is his lack of female characters. Not only are they not protagonists, they are distinctly lacking everywhere onscreen. The vast majority of his characters are white males. And the women of the story serve mostly as companions or sex objects (not in an overt, callous way but in a matter-of-fact way). They are distant and detached or committed to a cause past thought of their own lives. It would be interesting for him to branch out not only in his style, but also his cast list. Many of the roles in his films could indeed be women characters, but he has trouble writing that way.

Ultimately, “Isle of Dogs” succeeds not only as another strong Anderson film that fits into his canon, but also because it mirrors current events. It’s a story about the outsider who benefits society, about government manipulation to find a common enemy to consolidate power, about abusing the environment and leaving our children messes and trash, about the importance of science and reason over preconceived biases and about our basic communication with nature, respecting and cultivating it. It’s a beautiful story that exemplifies what Anderson does best.

Understanding films from all angles