IMAX vs THE AVENGERS
April showers have sauntered into May, flooding our conversations and tricking us to believe all is well in the morning only to be soaked later that afternoon, always before an important engagement and almost certainly leaving the house minus one of my plethora of umbrellas and waterproof attire.
Although my garden, (slash jungle) has risen to the occasion absorbing all of Aprils lateness, and stretching to new heights across ‘my land’, forming a well maintained canopy built by bonding several unnameable trees and bushes — a joint effort, a coalition that actually works — creating shade and security for next doors cats (plural) to roll around drop free and use the facilities without disturbance. But most of all, king of my jungle is the forever majestic Fox that sneaks around in the undergrowth. Handsome and confident about once a month I find the Fox staring through me into my soul. He questions what I have to do with HIS land, and almost smirks at my misfortune of not being under his new canopy feature. All provided by this April Fools flush of weather.
All social occasions have taken a second and third thought on my appearance. Being overly large, means my clothes, or over clothes are subsequently overly large, or larger than life need permit as one of my friends so carelessly fog horned as I whipped them all with just one of my soaked garments. Shuffling into any booth, damp from your journey is never, ever fun. Not for you, not for the party you are joining. Not for the staff. No one. Whoever likes or enjoys travelling in this weather, must be a descendent of a seaman or sycophant because frankly, its just not cool.
So my diary is weather permitting. This now a fact, Im not dancing around it any more. If its raining, and Im already locking into my Jardin Flat — Im most likely going to hobbit myself into my hovel and that’s me for the night. Maybe even the day. And good ridden you may ask, or my fast friends might holler. Because my company at these occasions, is never as fun as it is when its truly crisp and sunny outside. I want to give my all and more at any social occasion, Sodden Stevie is not fun, Sunny Stevie is the light, is the conversation — or so I think. That could just be the alcohol rush giving me that glow and not the sun, but for todays review, let us go with the former. The light gives me light.
So its May, its raining like April and I am questioning my sanity as the entry in it today is unavoidable, inevitable if you will. The cinema trip. Are you a big screen goer? Seems to be a question that has hit my dining tables of late. The rise of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, even Youtube are getting in on the act. The facts are, TV is seriously good right now. We are at a peak for the consumer, serious drama, rolling series contracts — enough television to devour over a long weekend, or even a solid week. Having breezed through addictive TV such as Breaking Bad, The US Office, even early episodes of Ramsey’s Hotel Nightmares Ive munched through — but the current crème de la crème is Line of Duty. Late to the watering hole on this one, I have elbowed my way to the front by ripping through 4 series in just over 3 weeks. Considering L.O.D. is an incredibly intense real life drama about the constant battle of good versus evil within the police force and the resulting wins from organised crime because of this, has truly changed my perception of the world. No chicken shop, printer repair or newsagent is safe from my screwball stare. What are they reallyyy selling, is my server at this restaurant here against her will? Will she be forced to slow dance to white snake to drooling, staring guppy faced men come 9pm? What really was that sound in the basement, was that screams or just an over used under oiler trolly screeching for help. We will never know, but Line of Duty as got me believing I am a junir member of AC12 ( or The Anti Corruption Unit ) to non-believers I mean watchers. This series made me praise the BBC, Netflix and everywhere between. The writing is unbelievably good, you re gripped from the beginning, and every episode ends leaving you salivating for more. I have witnessed addiction rip through friends and I have never seen anything take over your soul and system as fast as a New Bingeworthy Series.
So with the obsessive rise of these shows, and my late night lurking now in my living room rather than the dance floor ( half of Chelsea and Zone 1 and probably 2 can breathe for I am mostly at home now-a-days, the days for taking over the bar and manipulating the bar staff that I am literally the only table who will be drinking heavily and consistently whilst tipping far too generously to get over the impending embarrassment of my own actions ) the weather being as temperamental and stroppy as a teenage girl trying on dresses for the summer ball, why oh why am I finding myself in a cinema, in 2019… when in all honestly I could easily wait for whatever Im seeing on la grande scene to be bought by netflix, or turn up on my telly box via sky or virgin ( im a virgin kinda guy, I wont get into the debate — I can wax lyrical about this another time) . Im a chiller at heart, so Im not in any real rush, for anything really, especially telly. But this adventure is different, this is The Avengers: End Game.
Spoilers in this universe Is something that could ruin the whole films experience for the super fans, actually not even the top of the tree; any fan would be gutted to learn a spoiler before sitting pretty in their cinema. The screen of choice for us this time round, IMAX, Waterloo. Even writing it sounds as though I have been whipped into the future of a brave new world, where my lifes entertainment is based around daily logs of my good deeds, and rewarded weeky through group social activities.
One of my best friends is a Marvel Super Fan — And over the past couple of years has slowly spoon fed me origin stories, sequels and reboots of my childhood favourites. At first I watched to see Robert Downey Jr essentially play a sooped up version of himself but now, I am up to date and been on pretty much every sky exploding meteoriac adventure Stan Lee and Co could dream up, I am fully focused and excited for this flick.
Flick is under playing it, this is the 4th part of a serious Saga — this is a blockbuster to end all blockbusters; so the IMAX, which seemingly belittles all over screens, stating with clarity, “the biggest screen in the united kingdom’ pricked our ears and seemed fitting for such a finale.
Little did I know I was a seat snob. Under normal circumstances, I ( because I am cough, freelance-ish ) have the time and I guess inclination to book the seats for my man-date cinema excursion with my marvel superfan friend — I always automatically go for the VIP options. Mid-row, middle tier, bosh. Jobs a gooden. Most likely because I think I am VIP, but mostly because I love to see a couple or two stomp past me, booking partner whincing at how cheap they’ve been — “ sorry Sandra it was all booked when I checked — LIES I cry, LIES — you weighed it up and wanted to spread your wealth across the confectionary stand. Well stuff the sweets, you need the space. Trust me. If you can get more room for yourself and can afford it, then why not. Or is that just me? Born to be in VIP. Or born to be a twat, either way works for me. I jest. I need the room. And honestly, you do to. For the seats that my friend booked “ this ones on me “ he pronounced– and I dearly loved him for being such a hero and sorting out the evening. Until I witnessed what seats had been booked.
Walking into IMAX Waterloo, through the wide double doors you are hit with the unbelievable scale of the site. I stopped, stood and gauped at the height… I now know what it must feel like to have me, a tree top of a man, whilstle past a small child only to look back and said child is now clutching their mothers coat tails, wide eyed and panicked as a real life nightmare just breezed past. Sometimes I add a deep, witch like cackle, making sure the sound echoes and tails off to really impact the youth ive just made shat itself. I was now this child, how many humans did it take to weave such a scene. Were aliens involved with the strategizing and underpinning? Same vibe as the pyramid just with a little less whipping and sex parties? Leave your loin cloth at the door babes they’d say. That’s one ladder I would not be helping weigh down. You never know what flying object you may end up tea bagging and im not talking about PG tips here.
In short, it was BFG huge. And being a modern-day giant, I should be all over this, big hands, big eyes, big screen; until half way up the neon lit stairs we found our chosen seats. Bang on an aisle ( no complaints here ) but as we sat down I realised I was truly fucked. My legs being longer than long the true length of the seat and when I threw myself into my seat, my knees burst into the next row of seats. If anyone were to sit down in front of me, we would be sitting together in a kind of intimacy reserved only for seedy trysts or a log flume ride at Disney. My point is, this is not entertainment. Sitting like sardines, oxygen slowly running thin as members of a sub level of human kind heavy breathing, long deep breathing through their mouths as their noses are blocked up from being indoors their entire lives — the carbon dioxide fills the room, and concentration wavers as there was zero to no aircon is this cavernous building. Separate to slowly being suffocated, and having the bend myself into right angles and shaped seen only in a 4 years olds Crayola drawing — I realised Japanese water torture seems like a blissful break from what angles I find myself locked within the confines of a cinema seat.
I’m sorry but if you think that is your cinema experience — then you’re getting it all wrong. To be elbow to elbow, hunch double with a friend of any nature, for that long ( the film was three hours and two mimutes long ) is wrong on just too many levels.
Side note — My friend who booked these seats had no idea our personal square footage would be so small; this is far from him being cheap, this is just a show of how popular the film is, still weeks after its release. These were only seats the dear boy could book, even all the VIP — so its not his fault, but I guess everything happens for a reason. I got a good story out of it.
To witness hundreds of people, grazing like cattle, a unified crunch and slurp is all too much for me. I have been spoilt with VIP seating, home cinemas and a large tv at home but within moments I was one with the crowd. Heavy doses of sugar supplied serotonin were needed to sedate my already strained bones, and it worked.
Now team, remember we are in May now, which is pretending to be April, making us all fools right now. Damp coats, business bags and laptop cases surround us all in this cinema. Late comers nervously prod past, questioning whether they should give the ass or crotch as they crab dance to their seat. The trailers roll and the room is filled with rainbow light and bassy sound, the best bits from the coming years blockbusters are shown and it feels every one of us is agreeance — this IMAX is like hitting he big time. Girlfriends look warmly at the side profile of their chosen partner, watching them shover popped corn into their gullet. Carefully weighing up how they’d done on the good looks chart, and if the modern male had over taken their current cup holder partner. Time for an upgrade I could feel one saying as she gives me a full front and slight smile as she brushes past me and by snacks.
The trailers end, and the room is in darkness. A spotlight appears and a circle of light runs across the bottom row of seats, curling up to the corner of the room to find a tall Microphone stand. Ready and waiting. As a collective, we are all incredibly confused. There is a brief moment of sheer silence when a large, Indian man steps into the light with authority.
With a thick Bombay accents he hits us with;
“ So heres how it goes — a little health and safety for you all. “
I look at my friend, he is startled, I look to my left there is a couple with both mouths open, wide eyed.
“ Please do not both to come down this aisle, it is now officially closed. You will not escape through the doors, it is now locked. The only escape is behind you. Yes? “
Our eyes widen further, are we in danger in here? Is the screen so big it could peel off and slap us all like a parade of flies fighting over a dropped sausage at a mid summer BBQ? I never considered a cinema trip where I would have to call my loved ones before the end of the trailers — the film started at 9pm ish, we left the cinema past midnight, most likely nearer 1am. Which could explain why the only passage to more sweets and drinks was locked — there would be no staff to dispense. Or maybe IMAX are just cruel, and enjoyed seeing us suffer as dry mouth set in from all the salts around the 2nd hour mark of this massive film.
The world is changing, and how entertainment is delivered is evolving rapidly. The dark arts of consumerism suggests we will always need stuff to do; and the cinema experience is a ritual I could not live without. But there is a clear lack in style, comfort and a focus on the customer. This needs to change now, before we all give up on paying through the nose for something we could frankly download. I will be returning to the IMAX one day, but in a tracksuit, pillow in hand and almost certainly in Row P which has the most space.