The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Avengers: Infinity War is one of the most anticipated movies in pop-culture of recent memory, second only to The Force Awakens. I will not be spoiling anything for you, don't fret.
For years audiences have sat through post-credit sequences teasing Thanos, a huge purple man who is seemingly behind all major events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. Then, in the original Guardians of the Galaxy film, we got to see the Mad Titan himself speak and interact (but still mostly just sit in a chair.) From there it has still taken another four years before Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet has come crashing down upon the MCU and (nearly) all of the characters we have met in the last ten years.
The one simple fact about Infinity War is that if you’ve been watching these movies for ten years now, it is going to be a blast. It’s a culmination of the original Avengers team, the Guardians of the Galaxy and a sprinkle of other newly introduced characters. You would do yourself a disservice to have any of this movie spoiled before seeing it, and I won’t be doing that to you.
Infinity War does well on its promise to be a true event. There are truly shocking moments and a few genuine surprises. Most importantly it’s the small moments and character interactions that make this movie what it is, and why it’ll be an utter joy for fans. Be warned though, if you haven’t been watching every single Marvel movie and it’s accompanied post-credits scene, you may have some trouble keeping up here. This is movie nineteen in a franchise and the first that truly expects its audience to have watched all of the previous films.
Infinity War is relentless from start to finish, barely stopping for a second. However, even with a two and half hour runtime, it does short-change some characters over others. The Russo Brothers, however, do handle the twenty plus character smorgasbord better than Joss Whedon did with the previous two Avengers films. Nearly everyone gets a chance to have a scene of emotional impact or something to move their singular stories forward. Some do standout, of course. Gamora is the star of the movie with the deepest and most emotionally tied and significant story linking directly to Thanos, her father, and his surprising inner struggles on his self-appointment mission. Zoe Saldana also giving the best performance of the film and providing a scene that gives Infinity War a much-needed heart within its many punches and explosions.
Coming just off the back of Black Panther and with that being my favourite Marvel film to date, it was disappointing to see T’challa used rather poorly. He is amongst an admittedly small number of characters who by the end of the film have had most their scenes as action pieces and not significant dialogue or character moments outside of fight the bad aliens.
The Russo brothers have infused more comedy into this film than either of their two previous entries into the Marvel pantheon. But it probably comes with the company you choose to keep here. Yes, the Guardians are funny; yes, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) has several back-and-forths that are Tom Holland naive fun; yes, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) quip back and forth in entertaining fashion; yes, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) drops several dude-bro one-liners to take home for a t-shirt. The funniest is Drax (Dave Bautista), of course. It’s a lot of fun, and I laughed out loud a lot more than I have in recent comedy films, but sometimes I did wish for fewer jokes, especially as the scenes that followed were supposed to be very serious.
Disappointingly I found Groot (Vin Diesel) to be one of the most annoying characters in the film. The 'Teen-Groot' joke is played up and on the nose. For a character that was loving, funny, heart-warming and then adorable and cute in the previous Guardians of the Galaxy films, it was disappointing that I just wanted him gone. He ends up sharing a lot of time with a character Peter Dinklage is playing with an annoying accent and tone, making for considerably the worst acting of the film. Jam those two characters in a section of the film together and I can easily tell you which part of Avengers: Infinity War I disliked the most. Those scenes.
Thanos (Josh Brolin) is surprisingly -- to me at least -- an interesting and multilayered villain. His plan isn’t galactic conquest, or even motivated by power, or self indulgence for himself. It’s a mad plan, but one that in his mind is for the best of the galaxy. He easily goes into the top 3 of Marvel villains. I even felt somewhat sad for him in one scene which is a testament not only to some great writing for Thanos, but also the great motion-captured performance from Josh Brolin.
As trailers were released for Infinity War, I was vocal about how bad I thought Thanos looked. I’m happy to say come full release, he looks good and the motion capture performance from Brolin works really well, both from a menacing distance and close up for more emotionally driven scenes. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Thanos’ underlings, the group called the Black Hand in the comics. They are interesting power-wise and one of them in particular, Ebony Maw, is somewhat scary. An alien that can manipulate like Doctor Strange, but with a taste for torture. But their CGI isn’t as effective and Proxima Midnight, one of the other members of the Black Hand, in particular, was reminding me of Steppenwolf from last year's Justice League, and that’s not a compliment.
The ending of Infinity War may be divisive with fans. Where a large part of my cinema literally yelled, ‘what the f***’ as it ended in somewhat shocked appraisal, I wasn’t as impressed. Yes, the final minutes of Infinity War is shocking, but it’s only thanks to the composition of the Russo Brothers direction and several key performances that sell it at the moment. The second I stood up from my chair I was already mentally writing ‘cheap, ineffective ending’ for my notes, and that’s where I’ll stand. The end of Infinity War is cheap, ineffective and plays on its audience in all the wrong ways. Most of all, it proves that this (no matter what Marvel has stated) is part one of a two-part story.
Joe and Anthony Russo have done what I honestly thought was the impossible with Avengers: Infinity War. Although it’s far from perfect and is so stuffed to the brim you may sometimes find it hard to breathe, it’s the perfect ten-year party for the MCU. It’s worth watching every single MCU film prior to this -- yes, even the terrible ones -- just to appreciate this film in full. Start the countdown now though, as we have a long year ahead before the untitled sequel.
Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by), Stan Lee (based on Marvel comics by), Jack Kirby (based on the comics by), Jim Starlin (comic book story), George Perez (comic book story), Ron Lim (comic book story),
Cast: Robert Downy JR, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Bendict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anothony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benecio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt