10 years and 18 movies in the making, Avengers: Infinity War is a film born from an unprecedentedly planned cinematic universe. What started with 2008’s Iron Man has now accumulated into a massive mash of characters, story lines and universes. To say there was expectation for this film could be THE understatement of the century. Having so much riding on one film, Marvel could have very easily made the bomb that brought this entire carefully constructed universe undone. Rest assured however Marvel hasn’t only succeeded; they’ve knocked it out of the park. To be frank, the biggest non-spoiling death in this film is the DC Cinematic Universe.
After the events of the last few Marvel films Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers, find themselves disenfranchised, shattered and scattered across the universe. The film opens in an operatic fashion and doesn’t let up for a second. We meet the films big bad, a villain and impending threat that has been hinted and teased since 2012’s first Avengers film. All one needs to know of the plot is that the teased villain’s plan for a universal genocide by halving the population of all worlds has advanced to the point where it becomes known to the Avengers and they are subsequently called into action. Marvel has had a problem with their villains thus far, too often seeming two dimensional or simply plot points. Another understatement would be to say Marvel has been saving up their best villain till now. Thanos is a giant purple brut, somewhat a ‘Space Bane’, who could have easily fell into the category of typical megalomaniacal extra-terrestrial tyrants. But due to some complex writing and a truly magnificent motion-capture performance by Josh Brolin, Thanos is one of the most multifaceted and byzantine characters in recent memory. In any film, not just superhero movies. He is so self-righteous and strangely wholesomely sanctimonious on his quest, he shifts from being not really a villain into to the most pure definition of an ‘antagonist’ there is. Whether he is monologuing or punching, Thanos is a constantly compelling character.
While past Avengers films have been lead (sometimes tiresomely) by Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man, this film allows everyone (near 20 characters) their chance to shine. Captain America and Black Panther being the only two that noticeably lack screen time, however they make their impact felt. The Russo Brothers have managed a thrilling action film that allows its characters not only the chance to be humorous but also to really delve into the sombre moments. At times it is truly, truly funny and others truly shocking. Marvels love affair with Scarlet Witch continues with her having been given some of the most exciting scenes and the inclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy happens surprisingly smooth, giving us the banter between Thor and Starlord which is a comical highlight. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange is given a lot of films knowledge and foresight which he manages to translate into an even more interesting turn than in his solo film.
Overall the film is fun and full on. It dances around the cosmos while constantly raising the stakes. The only downfall will be the accessibility to people that aren’t as familiar with the MCU as others. The action has sufficiently been upped and(with all but one characters dramatic battle entrance) the CGI is super impressive. The Russo Brother have somewhat achieved a near impossible task to maintain the pace while also upping the ante for the third act and managing to leave the audience breathless with the final moments.
Avengers: Infinity War isn’t without its flaws, but as a superhero film that ties together a decade of films, it’s a thrillingly fun ride. This will be a standard that Marvel will, for better or worse, have to meet again. Only time will tell if they can. As Thanos proclaims early on “The end is near…”, if that’s true Marvel has no need to worry, because we will be waiting with bated breath, anticipation and pre-purchased tickets for whatever it does next.
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