A decade worth of superhero blockbuster action has led up to this; Avengers: Infinity War. Over the years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has given birth to and cultivated an extensive cultural following, redefining the definition of comic book movies time and time again. In Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios displays an incredible amount of ambition, providing an unrelenting, merciless conclusion to all the stories they have set up to this point, cramming a ton of characters into the plot in the process, giving fans of the franchise more of what they have come to love, and more.
While Marvel’s movies do tend to be celebrated, that isn’t to say that their previous entries aren’t without flaws. Many common criticisms brought up when discussing these films is that the stakes are usually lacking and non-existent, and that the main villains in the stories tend to be weak and unimpressive. With Avengers: Infinity War, the Russo Brothers took it upon themselves to counter both of these points.
With regard to the stakes of the film, these are set right from the first scene. The movie wastes no time letting the audience know what is at risk here. It feels as though there are dire consequences to any action any character takes, and there is truly a sense of danger.. The whole movie has an air of desperation in it, with each hero grasping for anything they can do to stop Thanos, who completely changes the landscape of comic book movie villains.
In Thanos, the Russo Brothers have given the MCU one of their best antagonists so far. He checks all the boxes with regard to what a villain should be; he’s terrifying, the amount of power he can wield is made abundantly clear, he has a connection to some of the heroes, and perhaps most importantly, he is the hero of his own story. Thanos is determined in this movie to fulfill his destiny. In some ways, this is a very Thanos-centric story, him having one of the biggest arcs in the film. The MCU has come a long way since the days of Malekith and Ronan (some of the most lackluster villains to have ever graced a Marvel film), and this is made very evident in how Thanos is treated here.
Bringing together remarkable people
It’s an Avengers movie, and with that comes a lot of superheroes. Some would argue that there are far too many, and that’s a fair assessment. There was a considerable amount of concern amongst those who were anticipating the film, as it was an uncertain whether or not the Russo Brothers could pull off the near-impossible task set upon them. In the end, they overcame the herculean task, but not without encountering a few obstacles. For what they were given, Anthony and Joe Russo managed to give each character an equal amount of time, with everyone having at least one moment to shine. And while indeed screen time between protagonists is spread pretty thinly, it’s understandable given the gargantuan standards that had to be lived up to.
Certain standouts of the film include Chris Hemsworth (who provides a very emotionally charged performance as Thor), Tom Holland (whose Spider-Man adds an element of heart that stood out), Robert Downey Jr., and Benedict Cumberbatch (as is to be expected). Specific heroes do have to take a backseat in this film, as it is an ensemble story. This may disappoint some, as everyone has their own preferences in terms of favorites, but for the most part, the balance is struck relatively well.
A superhero spectacle
How this movie looks is a bit of a mixed bag. The Russo Brothers, with their work on Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, have set the bar for superhero action set pieces, and they continue to do so in Avengers: Infinity War. There are definitely moments in this film that will get people’s blood pumping and cause jaws to drop. Not only is the choreography in this regard done incredibly well, the action is also of a wide variety, as certain heroes with different abilities and quirks come together for the first time.
A superhero movie of this size is bound to have elements of CGI in it, and for the most part, it is well executed. Thanos is perhaps the best example of this, as he looks incredible. Every little detail on his being looks sublime, and it’s evident that there was a lot of work done in order to have him look this way. However, other CG elements, such as the villains in the film that weren’t Thanos, looked a little shaky at times. There was an element in the making of the other villains that withheld suspension of belief, and that might have been a turn off for some. However, the rest is done fairly competently.
It’s all been leading up to this
It’s surprising to see how tightly woven the story was for this film. It was very fast paced, and it was condensed into such a small amount of time for the characters. This allowed for the writing to really shine, as it forced characters to come together and to interact in this apocalypse-esque setting. The movie is paced relatively well, and though there is a lot of going back and forth between subplots, it adds to the overall feel of the movie. The scale of this movie is established, and the gravity of the entire situation is compounded whenever the opportunity arises.
And with regard to the ending of the film, it is one that is sure to blow people away. It’s important that one avoids spoilers at all costs, as there are certain elements that occur that contribute to the conclusion of this bizarre film. It’s very ballsy and ambitious, and it will surely leave everyone questioning where Marvel is to go from here.
In the end…
The MCU at this point could be likened to a bomb; wherein the first 18 movies had the fuse burning down, Avengers: Infinity War is where the bomb explodes. And what an explosion it was.
It wasn’t perfect, but the Russo Brothers fulfilled the promise set by Marvel to its fans the day this interconnected universe was established. Avengers: Infinity War is quite the ride, as it provides thrills, laughs, emotion, action, and grief all rolled into one shiny and flashy ensemble film. It’s an incredibly fun Marvel movie that gets it right—it gives the fans more of what they have come to love, while not being afraid to hammer home the emotion when need be, reminding us that even the best of our favorite superheroes are still mortal. What lies beyond this is to be determined, but for now, we have this display of Marvel’s best to enjoy.
Movie Score: 3.5