Film Review: “Avengers: Infinity War”

Despite its scale, “Avengers: Infinity War” delivers epic battles, humor, and emotional moments without losing sight of its story or sacrificing length.

Truly one of the most (if not the most) ambitious crossover events in movie history, “Avengers: Infinity War” manages to meet the incredibly high bar it set for itself, striking a balance between action, humor, and plot without slowing pace or losing the audience.

“Infinity War” picks up right after the post-credits scene of “Thor: Ragnarok,” and quickly reveals itself to be much darker than its predecessors. The movie’s villain, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is on a mission to collect the six Infinity Stones, to harness their unique power and gain the ability to alter reality with a snap of his fingers. Throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)’s 18 movies, the locations of five of the six stones have been revealed, with two on Earth and three on other planets.

The movie is split into three different subplots which simultaneously force our heroes’ paths to cross and separate them into small groups spread throughout the galaxy. While some of our heroes try to find and kill Thanos before he collects all of the infinity stones in space, others protect and attempt to destroy the ones on Earth before Thanos’ henchmen can find them. Finally, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) set out to forge a new weapon that can kill Thanos.

Those who are new to the MCU may have a harder time understanding all of the references and jokes in the movie, but directors Anthony and Joe Russo do an excellent job of weaving the most important plot details into the characters’ introductions. After all, the characters haven’t watched the other films either.

The most dangerous aspect of this film — the size of its cast and diversity of its characters — actually became one of its strongest features. The transitions between subplots were handled elegantly, with just enough time in between to move the story along without letting the audience forget what else is going on. They also kept the narrative moving at a brisk pace, making a movie that’s almost three hours long seem half that.

Where the storyline lacks action, the characters make up for with humor; where it lacks humor, there are emotional, heartfelt moments to remind us that heroes are fragile too. The depth of this movie is thanks to the 10 years that Marvel spent creating it, allowing audiences to understand and connect to the characters and their values. With Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Marvel created a nuanced, morally-gray villain, and surprisingly, “Infinity War” gives Thanos the same treatment. Much like Killmonger in “Black Panther,” Thanos identifies a valid problem but comes up with the wrong solution. In less than three hours, “Infinity War” gives Thanos an origin story that gives him more dimension than most of the characters in the DC Extended Universe.

So where does “Infinity War” fall short? For one, it doesn’t give us many new character relationships. Although the characters are separated at the beginning of the film, they mostly remain with the people they’ve already known. Notably, the Guardians of the Galaxy meet Thor, but soon after they get separated, and there’s not much dialogue between Thor, Rocket, and Groot. Similarly, Iron Man and Spiderman meet Doctor Strange, but the conversations between the former two characters are very similar to those in the previous movies — Stark treats Parker like a child, and Parker tries to prove him wrong.

Secondly, due to the sheer magnitude of this movie, several of the heroes’ whereabouts and stories are barely mentioned, while others receive much more attention. In particular, romantic storylines are explored a lot more than in previous films. Although this allows for character growth and adds another dimension to the film, it seems irrelevant at times.

To be clear, the interactions mentioned above are included for comedic relief or used to explain the plot, and they brilliantly achieve their purpose. However, the film could be improved by including comedic dialogue between new characters, or replacing some of the romantic moments with scenes involving characters who don’t get as much screen time.

While “Infinity War” isn’t perfect, it accomplishes an incredibly difficult feat amazingly well. It’s also only the first half of the story, so there’s plenty of time for more character and story development. Overall, the fight scenes are epic, the story is an emotional rollercoaster, and the ending will leave you reeling and hungry for Avengers 4. Given the ambition of the project, it is easily the best Marvel movie so far. We waited 10 years for this film, and it definitely does not disappoint.


Grade: A
Directors: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo
Starring: Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Benedict Wong, Idris Elba, Chadwick Boseman, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Terry Notary, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista
Release Date: April 27, 2018
Rated: PG-13

 

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