WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES / MARVEL STUDIOS (2018)
Directors: Anthony Russo / Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt
It’s all been leading to this.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ten years. Eighteen movies. Big moments.
The biggest of all is finally here - Avengers: Infinity War.
The six Infinity Stones are out there in the Galaxy and our heroes have come across five of them across the breadth of the MCU. Now, the biggest threat of them all, Thanos (Brolin), has come to retrieve them all and complete his own Infinity Gauntlet – a move that will give him the power to annihilate half of the Galaxy and afford the surviving half a better life (in his thoughts, at least). Against a monstrous foe, the Avengers are joined by Thor (Hemsworth), T’Challa (Boseman), Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch), the Guardians of the Galaxy and anyone else who is deemed a hero in an attempt to halt the Mad Titan’s destructive plans and save the Galaxy.
The idea of cramming literally everything you’ve been setting up for a decade into one movie sounded ridiculous. Indeed, in the lead up to release I voiced my concern over how the Russo Brothers would pull this off whilst making it enjoyable, engaging and epic all at once.
Well, somehow, they’ve done it.
Avengers: Infinity War is certainly not without its flaws – there are many pacing issues, some iffy CGI and certain main characters were sidelined for huge chunks of the movie, however, the stakes have well and truly been raised now (whether they’ll remain raised is a huge question mark) and with a formidable foe in Thanos, the MCU finally has a villain worthy of greatness. The story is fairly rudimentary and at times struggles with itself, but the overall product is superb.
In terms of the incredible cast, it would be silly to go into every performance. However, Hemsworth, Downey Jr., Saldana and Brolin are the standouts amongst them all – delivering laughs, drama, tragedy and emotion between them and together are the heart of the movie. Brolin really shines through under the motion capture performance and allows Thanos the weight and urgency he really needed. The chemistry between Thor and the Guardians was great and delivered the majority of the movies laughs – see: Thor constantly referring to Rocket as ”rabbit” – as well as Downey Jr. and Cumberbatch’s constant back-and-forth quips. There are no weak performances, only undersold ones. Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson are overlooked massively and occupy the weaker/uninteresting ‘team’ in the movie. Thanos’ henchmen, The Black Order, were OK – Ebony Maw worked well, the rest were a bit...'meh' – not in terms of power, just a higher level of filler. The main drawback, really, is that everyone lacked screentime simply due to the fact that there are so many characters.
The story has so much to cram in, at times, it all somehow feels a bit rushed (which is strange given the two-hour-forty-minute-runtime) and certain story elements feel weak compared to others. However, the stakes are absolutely raised, and in some cases, they need to remain raised – the Russo’s also do a fine job in subverting expectations, just when you think something will happen, it doesn’t. Another story issue I have had with the MCU is their lack of compelling third acts, but that wasn’t a problem in Avengers: Infinity War – this huge third act delivers. It’s big, trust me.
As I’ve mentioned, everything about this movie is epic. It looks incredible for the majority of the time – some of the locations burst with vibrancy, others with Alien-esque isolation and darkness. The action scenes are well-orchestrated and aren’t too overblown to the point of confusion, though some of the CGI is unimpressive – the Black Order being the main culprits. The use of sound is also excellently done, it’s not just all whizz bangs and explosions…
When it’s all over, you’ll either think it’s epic or overly stuffed. Me? It’s definitely epic. I’ve never experienced a movie before where an audience gasped in sheer delight and horrified despair as much as they did in Infinity War, it was a real experience. It’s emotional, it’s grim, it’s fun and it’s big - Avengers 4 has an awful lot to live up to, but for now, just bask in the excellence of Infinity War.
All that written by a fair-weather comic book movie fan.
April 26th 2018