Related Content from And There Came A Day
Epic, engaging and emotional, building from moment to moment with intensity and a surprising amount of touching humor, Avengers|Infinity War is an astonishing achievement. Going into the movie, the question of how filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo were going to give each of the member of the sprawling cast a moment in the spotlight was paramount.
Somehow, they manage to do it.
Another concern was would the movie feel like a proper culmination of 10 years of Marvel films.
Check that one off, too.
Finally, there were worries that about the stakes of the movie: would they and their outcome justify all the strum und drang of the proceedings? Yes. They absolutely do.
This is a difficult movie to review while avoiding spoilers. A spoiler filled discussion of Avengers|Infinity War is justified and will follow after another viewing or two but, of this movie, suffice it to say, that the conclusion of the movie will likely leave audiences breathless and wondering what, exactly, comes next. And this is, perhaps, the greatest strength of the movie. For all of our collective familiarity with the characters and this Marvel Cinematic Universe, we are somehow uncomfortable and on the edge of our seats wondering about the fate of the heroes, their friends, families and world and how they will ever defeat the seemingly unstoppable Thanos.
Most superhero movies – and Marvel movies are no different – suffer from antagonist problems. That is to say, the antagonists are rarely as interesting as the heroes they oppose. They are often one note. And they usually are derivative of the hero himself (cannot write “herself” for Marvel movies yet).
In Thanos, Avengers|Infinity War presents a villain who rises above all this. He might be the most fascinating character in the movie. Josh Brolin has been appearing in stingers and brief cameos in Marvel movies for years to little effect. Sure, we have known Thanos was coming but what did we really see him do? Put on a glove? Here, he completely embodies the unthinkable, unstoppable force that is the character. Let us hand it to Marvel, again, on its casting. Brolin is wonderful and Thanos is no simple role to play.
Avengers|Infinity War has something for everyone. Fans of Iron Man get plenty of Tony Stark. Fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy will spend time with Star Lord and the gang. Fans of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther… well, you get the picture. Somehow, each member of the massive Marvel cast is given time to shine. Captain America? Check. The Black Widow? Yes. The Hulk and Thor? Without question. Does that mean every question about every character is answered? It does not. Are there some dangling plot threads that are left to dangle? There are. But it is both amazing and gratifying to see how many of our heroes are featured, and featured well.
Frankly, the only film of which I can think that does half as good a job of this is the Academy Award winning Return of the King and it took that movie about 13 different epilogues to handle its cast. Run to a theater right now and you can probably still catch the last one. Avengers|Infinity War juggles over 50 different characters and is a somehow brisk affair at an almost 3 hour running time.
One of the joys of the movie is the team ups. Want to see Iron Man and Doctor Strange (the Beard Bros) working together? How about Black Panther and Bucky? Rocket and Thor? It seems to have been a blast to write these scenes because they crackle with energy and the cast is clearly having much fun. The entire film is surprisingly fun especially when one considers the stakes at hand and the carnage that is wrought… no spoiler there, I hope!
There are moments that will fly over the heads (catch the Drax reference there?) of many movie goers. There are some that will even challenge the most Marvel Maniacs in the audience. There may be a little too much fan service. Additionally, in the context of such a massive affair, something had to receive short shrift that here, and that is the Black Order, the villainous collection of super-powered beings Thanos sends out to confront the Avengers. They are, primarily, amazing creations of which the audience gets to know very little. That is too bad.
But this is a minor quibble. Avengers | Infinity War is a monumental achievement. Marvel has, once again, raised the bar for what a superhero movie can be in terms of scope and complexity and also in terms of themes and consequences. This one may leave audiences thinking long after the final reel. That is something most superhero movies do not do. Avengers|Infinity War leaves a mark.
And not just on the Avengers.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR receives SIX INFINITY STONES out of a possible FIVE.