After being initially teased all the way back in 2012, Thanos finally decides to take matters into his own hands, launching an assault not only on Earth but on the entire universe. The fate of trillions is at stake and only the now disassembled Avengers stand between him and complete annihilation. This does put a smile on my face…
So here we are: the culmination of 3 phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a movie 10 years in the making and one of the most ambitious endeavours ever put to film. The daunting task the Russo brothers faced when making this was to flesh out Thanos into more than just a two dimensional cartoon villain, whilst introducing new characters and simultaneously juggling the few dozen existing heroes introduced over the past 18 films, piece of cake! And now the daunting task I face is finding a way to recall and talk about everything without revealing any spoilers, because a lot happens in this film and my advice would be to see it as soon as possible; either that or stay off the internet for the forseeable future!
This film is called Avengers: Infinity War but it could just as well have been called Thanos: Infinity War, as this really is his story. Marvel have always stated that their focus is on the heroes in these films, with the villains usually playing second fiddle as the necessary foils that our heroes come up against. We’ve seen a few exceptions to this, most notably Loki and Killmonger, but even their character building pales in comparison to that of Thanos’ as, during the 2 and a half hour run time, we get to see glimpses into his past, learn his backstory, find out what his motivation is and even sympathise with him to a degree. All this whilst also keeping up with the pockets of Avengers, now split across the galaxy. And much like Killmonger in Black Panther, Thanos isn’t necessarily wrong in his beliefs, it is how he goes about implementing them that puts him on the wrong side of us as an audience, and of course the Avengers.
This film doesn’t so much hit the ground running as it does take off from the ground and rocket into the sky. Within the first 5 minutes we discover just how powerful Thanos is and the threat he poses. There is no build up here either, they don’t need one, we’ve had 18 films setting up our characters and this confrontation; this is the culmination of all that, a 2 and a half hour climax that Sting would be proud of!
On that note, it must be said that this film does expect you to have done your homework before going in; ideally having seen all 18 previous films in the MCU. If this is your first MCU film then expect to marvel at the action set pieces, get a basic idea of the plot and motivations but have zero emotional connection to any of the heroes. If you are up to date with your MCU however, then you can expect to be largely blown away by the epic action set pieces whilst also feeling genuine emotion as the heroes come face to face with their own mortalities and the possibility of facing a foe they cannot defeat.
Acting wise, everyone comes to play here, and even though some characters only get a relatively small amount of screentime, everyone is clearly relishing their roles and no one is phoning anything in. Once again though, the stand out performance is Josh Brolin as Thanos; giving depth and relatability but also menace and intimidation through his powerful voice and mo-cap performance. And you really have to hand it to the creative effects team behind Thanos as not once do you look at this giant purple titan and not believe he actually exists.
That’s not to say this is a faultless film however, the action often cuts somewhat jarringly from place to place, one minute on Earth, then suddenly in outer space, and now on one of several otherworldly planets, and you may struggle to keep up with who is doing what, where and with whom. There is also no real consistent tone through the film either, although this was inevitable as the Russo brothers were dealing with a vast number of properties that weren’t their own and it occassionaly felt like they were trying to mimic the style of previous directors. A few of the characters seemed somewhat under-powered compared to previous films, with Doctor Strange and Vision notably less godlike than we have previously seen them; and on the flip side Black Widow continues to somehow hold her own against any alien army thrown at her, flipping and kicking her way through Thanos’ hordes as the likes of Scarlet Witch and the Hulkbuster struggle not to be overwhelmed.
The Marvel humour is still very apparent here, and although not all of the jokes land, they do help emphasise the fun of this film, although I would say this is definitely the darkest MCU film to date. I don’t think it can be overstated just how many characters there are in this film either and just how monumentally impressive a job has been done in balancing them all out; whether it be cameos from the likes of Ned (Spider-Man: Homecoming), the Collector (Guardians of The Galaxy), main roles from the likes of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Panther, Starlord, Gamora etc etc, or even a shock appearance from *spoiler*, Avengers: Infinity War delivers on virtually all counts. And, despite its flaws, when you consider everything and everyone they had to fit into this film, it’s hard to see it as anything other than a triumph.
See you all next year for Avengers 4: Howard The Duck Strikes Back!
In summary: Avengers: Infinity War comes to screens in epic style, managing to juggle what must be the largest lead cast ever assembled whilst also infusing humour, heart and tragedy throughout the insane action; once again showing why Marvel are the best and some would say only studio to successfully create a living, breathing cinematic universe.
Thanks for reading, and until next time…