Avengers: Infinity War Review
Ten years, nineteen movies, ten TV series, and it’s all been leading to this. Well, maybe not the tv series so much, but they still speak to the scale that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU for short. When Iron Man came out in 2008 we could not conceive the journey we would go on, nor the greater world that would be opened up by Samuel L Jackson stepping out of the shadows and saying, “I'm here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative”.
Now we’re here, Avengers: Infinity War, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, and we finally get to see what it is that Josh Brolin’s Thanos has in store for all our favourite heroes.
The answer? A bombastic superhero epic the likes of which we have not seen before, and it is about as fun as it can possibly get.
This is a long film, but not a single second of it feels wasted nor superfluous. There are several plot groups running simultaneously, and they are juggled well with none neglected for too long before we get to catch up. We have Thor, Rocket, and Groot on one mission, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy facing a battle after they meet, and then the core group of Captain America and co. preparing for Thanos’ arrival with the help of everyone’s new favourite royal, King T’Challa. The action is amazing, with set-pieces that flow wonderfully and are just jaw dropping. Every character has their moments and ways that their skillset contributes. Other than the big one in Wakanda, there are some fun fights in space and a little skirmish in an oddly deserted Edinburgh (seriously, they should have encountered at least twelve drunks and a ghost tour) and all are great to watch.
Of course, it could have all failed had Thanos not worked, after all he has been the big purple shadow hanging over many an event in the MCU, and thankfully he works beautifully. Everything about Thanos and his personal mission to bring the galaxy to balance in his eyes is made very clear, and even through motion capture we get a lot of the emotions and reasoning behind Thanos’ thinking even when we don’t agree with it. And as for everyone else, well what can really be said about the ensemble cast to end all ensemble casts? Everyone puts in 100% and is just brilliant to watch. The movie gives us the character beats, both humorous and emotional, that some of us have been wanting for years, and even a few that we didn’t even know we wanted.
One thing that should be specifically mentioned is that we finally get some genuine meat for Gamora and her arc that we never got enough of in either of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and it is so good to see Zoe Saldana finally let loose. A few do inevitably get lost in the shuffle, most tragically we don’t get many indicators of Steve Rogers’ state of mind and his role in the film is predominantly to be The Leader, but this is an area where you have to remember that despite the fact that they’ve taken away that particular part of the title, this is very much part one of a two-part story and things that fall short in this part may well be more explored in the later one. If any other real issues are to be had, they are relatively minor ones. There are moments where you almost want to yell at our various heroes in frustration because of there being much simpler and direct ways of dealing with things than how they are choosing to go about it for the sake of the story.
Nevertheless, it all builds to a downright heart stopping ending worthy of comparison to The Empire Strikes Back; you know, that really old movie that Peter Parker likes. Of course, there is a question lingering over such an ending: is it going to stick? Comic book fans are no strangers to the “reset button” which allows writers to do the most outrageous things possible to characters but end the story right back where they started so as not to make too much of a mess of the world, and we are dealing with an item that can rewrite time and reality.
However, whatever happens the fabric of the MCU is going to be very different in the near future and it’s going to be interesting to see that, and in particular to see how these characters that we have grown with over the years face the challenges that go with those changes, because they are really what makes the MCU. Even if we can see a plot point coming a mile away, we still want to see what will happen for the sake of those characters and how they specifically will handle those situations and emotional dilemmas. Plus, the movie still has plenty of twists that will catch even the most hardened superhero plot veterans off-guard.
If you are someone who has never been able to get on board with the Marvel party it is doubtful that this won't be the one to change your mind, but it is a well put together adventure that will still hold the attention of the uninitiated, and for those of us who have been there since the very beginning, Avengers: Infinity War is as wonderfully satisfying as it is entertaining.