Avengers: Infinity War is what the Marvel cinematic universe has been building towards for a long time with plot threads, post-credit scenes and easter eggs all finally reaching their conclusion. The great news is that this slow and steady build results in an epic and entertaining film. It’s not without problems but fans are getting what they hoped for and probably a whole bunch more.
The Avengers have been scattered to the corners of the Earth. Some still considered heroes while others criminals. Yet in a galaxy far from Earth, the warlord Thanos has been collecting infinity stones. Stones that control the very elements of reality and which he intends to destroy half of the universe’s population to restore balance as he sees fit.
A newcomer to the Avengers: Infinity War could be forgiven for not knowing the various moving mechanisations of the Marvel universe. This is a sequel to not one but several movies all of which interconnect with each other. For fans, this is what you have waited for and it comes together in long fantasised meetings between The Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man or battles with Captain America, Black Panther and a plethora of superheroes joining forces against ridiculous odds. It’s largely expected and that’s a good thing. It clearly plays to its audience and makes no apologies for that. It, of course, make for a bloated and convoluted movie at times but this feels deliberate and its pacing never feels weighted down by it.
It helps that it is complemented by a well-written script, that mixes drama and humour together well. It knows what you expect and at times plays with those expectations as well. Many of us expected the death of one of the big name heroes in the movie and the script has both fun with that and seeks to devastate its audience at the same time. It’s hard to describe it without veering into spoilers but what you expect and what happens is something that Avengers: Infinity War does well. It sense of wit is never far away as well.
What is most surprising is the character work done for Thanos. I’ve made no secret that Infinity stones and gauntlets bore me. Yet here they have crafted Thanos into a villain with purpose, at times making him tragic and understandable. The back story in particular he shares with Gamora is satisfying to say the least.
Still Avengers: Infinity War is not perfect and surprisingly despite all, it does right and there is a whole lot, it seems like in its ambition fore some missteps that make result in a lasting hollowness in its final act. One wonders what is the purpose of all the various plot lines that ultimately come together to achieve nothing. This group has a plan, Thor has a plan, Black Panther and Cap have a plan and yet it all amounts to nothing worse of all there is no hope for what is beyond it. It doesn’t hint at what will come next and that isn’t exactly effective storytelling. There might be clues here but I have a feeling the only clue that we’ve been left with is how all of that shocking cliffhanger ending will be reversed. The rest is just sound and fury. I think as an audience member I felt sad and shocked yet about half an hour after watching the movie realised that so little of this will have meaning come Avengers 4.
One other gripe was some surprisingly dodgy special effects. Most of the movie looks great don’t get me wrong but it seems like the money might have been invested in action and not the quieter moments where things can be quite jarring. One moment stands out at the end where Bruce Banner in a Hulkbuster suit looks quietly on the tragic aftermarth of the battle yet Mark Ruffalo’s head looks like it has just been painted on and not even straight.
Avengers: Infinity War Review Cheat Sheet.
Avenger: Infinity War is a full movie going experience for fans of the MCU. It is epic and plays with expectations in both fun and dramatic ways. Yet it ultimately crumbles under the weight of its ambitous finale which on reflection feels a little hollow. Still an absolute must see for those who have committed to the comic book cinema wave.
+ Epic in scope that is largely successful.
+ Develops Thanos into an interesting villian.
+Plays with expectations of the audience.
+Witty and fun in all the usual ways.
– Ending and at times various plot threads feels inconsequential despite its ambition.
-Some iffy special effects at inaaproriate moments.