The Avengers, Dr. Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy and their allies must team up to stop Thanos from wiping out the lives of half the universe. 18 Marvel movies have all lead to this pinnacle moment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
What You Should Know:
(Presented without spoilers)
And there came a film, a film unlike any other when one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was brought to the silver screen. And on that day an idea was born. That other heroes such as Thor, Captain America, Dr. Strange, The Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy could have their own movies and share a unified reality! And so began The Marvel Cinematic Universe, taking audiences where no movie series had gone before!
What You’ll Find Out:
As this is a spoiler free review, I can’t divulge the details of the story. But what you’re really hoping I would get to is this: Is the movie good?
Yes! The movie is good! OK, it’s good but is it great? Yes, for the most part, it is great. Okay, okay, but is it the best Marvel Universe movie of them all? Well, that is a matter of personal choice. Some believe The Black Panther was the best Marvel Universe movie. Others believe it was The Guardians of the Galaxy. Many believe the first Avengers movie was the best. I will say that, of the 18 movies preceding it, Avengers Infinity War is at least in the top 9. There have been so many good Marvel Cinematic Universe movies — Iron Man, Thor, Civil War, Dr. Strange, The Black Panther, Winter Soldier — everybody has their own list of favorites. I think the real question we want to get to is this: after 18 movies and a story that began in The Avengers in 2012 and has been dropping breadcrumbs throughout the movies for 6 years leading up to this one film, Avengers Infinity War, was it worth the wait? Or was it over-hyped?
Avengers Infinity War opens not long after the events in Thor Ragnarok. It is here, at the beginning of the movie, where I have my own personal issues with the movie. That aside, we all knew that the movie was set to feature almost every hero we’ve seen to this point. There are a couple of notable people absent but still, there is a hell of a lot of superheroes in this movie…it will probably hold the record for that feat alone for a long time to come. So not everybody gets an equal chance to shine. There are characters you’d think would be in the forefront who don’t make it to center stage…in this movie. We must keep in mind this is only part one of a two-part story even if that isn’t apparent in the title to the majority of the audience not familiar with the comics. Kind of like what happened at the end of The Empire Strikes Back when people were freaked out that the movie ended on something of a cliff-hanger. But the Star Wars fans back then had to wait three years to get their conclusion! We will have to wait one year as the untitled Avengers 4 will come out this same time next year. Television sticks us with cliff-hangers of 9-12 months all the time. And sometimes they cancel the show leaving you with no resolution at all.
As is the norm for large casts the heroes get broken up into groups. For example, it’s no surprise that Thor ended up with The Guardians of the Galaxy (more specifically Rocket Raccoon and Groot) given that was the direction they were pushing Thor in from the events of Thor Ragnarok. At least he’s given some of his dignity back as comedian Thor was necessarily downplayed some.
Surprisingly, the character that shines the most in Infinity War is Doctor Stephen Strange. Actually, it shouldn’t come as a shock at all given that he is in possession of one of the Infinity Stones. And it’s only natural that he should be the first one aware of the coming of Thanos…even though he doesn’t even know who Thanos is and neither does anyone else aside from The Guardians of the Galaxy. Another character to watch is The Scarlet Witch whom we get to see in ways we haven’t seen her before.
Thanos himself is another stand out character, of course. Josh Brolin was a great choice to play the CGI Titan. His performance brings a degree of depth to Thanos which is absolutely needed to create a good, believable villain. Too many times not enough development and care is put into creating super villains (witness Malekith, the Mandarin, Yellowjacket). It is on the shoulders of the villain which ultimately rests the success of a comic book film. This is what has sunk many non-Marvel Studios films…villains like Venom (Spider-Man 3), Electro (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Dr. Doom and the god-awful interpretation of Galactus in the Fantastic Four Films. Thanos can take a place with the great villains we have gotten over the years like the non-MCU Dr. Octopus and the magnificent Magneto (old and young) as well as MCU villains like the Red Skull, The Vulture, The Winter Soldier and, of course, Marvel’s ultimate super villain, Loki. However, for all his strengths, there seems to be something lacking in Thanos. He’s not so much The Mad Titan as he is in the comics but more like The Angry Titan. The one important thing that was left out, in my opinion, is the very thing that speaks most to his motivation. Whereas Loki is such a fully developed character in just about every aspect and brought to glorious life by the talented Tom Hiddleston, there’s just something keeping Thanos from rising to that level. Part of it may be the fact that when all is said and done Thanos is still a CGI character, lacking certain nuances a live performer can deliver. He’s also removed from almost — mostly but not all — sense of family. Taken out of context with the Eternals of Titan (who, oddly enough, seem to be headed for a movie of their own), he’s left with two “daughters” who are hellbent on killing him. To be fair, Infinity War does give us some insight into his relationship with Gamora but that’s all. To be certain, Thanos has come a long way from his first appearance with that grinning purple puss to an intelligent villain who manages to thwart every effort to stop him from acquiring the Infinity Stones.
I have to give Marvel credit for keeping the plot in secrecy and the fans guessing. I find it amusing, all the theories I’ve read on Facebook and the internet about details of the movie. With few exceptions, people were way off target about Infinity War. Probably the number one thing that had fans guessing was the whereabouts of the sixth Infinity Stone. I think most of you will be surprised at the reveal.
I think the film will satisfy most fans expectations. There are certainly criticisms to be made, though. The way the opening scene was handled was a big one for me. Another was the constant bombardment of CGI. There is only one quiet scene between two characters in the movie and the rest is one CGI battle after another. There’s not much in the way of characters coming together and trying to come up with one unified plan to stop Thanos — not made any easier by the characters being scattered all over the place. Characters are kept in the dark until the last minute when it was usually too late to do anything. They did a poor job of identifying some of the main baddies, too. I actually had to look up on the internet who some of them were, most notably Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian and Corvus Glaive. I think maybe I heard one name (Ebony Maw?) but the rest went unknown. Fans will probably be ok with that and be able to know who’s who. But the general audience and anyone else who hasn’t read the comics need to hear the names.
One of the most annoying things — and you find this in a lot of films — was there were multiple chances for someone to just cut his damn arm off and the Infinity Gauntlet with it that were missed either by characters being self-absorbed and not in the fight mentally or just plain stupidity (yeah, you Thor). The climax of the film never fully reaches that heart-pounding pitch you would expect…maybe because of all the uncertainties the Infinity Gauntlet brings. There is no denouement, the film just sort of “stops”. I also felt the music was a little generic for such a blockbuster and could have done much more to orchestrate the emotions of the audience in many scenes.
The body count may not be everything the fans have been lusting for…something I could never really grasp, wanting to see your heroes die. But with the nature of the Infinity Gauntlet, it’s hard to muster any true feelings of grief because we won’t really know who is actually gone until the end of next year’s Avengers 4.
What This Means For The Future:
Still, I was never bored, never felt myself wandering out of the movie mentally (except when the 3-year-old in front of me was playing with her cup). In the end, I think audiences are going to be quite pleased overall. And hopefully, we’ll have some surprises in store in Avengers 4 and not just another 2 1/2 hours of CGI battles. I’d like to see the characters come together and interact more with each other and devise a plan to defeat Thanos together. And if heroes fall, let it be meaningful and not like all the meaningless deaths that occurred in Thor Ragnarok. Remember the words that graced so many Marvel Comics covers: “Death Be Not Proud”. I know we will lose people…one of whom I’m quite sure happens in Infinity War. I’m sure the tears will be flowing at the end of Avengers 4. And, oh my stars and garters, we have another year to wait!!!!
Avengers Infinity War is now playing at a theatre near you. Go see it! ‘Nuff said!
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