500 Days Of Film Reviews Avengers: Infinity War
As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality.
Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.
Is It Any Good?
There was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation in my screening of Avengers: Infinity War. This, the very definition of an event movie, is the film we have been waiting for. My heart was racing as the story began. Could it possibly live up to our expectations?
I wanted so much from Avengers: Infinity War. For example, I wanted all of its characters - superheros we have grown to know and love - to get a chance to shine. I wanted real (yes, even fatal) stakes and a compelling and formidable villain.
Meanwhile, I wanted an effective balance between comedy and drama - between flippant gags and real emotion. Oh, and I also wanted a series of satisfying and exhilarating action set pieces.
No pressure, then.
Working their magic once again, the Russo brothers have created the film that we had all dared to hope for - meeting and, in many respects, exceeding our expectations. There are exhilarating action scenes, emotionally satisfying (and devastating) moments, hilarious encounters, shocks and twists.
Avengers: Infinity War delivers… and then some.
Over ten years and 18 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has followed the stories of a host of exciting and intriguing characters. Some (including Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Loki and Natasha Romanoff) now feel like old friends. Others (such as T'Challa, Shuri and Okoye) are exciting new acquaintances.
There has never been any issue with the development of its heros. However, Marvel has had more of a problem with its villains. They are (to greater and lesser degrees) usually the least interesting aspects of the MCU movies.
It was crucial, therefore, for this 19th film in the franchise to create a truly formidable baddie - someone who could stand up to and threaten the Avengers. In short, we needed stakes - even if that meant losing some of our most beloved characters.
Enter Thanos - a huge, bald purple man with a rather distracting chin. He shouldn’t work but, thanks to Josh Brolin’s stellar performance (bringing gravitas to exposition) and some superb CG, he absolutely does.
The Russo brothers have described Avengers: Infinity War as Thanos’s story and they certainly give him the time and space to dominate this film. Unlike almost every MCU villain (apart from Loki), he develops into a three-dimensional character. In cosmic and intimate scenes, we get to know him and (terrifyingly) understand his reasons for collecting the Infinity Stones.
Indeed, from the film’s very opening moments, Thanos delivers on his promise. All bets are off and the stakes are higher than they have ever been before.
At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, as I sat and watched the credits, the scope of the film’s impressive cast really hit home. There is an overabundance of superb characters (and, of course, actors) in this movie - something that has been the undoing of many a film.
However, the Russo brothers (alongside screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) keep a tight grip on their cast. We always know where each hero is at any given time and, while some have more screen attention than others, every character has their moment.
There is also real joy to be had in watching familiar characters in different locations with newfound company. As our superheros reconnect and meet new allies, their introductions and entertaining banter are special moments of well earned genius.
Marvel movies range from Shakespearean drama to brilliantly silly comedy. The challenge for the Russo brothers, therefore, was to assimilate all of the MCU tones into one film while keeping true to the character of each of the stories.
Given the real and emotional stakes in this film, it is extremely impressive to watch as drama and comedy come together to form a perfect balance. While I felt gripped by the story (tense to the point of exhaustion), I also laughed - a lot.
Avengers: Infinity War is a blast - the humour of The Guardians and Thor mixing beautifully with snark from the likes of Stark and Shuri. Even earnest Steve Rogers gets a (future classic) laugh out loud moment.
Hats off to the Russo brothers. They set themselves a gigantic task in Avengers: Infinity War and (thankfully) have delivered on the promise of the story, the potential of Thanos and the expectations of fans and critics alike.
As the film came to an end, I was left reeling by all that I had seen. What had just happened? What did it all mean going forward? We’ll be discussing this film for quite some time I feel. As a result, I do have one criticism of Avengers: Infinity War. I really don’t want to wait a year to see what happens next.
As is tradition, Avengers: Infinity War has one post credit scene and it is worth waiting for.
This is a film that needs to be watched on the biggest screen possible - and more than once.
Have you seen Avengers: Infinity War?
If you have, what did you think of this movie? Let me know in the comments section below or let’s chat over on Twitter. You can find me @500DaysOfFilm.