Avengers: Infinity War – Spoiler Free Review

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Posted April 29, 2018 by Alden Diaz in Movies

“There was an idea…”

Avengers: Infinity War is, by sheer virtue of its concept and goals, a film unlike no other and a project with ambitions that you could certainly qualify as, well, infinite. It is an event that stretches back ten years (well, six if you’re being particular about some things), and the odds were certainly stacked against Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and now famed directors, Joe & Anthony Russo. But I’ll begin my review of this film by saying this: I’ve given myself some time to process this film, and I can’t find a good reason to shake this simple conclusion: They did it. They actually did it.

 

Throughout the course of the two and a half hour comic book extravaganza, the concept of “balancing the universe” permeates the story and layers every single moment with an impending sense of dread. The stakes are higher in this film than they’ve ever been in any Marvel Studios production, and even the most comedic of the colorful ensembles sells this beautifully. Sure, there’s a strong dose of the signature Marvel comedy with the quips and gags you’ve come to love, but they’re integrated into dramatic scenarios more than they ever have before. And a lot of that comes down to the performances of the cast. When examining the work of the more dramatic players like Zoe Saldana, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, and Benedict Cumberbatch, it’s evident that they’re owning their characters more and more over time. Cumberbatch in particular really seems immersed in his role as the future Sorcerer Supreme. But it’s the comedic players that stood out to me in this one because of the way they collaborated with the Russos in reigning in their joyous and goofy natures. Characters like Peter Quill, played by the always charming Chris Pratt, hit new personal lows in this film that played well without feeling like they deviated at all from James Gunn’s vision. The moments of levity each feel like breaths of glorious air after being held down under, because overall this film is a heavy piece. Of course, it isn’t going to be the character piece drama like Logan or The Dark Knight, but it is more certainly a mixture of tones on the level of The Empire Strikes Back (you know, that “really old movie” that Spider-Man likes).

 

 

Now with all of that said, when I as a film goer and a lover of the Marvel universe considered the actions that these characters were taking, I realized that it was indeed, as Thanos says in one of his chilling scenes, “perfectly balanced, as all things should be.” In this film the Russos have us moving at a rapid pace as we check in with the different heroes that have dazzled us over the past decade. And unlike the Russo’s previous effort with Captain America: Civil War, this film includes both the Earth based Avengers characters and the rowdy and whimsical Guardians of the Galaxy. And amazingly enough, you never feel like you lose anyone. In both the fantastically directed action scenes and the extremely well performed dialogue scenes, everyone’s storylines contribute to that mix of tones I mentioned above. It’s a film that’s trying to be so many things but somehow never feels like it even has a chance of being the catastrophic mess that it definitely could have been. This adventure is a sequel to almost every MCU film that’s come before it. And while that could easily pose a problem for anyone that’s entering the universe on this installment, though I can’t imagine what would make you want to, it weaves in rewards for the people that helped support the brand when it was a gamble. Now, with all of that in one film, it does mean that some characters are nothing more than supporting players in this film. I could see some people being disappointed that their favorite character doesn’t get an arc or character development in the film. It is true without a doubt that the film does feel like a series of third acts, relentlessly using most of the characters as they’ve been established rather than taking them into new directions. Very few people change here, unless becoming terrified is a change. But overall, the promise of more provides hope for lots of the supporting cast members and it’s a small price to pay for what is truly the first comic book event caliber film. If Joss Whedon gave us the first crossover mini-series, then the Russos have delivered on the first sweeping event (except you don’t have to buy tie-ins so that’s good). And the price to pay for that feels even smaller when you consider the true lead character of the film: Thanos.

 

 

Josh Brolin’s Thanos is certainly a departure from the Death-obsessed comic book counterpart. That’s undeniable. However, I found myself absolutely captivated by the characterization and performance. He, in my estimation, is the baddest, most unsettling villain in the MCU. There’s a scene in the third act where his arrival at a location made me audibly drop an obscenity. That’s never happened before in any of my superhero watching experiences. His motivations are wonderfully (or disgustingly) fleshed out and like Killmonger in February’s Black Panther, I found myself saying “Well…I can SEE that point.” Not that I agree with it. I mean I’d find much more creative uses for the Infinity Stones than destruction, I assure you. But so does Thanos, believe me. The filmmakers definitely “let him have his fun” (a line you’ll get when you see it). He’s as theatrical as he is angry, and as powerful as he is sickeningly honorable. And by the end, I firmly understood that the brand had reached new ground with this character.

Overall, this film is the definition of blockbuster cinema electrically fused with the weight of seeing bad things happening to our friends. From the visuals to the jokes, it plays like an epic. And it made me leave the theater grasping to replay every single scene in my mind. It’s one of the best films that Marvel has ever made, and it feels like the beginning of a devastating end for this era. I can’t recommend this film more. It was nice to be surprised again, and nice to feel like I myself could use the Time Stone to high five my 12 year old self back in ‘08. See this one as soon as possible.



Directed By: Joe & Anthony Russo | Written By: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

9.5

Final Score

9.5 /10

Pros

  • Excellent blending of tones.
  • Fantastic action direction with unique choices.
  • Incredible development for Thanos in such a short amount of time.
  • Feels like a proper sequel to all of the movies it follows.
  • Comedy is integrated better than in previous MCU films.

Cons

  • Fans might be disappointed at how little some characters get to develop.
  • Pacing and structure could definitely exhaust viewers.
  • Not all CG characters look as good as Thanos.



About the Author

Alden Diaz

Alden Diaz is a WTN writer whose roots go back to the site's two predecessors. So basically he has a seat on the Council AND the rank of Master? Right? He's a geek with lots of opinions on film, comics, TV, etc., a graduate of broadcasting school, a smark, and a shameless collector of Funko Pop figures. Ask him why pigs are the best animal.