Directed by: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Written by: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson
World-ending battles, small quibbles, and everything else have led to this moment that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has promised. All of the build-up that has led to the ultimate villain and the coalition of a team that needs to combine forces to protect the galaxy. Avengers: Infinity War begins the battle for the universe and does it well by delivering great set pieces and a bevy of character combinations.
Having already collected two of the Infinity Stones, Thanos (Josh Brolin) decides to move forward with his mission to bring balance back to the universe. In order to accomplish this quest, he must endure the fight from heroes all across the galaxy.
The buildup to this film can be categorized as unprecedented in my lifetime. With the new age of superhero domination at the box office, this film promised to be the biggest extravaganza of them all. If The Avengers brought a large collection of characters together, then just wait and see what Infinity War would bring. Similarly to the first Avengers team-up, the directors had their hands filled trying to balance screen time and tell a cohesive story, which they did well with some blunders, which would be expected with something this large.
With so many heroes that have demonstrated their powers through the course of other films, a villainous antagonist needed to be fearsome, which Josh Brolin delivered as Thanos. The character was made completely from computer-generated effects, but it looks quite good, especially with him having so much screen time in the narrative. It certainly helps that Brolin’s deep and powerful voice boomed and carried the dialogue of the character. Thanos lost his planet from overpopulation and thus wants to ensure that the rest of the universe does not follow the same fate, so he wants to collect all of the Infinity Stones, which would garner him the power to halve the entire world’s population.
This falls into the category of what I consider “good ideas but bad execution.” Any third-rate villain has it because it questions the motives of our heroes and their purpose in this fight. Thanos has a point about overpopulation and how it can have an adverse effect on a planet, but his execution has led him to want to kill billions if not trillions of life forms across the galaxy. Good idea but bad execution, which makes him a villain. An intention that could be easily pierced if any pressure was put upon it like why would he halve the population if he could just double the resources? The power of the Infinity Stones has no defined power, so I’m guessing that if Thanos thinks that if he wishes half of the population of each would perish then he could do the same for doubling resources? Let’s not get into it. Thanos makes for a strong villain in the story because of his plan, but also with just how formidable he seems when fighting our heroes.
Speaking of the heroes, they’re split into different groups because trying to navigate them all in the same place would be a pure nightmare. The main thread and connection occur within a few of the characters that really take on the spotlight. Most of the spotlight goes onto Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Thor, (Chris Hemsworth), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Vision (Paul Bettany), and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen). They each hold the most impactful moments of the film, but their stories feature the more important events of the plot and in the plan conjured up by Thanos. Some of their storylines really work like in the case of Stark, Parker, and Strange while others feel lackluster like with Thor, Vision, and Wanda.
The positives of this film include some great action sequences that allow for some fun collaboration between characters. These characters have had their own adventures in their own films and seeing them bump heads with each other provided plenty of comedy. One of the best ones came from Thor’s interactions with the Guardians, where Quill (Chris Pratt) tries to measure up to the God of Thunder. Even with many introductions happening and large groups of characters congregating some characters really shined and performed better than their own solo films.
One, in particular, sticks out the most and that would be Dr. Strange. Oh, I did not enjoy this character in his solo outing at all. It showed the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s lack of ideas with how they just copied and pasted Iron Man’s story for Strange. I found the character to be such an arrogant jerk within a story that made no logical narrative sense, but the material Strange was given in Infinity War really adjusted the way I look at this character. It shows the growth that he lacked in his own film and he delivered some key and pivotal scenes. Kudos to the creators of this film for doing much more with less screen time for that character.
Even with the fun toy-mashing sequences this film delivered, it had several moments where it fell short, like conjuring up romances and expecting them to carry weight in the story. That refers to Wanda and Vision and how the audience needs to believe in this romance with little buildup and then trying to make it one of the most emotional sequences in the entire film. This tactic was used in Age of Ultron with Romanoff and Banner to equally lackluster results. Tack on the utter waste of Captain America (Chris Evans) where he did so much heavy lifting by sporting that tremendous beard. It also showed that the creators behind the whole series did not have glowing faith in the best film of their series, Black Panther, where the big battle takes place in Wakanda but they give T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) almost nothing to do. They traded some dull time-wasting moments for actually utilizing great characters that have been developed well in previous films. Something that feels unavoidable, but they also did not need to include as many characters as they did. It was a cognizant choice and it did not always work well. Also, the ending feels incredibly cheap. Obviously, I will not get into that but I could not believe the insincerity of what they wanted to pull off.
Avengers: Infinity War ends in a very cheap way, but everything that occurs before it delivers in being the ultimate toy-mashing experience. It’s meant to be the same experience as a kid getting out all of his favorite action figures and making them fight. It provides some strong emotional moments and produces a film that has good rewatch value.