Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War ★★★★½

Welcome, one and all, to my 300th review! After reviewing DC movies for my previous two milestones, I figured it’s only fair we do a Marvel movie for this occasion. And I can’t think of a better subject than quite possibly the biggest blockbuster of 2018 – a movie which is a milestone itself. Once again, thank you to everyone who has been following me from the beginning as well as to all newcomers! And now, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Avengers: Infinity War picks up directly after Thor: Ragnarok – Thanos is on the hunt for the six Infinity Stones that have been built up and alluded to throughout all movies in the MCU and after slaughtering what’s left of Asgard and leaving Thor for dead, the Mad Titan sets out to collect the remaining Stones and achieve his ultimate goal – bringing balance to the Universe by eliminating half its population. It’s now up to all our favorite heroes to put their differences aside and band together once again to stop him.

This movie is the answer to every single problem I had with Justice League – to the point that when I first saw it, I told my friends that DC should just throw in the towel because Marvel have already won. Of course, I’m only half serious on that – the trailers to Aquaman and Shazam look pretty promising and I’m definitely gonna check them out along with the Wonder Woman sequel. But I digress. Let’s keep the focus where it should be. Infinity War lives up to all the hype and build-up from the last 10 years and then some. It’s the perfect payoff to the huge and sprawling storyline that Kevin Feige and his team have been weaving since 2008; it truly feels like we’re watching an event comic coming to life on the big screen. I really have to give kudos to writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for the way they structured this movie, which is very similar to chapters in a book – you can tell when one chapter ends and the next begins. The film is also really well-paced and never once does it get boring – at least not for me, I can definitely see some people having issues with certain parts of this movie.

Now let’s talk about the cast and the characters. Really, what else can I say at this point – the acting from everyone involved is really good and they own these roles. The filmmakers also rectify certain missteps with some characters’ portrayals in some of the previous movies. After his really hit-and-miss representation in Ragnarok, in this movie Thor is back to the noble albeit a little brash and cocky warrior we all know and love, and his humor is actually funny this time around. He also carries a lot of emotional baggage, having witnessed the death of his people and Loki at the hands of Thanos and the Black Order at the start of the film, and his heart-to-heart moments with Rocket are really well done. While Tom Holland’s Spider-Man could still use some work, he’s no longer the incompetent and whiny jackass that he was in Homecoming and with just one line – “What’s the point of being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man if there’s no neighborhood?” – he made up for the sins of the past. Teaming up Doctor Strange and Iron Man was also a stroke of genius – not only do we have a classic science-versus-magic contest, but we get to see two Sherlock Holmeses duke it out with their egos. There’s also a rather sweet romance between Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision. But by far the majority of this film’s heart lies in the scenes with Gamora and Thanos, played by a perfectly cast Josh Brolin. I honestly can’t imagine anyone doing the role better than Brolin. Not only is his motion capture work really good, but he just has a voice worthy of Thanos. The way they portrayed Thanos was easily the biggest and most pleasant surprise to me, as his motivations are interesting and you can understand where he’s coming from. He reminds me of the villain from Dan Brown’s Inferno (and I’m talking about the book, I haven’t seen the movie), Bertrand Zobrist, to be honest. Not to mention that it’s a surprisingly relevant topic – overpopulation and the exhaustion of resources are very real issues and while we may not approve of Thanos’ methods, it’s difficult not to admit that he makes a very good point, especially when he talks about the past. That’s a much more interesting motivation for gathering the Infinity Stones and reshaping the Universe as opposed to trying to impress Death and score a date with her. No disrespect to the original Infinity Gauntlet comic, but even by comic book standards this is really silly. His conflicted and tumultuous relationship with Gamora is another major highlight of the film and will definitely tug at your heartstrings. The movie also earns some major bonus points for Peter Dinklage as a giant temperamental space dwarf who lives and works in a remote space forge. Now that is the type of awesome comic book silliness that I can get behind.

As for the technical side of things, pretty much everything about this movie screams perfection. The attention to detail and continuity is amazing. Bringing back Red Skull and revealing his ultimate fate after Captain America: The First Avenger was another really pleasant surprise. The movie also deserves to be at least nominated for Best Visual Effects. Remember how fake Steppenwolf looked in Justice League? Not the case here. Thanos’ Black Order, especially the huge hulking guy actually look like they’re really there and the locations look really beautiful, aided in no small part by the great background colors in a lot of them, especially Vormir, Titan and that red-tinted limbo scene between Thanos and little Gamora towards the end. Unlike Justice League, this movie is very appealing from a visual standpoint. There’s also Tony’s nano-tech Iron Man suit. This is how they should’ve done Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern uniform. Also, Doctor Strange using his multiplication power gave me a fangasm. I first saw that moment way back in the day on an episode of the 1994 Spider-Man cartoon and seeing it done in live action, on the big screen, made me unbelievably happy. As for the action sequences, all of them are badass, creative and beautifully shot. I first saw this movie in IMAX and the scene where Spidey and Iron Man fly up to the Black Order’s ship made me feel like I really was that high up. I also have to commend the Russos for dropping the shaky cam in this movie. Not that it was badly done in Winter Soldier and Civil War, but it really wouldn’t have flown here, considering how epic a lot of them are, especially the battle in Wakanda. The only thing that would’ve made it even more epic is if Led Zeppelin’s "Immigrant Song" started playing when Thor, Rocket and Groot joined the fight. The music by Alan Silvestri is also really good. Lastly, of course, there’s the brilliant and rightfully praised use of silence at the end, after Thanos snaps his fingers. It’s really chilling, not unlike the Angel of Death scene from Prince of Egypt which also showed a great use of silence.

With all that said, is the movie perfect? No, some characters didn’t get as much screen time as they should have, especially Captain America who has a total of maybe 5 lines in the whole movie, give or take a couple. Also, Bruce and Natasha should’ve had a better reunion moment and Hulk should’ve returned at the end, albeit briefly. Aside from that, though, Avengers: Infinity War is everything that it should’ve been and more. The action and story are awesome and engaging, the villain is great, the acting is solid and it’s one of the best movies in the MCU overall – Top 10 easily. I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing where all this will lead in Avengers 4. For now, though, all I can say is: well done, Russos, well done, Mr. Feige, well done, Mr. Markus and Mr. McFeely, and well done to the talented and dedicated cast and crew of this movie! Happy 10th anniversary, Marvel Cinematic Universe! You may have had a few hiccups along the way, but the journey was worth it.

Next time, we are going to honor a recently departed major Hollywood talent. Thank you all once again for sticking with me for 300 reviews and stay tuned!

P.S. Remember Apollo Creed’s fight with Ivan Drago in Rocky IV? If Apollo is Justice League, Drago is Avengers: Infinity War.

D liked these reviews