Blimey, this is a big one. (That’s what she said)
So, here we are, ten years of ups and downs have led us directly to this film right here: Avengers: Infinity War.
If you’ve been reading my posts lately you’ll know that I’ve been reliving the first two phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (why not go check them out if you haven’t already) and it was sort of leading up to this. My original plan was to have done both phases’ retrospectives BEFORE Infinity War’s release, and this to follow soon after, unfortunately life, and a few well-timed university deadlines, put an end to those plans, so here it is now. Better late than never I suppose.
After years of anticipation, Thanos finally puts his plan to collect all the Infinity Stones into action. Along the way he faces resistance from heroes of all sizes.
Well… this is going to be tough.
Leaving the cinema after the first viewing of this film (for there have been multiple viewings) I was genuinely speechless, Every minute of the two-and-a-half-hours I’d just watched was replaying in my head, every moment, every turning point and every battle, and that tells you more than any words ever will.
As stated, this was the culmination of a decades work for Marvel, something that was work-shopped and planned meticulously, probably down to the last second. So, they had a lot of weight on their shoulders to knock it out of the park after this much anticipation. Well, mission accomplished Marvel.
A good starting point in going over the film is Thanos. It’s strange to think that the first time we saw Thanos was six years ago, when the MCU stretched before us like an empty motorway, we had no clue as to the twists and turns to come. For all criticism levelled at Marvel for weak villains, they really pulled through right at the end to give us a villain for the ages.
Thanos is the best type of villain, in that he genuinely believes what he’s doing is for the greater good, and in a warped way his reasons for what he does are true, he just goes about them in a way which makes him the villain. His motivations are clear-cut, he doesn’t have a complex master-plan, everything is clear for him and he truly believes in his cause, making him an enthralling watch, every time he graces the screen, there is a feeling of magnetism, putting the audience on tenterhooks in anticipation of what he’ll do next, and furthermore, everything he does has a reason, he’s clinical and driven, you know what his aims are with little to no grandstanding.
One of my main concerns for this film, and all films like it is, is how they share out the screen-time. With all the heroes in the mix, it would have been easy for characters to be fighting for screen-time, happily though, that isn’t the case here. The story is split into segments in different places, putting certain heroes in certain places, creating smaller pockets of teams who can easily share the screen together, that isn’t to say the movie is thin on the ground in the epic battle department, because it certainly isn’t.
One of the movies greatest strengths is its extraordinary battle and fight sequences. Again, a lesser writing would have piled action into one section where it is over-flowing with meaningless action and thin on the ground elsewhere, but here, they are spread evenly through the movie, allowing the story time to breathe in-between. For a film with a two-and-a-half-hour run-time, the action to story ratio is perfectly balanced, it is not all epic fights, but moments of character development too, smaller stories running underneath the main narrative that give different characters different motivations in the fight with Thanos. They exhibit a spark and polish that can only be the product of director’s at the top of their game.
It is likely that there hasn’t been an assembled cast with more talent than in this film. Starring the likes of Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, to go over every performance would make this review the length of a novel s I’m going to pick out a few people I felt stood out.
Firstly, there’s Tom Holland. With each passing film, I feel he comes into his own more and more as Spider-Man, this film was probably where he ascended to the title of my favourite incarnation of the character. He’s charming, fun and yet, so serious when needed, it’s like someone created the perfect Peter Parker in a laboratory, and Tom Holland is the result.
Then there’s Chris Pratt and the Guardians, there was a risk that the tone of the Guardians would clash with the general tone of the other Avengers, this was helped by the Avengers they chose to partner with the Guardians in their particular struggle, but the character of Star-Lord in particular sees some great character moments in this film. I said in my Phase Two retrospective that Chris Pratt and Robert Downey Jr seem to be competing for the ‘most charismatic man in the MCU’ and we see further evidence of this here.
Finally, and to sum up several people at once, Benedict Cumberbatch was by much, much more interesting here than in his own film, and shows why he is a perfect fit for Doctor Strange. Chadwick Boseman was once again fantastic as the Black Panther, it hasn’t been long since we last saw T’Challa, but it’s always a pleasure to see him. Elsewhere there’s stellar performances from: Robert Downey Jr, Dave Bautista, Chris Evans, Pom Klementieff, Mark Ruffalo and, of course, Josh Brolin as Thanos himself.
It is incredibly difficult to review a film such as Infinity War, as nothing I can say in the grand scheme of things would ever matter, it’s made more money than most filmmaker’s will ever dream of and it’s adored by the fan-base on a never-before-seen scale. Yet on the other hand, it’s very liberating, knowing that nothing I could ever say would affect anyone in the slightest (not that it would anyway). All that being said I am so happy that I enjoyed this film as much as I did, it’s everything we could ever expect from a film of its scale and then-some, and more importantly, it’s made watching every Marvel film leading up to it totally, totally worth it.