Movie Review - Avengers: Infinity War
This is what pisses me off.
You had every chance, Warner Brothers…you really did. You remember that time you beat Marvel to the punch and brought out a superheroine? Remember all the critical praise and box office that brought you? If you’d left Justice League alone, let it be two parts and let Zack Snyder just do it…you COULD have done something this AWESOME and done it BEFORE Marvel. But no. You had absolutely ZERO BALLS.
[Hey! Hey! Put the DC Fanboy back in the cage or I swear you get the hose…AGAIN! – Ed.]
Okay, you’re here for Avengers: Infinity War…so let’s start simple.
A truly successful villain believes that he (or she) is the hero (heroine) of their own story. If you watch enough behind the scenes featurettes, you’re gonna hear that one a few times…but so few movies actually deliver on that, at least, not from the audience’s perspective. Sure, that might be what the actor playing the antagonist might use to get into character but superhero movies, particularly Marvel’s, have had a big problem effectively conveying this on screen.
Not this time.
In fact, I’d go so far to say that this isn’t an Avengers movie at all. Sure, they’re all in it (or a very great deal of them) and some of the characters, Thor and Gamora in particular, have satisfying character arcs in the film…but none of them are the main character of this film. No, that honor goes to Thanos. This film could have honestly been called Thanos Quest, ,much like the comic book limited series where Thanos tracks down the then Infinity Gems…because that’s the story here: Thanos in his quest to bring balance to the universe…by wiping out half of it…seeks out the Infinity Stones to achieve that end. The assembled Marvel Universe stands against him…and in some ways, they kind of do serve as the antagonists of the film. They are the guardians that Thanos must overcome to achieve his goal…and that goal comes at a heavy cost to him.
At this point, I have to say that Thanos is probably my favorite Marvel villain…and as for the Infinity Gauntlet…the crossover comic limited series this film is based on…well, very few comic book stories had me on the edge of my seat awaiting every single chapter like this one did. So to say that I was a little protective here wouldn’t be much of an understatement. I was VERY close to becoming a stereotypical nerd on this one…more inclined to believe that they’d be more prone to ruin one of my favorite stories that having faith that they’d do it justice. The stills that we got of Thanos prior to this release didn’t help matters any. But no, Thanos turned out great and Josh Brolin’s performance just knocked this right out of the park. Those reviews that you may have read saying that Thanos is the best villain Marvel has put to screen…yeah, I think they’re right. Loki in some ways took multiple movies…and while yes, we’ve seen Thanos in the Marvel films before, he wasn’t so much a character as a shadow that loomed. And, like I said, here he’s the main character…and this movie DOES NOT succeed unless he’s three-dimensional and we can see where he’s coming from. This film captures that perfectly.
That’s not to sell the remaining performances short. Everyone here, and there are certainly some surprises that I DEFINITELY won’t spoil in this review, does a great job with what they’re given to do. I’ve seen some reviews criticize the fact that this movie uses a mechanic that has been used most notably in the original Star Wars movies…and by that I mean that everyone breaks off into groups and goes on their own particular adventure. Since I invoked the Holy Trilogy, you can see where I didn’t have any problem with this…as each side quest proved to be entertaining. Not only that, but the best part of this narrative technique is that when everyone does get back together…which looks like it’s going to wait until the still untitled Avengers 4…it will signify that shit is about to get REAL. Mind you, for the entirety of this movie, shit has gotten REAL…and so when that reunification happens…you wanna talk about the cinematic definition of EPIC? That’ll be it.
That’s the thing, this film oozes that EPIC feel. What was teased at in the trailers with the battle in Wakanda is more than lived up to. And kudos to Marvel and all those involved in bringing this to life. I’d been lamenting the diminishing amount of cinematic epics in the multiplexes these days and sure, this one film doesn’t solve that problem [Justice Leage? Warner Brothers? Yeah, we’re looking at YOU. – Ed.], but damn…it nearly solves it singlehandedly.
We should talk about the deaths…but we’re not. It’s too spoilery. But there’s a pretty sizable death toll here…some that weren’t too surprising but a few that were REALLY surprising. Of course, with the Time Stone being part of the Gauntlet, you can’t help but wonder which of these deaths are going to stick…but there are certainly a few of them that you know there’s no coming back from…and one that I’m really hoping that there is!
Now, with as great as Thanos and 90% of the computer effects looked in the film, I have to admit the only negative I can think of with this film is the other 10%...and these were the moments whenever there were scenes calling for a melding of Stark Armor (Iron Man, War Machine, Hulkbuster Armor) and the human wearing it…say, like Rhodey taking his helmet off as War Machine. That looked BAD. I mean, Green Lantern 2011 CG costume bad. It doesn’t happen a lot…but there’s a scene near the end that…woof…that needed to be left in the render a bit more.
Lastly, there’s the usual Marvel humor. It’s not a deal-breaker here, but just as I criticized WB/DC not having any balls, I wish Marvel would have the confidence to leave some of them behind. I understand the sentiment that they should be there to offset the darkness…and with your villain as your main character, you can bet that this is a darker film…but sometimes, you’ve gotta play it serious to REALLY emphasize the threat our heroes are facing.
Oh…okay, one last thing…for real. Alan Silvestri’s score to the film deserves its own special shout-out. This doesn’t just serve as an example all future composers for Marvel films should strive toward but for ANY composer working in the Superhero genre. He’s mindful and utilizes what few actual themes have come from other composers of the series and sews them together in a wonderful orchestral tapestry without resorting to a single goddamn BRAAAAAAAAAAMMMMM!
If you’ve kept up with the Marvel films, Avengers: Infinity War is the start of a nearly perfect culmination of the series. It is everything you could’ve hoped for and pulls off a fair number of feats that, prior to its release, many lesser movie studios would’ve thought were impossible to pull off. To Marvel’s credit, time and again they show that commitment to the story and faith in the characters will pay off in spades…and not surprisingly, they do it again here. If you’re coming into the Universe fresh or with only a few of the movies under your belt…then this one might be a little intimidating, but most of what you need to do your homework is out there. Depending on how much time you have, here are the movies I’d suggest making sure you have under your belt before going in to this one: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron (although it’s ultimately disappointing), Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming (mainly for the Parker/Stark relationship), Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther. If you’re really short on time: Avengers, Guardians, Age of Ultron, Civil War, Ragnarok and Black Panther. I don’t think I can whittle it down any further. For a film this good though, it’s worth doing your homework! But enough reading…go see the damn movie…NOW!