A Fantastic Culmination of 10 Years Worth of Work
After 10 years, 18 movies and nearly 15 billion dollars taken in worldwide box office revenue, all of this hard work has been building toward Avengers: Infinity War and more specifically, fighting Thanos (Josh Brolin). Out of all the movies that have come before in this expansive cinematic universe, Infinity War is the first that truly feels like a comic book brought to life. Every high-stake fight plays into the bigger picture and whether it be the opening skirmish between Thanos and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) or a battlefield-spanning epic to protect one of their own, Infinity War is a beautifully balanced superhero film and a perfect way to reward fans that have stuck with the franchise over the years.
The story opens right at the heart of the action on board the Asgardian Ship housing characters from the after-credit scene at the end of Thor: Ragnorak. After a brief skirmish that sees Thanos brush aside Hulk and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) like they were playthings, it’s revealed that this unimaginably powerful being is after the Infinity Stones to become the most dominant being in the Universe. While the heroes on Earth and across the void of space join up in a bid to stop Thanos and his children from collecting all the stones, the future of the universe itself hangs in the balance as a desperate struggle for humanity begins.
In recent years Marvel have been lamented for their incessant need to turn their films into slapstick comedies and destroy any tension and although there is still some misplaced comedy here, there’s a far better balance between high stake drama and goofball jokes than before. Thor and Bruce Banner still manage to fall victim to the comedy effect though and their characters are effectively reduced to walking joke books for vast periods of the film.
With so many characters to juggle and, as expected, little characterisation for the main cast, it’s surprising then that Thanos is given a very convincing and sympathetic arc to make him one of the best villains in the Marvel Universe. His reasoning behind wanting to commit mass genocide makes sense on an extreme level of rationale making it somewhat easier to understand why he’s doing what he’s doing without having him become a caricature, paper-thin villain. His revealed connection to one hero in particular is really well written too and helps give his character some much needed humanity to help sympathise with his struggle.
All the other characters have a good amount of screen time too although Captain America (Chris Evans) is surprisingly lacking in both screen time and dialogue, despite being such a crucial part of the squad. Infinity War does manage to come up with a pretty decent solution to the sheer number of characters on screen by splitting the group into three smaller ones, each with their own subplots and action scenes. It’s a smart move too and one that manages to balance out the screen time, showcase the new abilities and upgrades for the characters as well as emphasising the frightening power of Thanos himself.
It’s worth noting that Infinity War is essentially the first part of a story spanning across two films. Although Marvel have already stated the two films will work as stand alone titles, there’s just far too many unresolved plot points here to make this a stand-alone film, despite the satisfying story arc that plays out in this film. The follow-up film to this will almost certainly follow on from the shocking climax to this one too further questioning why they didn’t just stick with the original title of Infinity War: Part 1. There’s more than enough action here too in a film that breathlessly jumps from one major action set piece to the next. Every fight is perfectly choreographed and there’s a great variety of fights here. One on one skirmishes, a frantic 6 on 1 scramble and even an epic battlefield fight with countless disposable enemies are all shown off to impressive effect. Unlike some of the other Marvel films, all of the fights here serve a specific purpose for the overall plot and never feel like set dressing.
Avengers: Infinity War isn’t perfect; a questionable ending and some misplaced comedy do take the shine off what’s otherwise an enjoyable, well written superhero film. With so many characters to juggle and a run time of around 2 and a half hours, Marvel do a great job telling a convincing story rife with tension, high-stakes and well written comedy without ever feeling like its dragged on for too long. Infinity War truly feels like a comic book brought to life and is almost certainly going to be one of Marvel’s biggest films and possibly one of the highest grossing in the studio’s history. After 8 years of building the various characters and worlds showcased here, Infinity War deserves a lot of praise for what it’s achieved in what’s arguably one of the best superhero movies ever released.
Verdict - 9.5/10