Avengers: Infinity War (2018) SPOILER Review

6:56 AM

Where will you be, when it all ends?
 Avengers: Infinity War is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Civil War). 10 years and 18 films ago, Marvel kickstarted its cinematic universe. Avengers: Infinity War is supposedly the beginning of the end. MCU veterans Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) have been tasked with writing the screenplay. "The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe". Among others, the cast includes Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes), Chris Hemsworth (Snow White and the Huntsman), Chris Evans (Gifted), Chris Pratt (Jurassic World), Scarlett Johansson (Lucy), Tom Holland (The Impossible) and Josh Brolin (Sicario). Fans have been waiting a decade for this film; will Avengers: Infinity War meet lofty expectations?

Simply put, Avengers: Infinity War does not disappoint. This film is arguably the biggest film of all time and I am happy to report that, not only will it be financially successful, but fans who have waited all these years for this moment are going to be delighted. This is one of Marvel's strongest films to date and is without-a-doubt their most epic. The 150-minute run-time flies by; Avengers: Infinity War is exciting, emotional and surprising. Some of my favourite characters were short-changed, but all in all, I had a great time watching Avengers: Infinity War and I urge everyone to see it as soon as possible (mainly to avoid spoilers). 

From this point onwards there will be SPOILERS so click off of this review if you have not seen the film yet. 

Avengers: Infinity War juggles possibly the most characters a film has ever had to juggle. This was always going to be a hurdle that writers Markus and McFeely were going to have to overcome but they orchestrated this story perfectly. It is easy to follow where each group of characters are and what their mission is. By including so many characters, the plot has to be quite simple; Thanos is trying to collect all of the Infinity Stones while the Avengers (and company) are trying to protect them. The narrative flows well. This really is quite an achievement for Markus, McFeely and the Russo Brother; they have been successful in telling a coherent and entertaining story that involves countless characters.

The film begins with Thor, Loki, and the Asgardians; Thanos has stopped and destroyed their escape ship. This scene actually foreshadows which characters are going to get the most screen-time as Avengers: Infinity War featured Thor and Thanos more than it did any of the other characters. Marvel promised consequences, and they deliver within the first 10 minutes as Loki is killed. Tom Hiddleston's performance here is quite impressive; it would have been easy for him to be quite campy and eccentric with his death, but it was actually a convincingly disturbing moment. Idris Elba's Heimdall also meets his end. This reminded the audience that the stakes are higher than they've ever been in an MCU film. 

I really liked Thor in this film. Coming hot off of the much loved Thor: Ragnorak, the character is in a completely new position as a fan favourite. It is so great to see Chris Hemsworth finally come into his own as the character; during his time as Thor he has been revealed to be a very good comedic actor, and once again he has some of the biggest laughs. I especially enjoyed his interactions with Starlord. Thor's powers have also evolved and he has never been cooler! Thor (and Hemsworth) is one of the highlights of Avengers: Infinity War; Hemsworth brings so much energy, likeability, and fun to the character. Thor's succinct summary of Ragnarok was brilliant! 

Thor spends a portion of the film with the Guardians of the Galaxy (and later just Rocket and Groot). I was surprised that the Guardians have quite a big role in the film. I was expecting an extended cameo but they actually featured more than Captain America and Black Widow! Aforementioned, Starlord's interactions with Thor were hilarious (Chris Pratt imitating Chris Hemsworth was very funny). James Gunn returned to write the lines for the Guardians which explains why the tone of the characters is the same as their solo films. It would have been easy for Markus and McFeely to reinterpret the characters, but thankfully Kevin Feige was never going to let that happen. Baby Groot has grown into Teen Groot and has some funny moments. Drax also gets some laughs but I did not find Mantis as funny this time around. This is not down to Pom Klementieff's performance, I just don't think her material was as strong. 

Gamora gets her own section. For me, this was the most shocking reveal. I did not expect Gamora to die; she was a staple of the Guardians of the Galaxy and (in the grand scheme of things) has not been around too long. That being said, Gamora gets the best send off out of anybody in the film. It is revealed that Gamora has a secret that she has been keeping from Thanos: she found the map to the soul stone but destroyed it. What Gamora does not realise is that Thanos is aware of this lie and forces her to take him to its location (Nebula is being tortured). Gamora's death was the most emotional because the film developed her relationship with her step-father (Thanos). We see the first meeting of Thanos and Gamora, as well as Thanos, losing/sacrificing her in this movie. There is a great mirror image of Thanos grabbing Gamora's hand as he sacrifices her that resembles when he grabbed her hand to 'save' her. I found this to be very poetic as well as emotional. If this is indeed Zoe Saldana's final time playing this character (you never know with Marvel), she gives her strongest performance as Gamora yet. The film didn't leave much time for Nebula or Starlord to grieve so I hope this is explored in the next film. As for Nebula, she does not have a big role at all but Karen Gillan does all she can with her limited screen-time (she's good!). 

There are a few characters in the film (most of whom being my favourites) who do not have a huge presence. I did find this disappointing...but this was the admittedly the only thing that disappointed me. Black Widow is the most one dimensional she has ever been. The same could be said for Captain America, Bucky, and Black Panther. Luckily for Feige, Markus, and McFeely, extensive character development has already been done in previous films that it did not feel necessary; the performances from Johansson, Evans, Boseman, and Stan were all strong enough to bring the minimal dialogue to life. Black Widow does have an impressive scene where she fights alongside Scarlett Witch and Okoye. Johnasson's line "she's not alone" was well delivered and quite powerful. It was a little irritating to see all of the female characters fighting against the sole villainess, Proxima Midnight while all the guys fight the other males. Captain America fans will be angered by the lack of Steve Rogers in this film; he truly has been sidelined. I can only hope that the tables will turn in the sequel and these characters will become more prominent (based on the ending, I think that is likely). Hawkeye and Ant-Man are completely absent from the film. While it was disappointing to see fan favourites pushed aside, it was also refreshing to see the smaller, supporting characters have larger roles.

Iron Man spends the film with Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Hulk...and then later Starlord and the gang. This was a good combination; the clash of egos between Tony, Stephen and Peter Quill was enjoyable to watch. Tony Stark has a near-death experience as Thanos states that he hopes the world remembers him but Doctor Strange saves him by sacrificing the time stone. I'm not too sure why he would do this other than this sacrifice being mandatory for the team to reach the lone successful outcome that Doctor Strange was able to foresee. Doctor Strange had a very large role, it was great to see more of his magic; I especially liked when he was able to create countless versions of himself. Spider-Man's constant pop culture references were fun; I'm really warming to Tom Holland's portrayal of the character. Hulk/Bruce Banner has an effective running joke about not being able to transform which is spread across the film.

The final battle on Wakanda is going to be remembered as an iconic sequence. Just like a third act should, the battle gradually gets bigger and the stakes get higher. Black Panther, Captain America, Black Widow and the warriors of Wakanda are all trying to defend the building where Shuri is extracting the mind stone from Vision (the final stone Thanos needs). This battle is exciting and thriller; whenever a character is alone fighting one of the Black Order, I was on the edge of my seat worrying about whether they would make it out alive. I should have been worried because when Thanos gets hold of the mind stone, with almost a click of the fingers, many characters die (or fade away because I'm sure they are going to return); we say goodbye to Bucky, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Wanda, Black Panther, Groot...the list goes on. This moment would have been more powerful if sequels to Black Panther, Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange weren't already being discussed but Marvel certainly proved that they are not afraid to remove key characters. The film's final scene sees Thanos living peacefully, he has achieved his goal. I can't wait until this time next year to get answers. The Russo Brothers, I have questions for you.

Finally, let's talk about Thanos and the Black Order. Not only is this the first Marvel film where there are genuine stakes and consequences for the characters, this is the first time where Marvel nails the villain. Thanos has been hyped for years and unlike Ultron, he was worth waiting for. While all of the other characters (aside from Gamora) get no character development, we find out about Thanos' relationship with his step-daughter, how his planet was destroyed and what his motivations are. I'll admit that I found his motivations slightly confusing but I think this was because it was 2am and my brain was not 100% awake. Visually, Thanos looks great and Josh Brolin delivers a terrific performance. Brolin IS Thanos; I always think 'IS' is the best compliment you can give any actor in a superhero film. The Black Order are cardboard cutout villains but they serve their purpose.

This is the most ambitious superhero film ever made. The Russo Brothers successfully pull off the impossible. Not only is this by far the most entertaining, thrilling and surprising Avengers film, it is one of the best films in the entire MCU; a re-watch is necessary to confirm its positioning. Avengers: Infinity War is packed full of surprises that are going to excite and shock fans. The film ends on a note that leaves you wanting more (like right now!). It's action-packed and funny. A film like this shouldn't work, it should be convoluted and messy but everything is perfectly arranged to fit together. The whole cast impresses, most of which continue to reprise their career-defining roles. The visual effects are strong. It may feel like the MCU will go on for infinity (trust me, it probably will) but Avengers: Infinity War begins the send-off of these beloved group of characters in the most entertaining film of the year yet, and I don't think any film can beat it. The perfect blockbuster.


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