As the 19th movie in the massively successful, both critically and commercially, Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Avengers: Infinity War had a lot of legs to stand on. This was the movie that was touted to be bringing 10 years of intertwining storylines and multiple sets of major and supporting characters to a head against a common enemy. After watching the film and giving myself 48 hours to digest it mentally and emotionally, I have to say… they did it.
I can only imagine the stress that must of been on that staff and cast as they were pitching this movie. In the comics, where the basis of this story stems from, it is easy to have a posse cut in a couple of issues. People can just be picked up and dropped into any setting and team up with any other hero (or villain for that matter). It doesn’t really work like that on the big screen, especially one so steamed in canon and ethos. But at the end of the day the Russo Brothers, Kevin Feige, James Gunn, Jon Favreau, and all the other members of the cinematic super team, made it work perfectly.
With a cast of upwards of 40 very different and diverse characters, the fact that each character is given their own time to shine, whether it be the opening salvo with Thanos vs the Thor, Loki, Hulk and Heimdall, or the great team-up shot of Scarlet Witch, Okoye, and Black Widow vs Proxima Midnight. Most, if not all the characters are given a significant arc, a reason to care, and a reason to be where they are in the ultimate fight.
I love the idea that the screenplay crew had of splitting our heroes into two teams fighting on different fronts, on different planets, for the same cause because it shows the depth of just how far Thanosʼ reach is. Speaking of Thanos, he is the blueprint of a successful villain. Like Killmonger before in Black Panther, Marvels last outing, he is a villain that we can look at and see their intentions and understand their motives up until a point no return. We can all look at him and sympathize with him and his cause.
The movie comes to a head with one of the most emotional gut punches of recent memory. It draws the breath out the viewer by switching to a mixture of slow motion sequences and close ups on pairs of characters as they perform their final stand. The stakes are continually raised and raised and after a momentary figment of victory the hearts and souls of the everyone involved, somewhat literally, are crushed as the rug is pulled out from under us.
All in all, as great of a movie-going experience as this was, as record-breakingly successful at the box office as it was, it was just off the mark of what I would call a “perfect” movie. There were most definitely some gripes I had with the film, mostly nit-picks from the mind of a die-hard comic reader, but some that were indeed just.
I feel like after letting the spell it cast on me wear off I noticed little things I wasn’t really all that happy about, including, for example, Tony Stark and Dr. Strange deciding to go to Thanos’ planet, Titan, the question of why Captain Marvel wasn’t alerted from the beginning of Thanos’ attack, the, at times, overall comedic elements, especially from a character like Drax, who in the comics is a pretty straight character, and not straight for sake of laughs like portrayed in this film and the Guardians films. Now don’t get me wrong I love Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, I just felt like after saying for two whole movies that Drax’s sole purpose in life was to destroy Thanos for killing his family, to give him a bunch of comedic moments and when he finally faces Thanos to get basically waved off was a waste, I feel the same could be said about Nebula, but at least she gets somewhat redeemed in the penultimate battle with Thanos.
A huge precedent has been set by Feige and his team as they successfully managed to recruit the least expected directors, to bring the least renowned characters to the big screen, portrayed by some of the most surprising and least expected actors/actresses (at the time of casting), connect 18 different narrative arcs, and not only make a great film, but continue to expand and spread the narrative with this huge leap forward. This film caps off 10 years of cinematic innovation and I look forward to what is coming in the next 10 years, and the 10 after that.
Final Score: 9/10