Directed by The Russo Brothers
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and waaaay too many more…
The best way to describe the latest and biggest entry ever in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series is that it’s like watching someone lazy man load six bags of groceries from their car and try to gently dump them all at once on the kitchen table 20 yards away.
For the most part “Infinity War” sticks this landing remarkably well despite this but not without dropping at least a couple cans of peas along the way. The movie is so entertaining though that you’ll largely ignore some of the script’s short-comings and for what it’s worth this is easily a top five for this franchise and perhaps even its second best entry to date.
(Shouldn’t confuse anyone who number one still is right?)
“Infinity War” is the accumulation of ten years of relatively concrete set up to an often nail-biting climax that’ll leave most audience members shocked to say the least. Whether or not some or most of the consequences of this story end up permanent or not remain to be seen, especially when one of the characters is essentially wielding a Deus Ex Machina glove, but one thing is for sure, the future is at least intriguing for the MCU.
“Infinity War” follows the events of “Thor: Ragnarok” as Thanos, the Mad Titan, destroys all in his path in search of the remaining Infinity Stones to bring his ultimate goal of wiping out half of the Universe’s population to reality. Hulk is beamed to Earth to warn the Avengers of the coming tide of death as they set out to find Vision and protect the Mind Stone from falling into Thanos’ grasp. Meanwhile, Thor is saved by Peter Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy and sets off to build a new hammer he can use to stop the Mad Titan, while the others journey to retrieve the mind gem. Meanwhile Steve Rodgers and the denizens of Wakanda prepare to defend Vision from being taken, while Tony Stark and Peter Parker work together to find a way to stop Thanos from taking Doctor Strange’s own Time Stone.
There’s a lot of movie to digest here but to put things simply, despite the movie being a little bloated and too humorous in a few parts, “Infinity War” is a ton of fun and features many of its character’s at their best in this series while introducing one of comic books’ best villains to the big screen in a big way.
The pacing of the movie is great, never letting up from the opening minute, established a more dark and dreaded tone to the series than usual and making the two and half hour running time go by like the snap of Thanos’ big purple fingers.
Though some characters get pushed to the back of the line a bit in the script, everyone gets their “scene(s)” so to speak much like the previous two Avengers flicks which is remarkable given the number of costumed heroes we have here. It’s hard not to find yourself applauding each time a character makes their big entrance or moment on screen, like watching a WWE wrestler’s theme song getting queued up on the Titantron ,and if you’re not cheering with these heroes as they “kick names and take ass” you might be a little dead inside.
But the true hero…errr villain of the movie is Thanos played pitch perfectly by Josh Brolin. This is actually the first time in this series where a character felt perfectly portrayed to a T in comparison to the comics for me. This is not to say other actors and their portrayals haven’t been great or perfect too but simply that they often feel like their own versions or the MCU versions of the character. After watching this movie and rereading a bit of “Infinity Gauntlet” I found myself already reading Thanos’ panels in Brolin’s voice in much the same way I read all of Joker’s parts as Mark Hammil. He was that good.
For a character that looks like a giant purple thumb that’s been submerged in pool water a little too long Brolin’s Thanos is remarkably lifelike visually and complex thematically. The character is literally larger than life in the scenes he’s in and powers the narrative of the story perfectly while also beating the shit out of the heroes of the MCU.
(Accurate representation of what Thanos did to everyone.)
Brolin manages to make a giant CGI purple monster crying look sympathetic and it’s a credit to his talent (and the special effects team) that he was able to do that. “Black Panther’s” Killmonger may have been a more interesting and message driven character in “Black Panther” earlier this year but Thanos is something special too himself and by the next sequel’s end I’m sure he will have a place as one of the best comic book movie villain’s to date.
Visually though, as mentioned, this is a very pretty film as the CGI characters look perfectly rendered and do battle with our live action heroes in mostly realistic glory. The celestial worlds of Titan, Niðavellir and Knowhere look great cinematically and the new outfits certainly make for great new action figures as well. Action scenes are fun and well executed and it’ll make your inner child jump with joy.
(You can’t tell me you didn’t get at least a few goosebumps here)
Where “Inifinity War” comes up a bit short though is at times (please focus and don’t twist my words here) it can delve a little too deep into the realm of bathos again and border on self-parody in much the same way other MCU movies have done. A lot of the jokes in the film work just fine, in fact most of them are downright hilarious and executed perfectly but a few scenes drag on just a bit too long with the quips, like a bad “Family Guy” sketch, to the point I was laughing and rolling my eyes at the same time. The movies starts with so much tension and dread and while a few jokes were certainly welcome to break this up a bit at the start and give the audience a chance to breath, it eventually started to overdo it in parts leading to a near evaporation of that unease from of the intro.
Again, I get it, the MCU is the light-hearted one when it comes to the super hero genre but doesn’t mean the movie needs a joke in every other scene. The DCEU movies certainly suffer from taking themselves waaaay too seriously but there is such a thing as having the opposite of that problem and this movie comes close to that in a few scenes. I mean thank God Thanos is played pretty much 100 percent straight, as jokes are only ever directed at him not from him, or the movie would lose a lot of its grit and the character would become less menacing.
(Thanos isn’t here for your fart jokes…)
I’m not asking for the movie to become a pit of darkness like the DCEU(that would be awful) but simply to have a few more of the dramatic scenes in this movie be exactly that; just dramatic! No jokes! If it works for you that’s fine but for me personally, considering the movie’s run time is two and half hours, some of those jokes could’ve been cut to give my boy T’Challa some more lines is all I’m saying.
And narratively this is one issue that somewhat plagues this movie as with having so many characters there’s bound to be more than a few that miss the boat in terms of development. As mentioned if you really liked “Black Panther,” like me, you might not be happy to learn that T’Challa doesn’t have too many lines in this movie and for all the trailers that teased the hell out of Captain America’s return and his badass beard he sure doesn’t have a lot to say in this movie either (plenty of action pieces though). I recognize that these Avengers films are ultimately ensemble stories where the whole of the cast are the main character but it’s a shame that two pretty prominent characters get shafted a bit here.
(“So how big is your role in Infinity War, Mr. Evans?”)
These are all, in the end, pretty minor issues though. Yes, I could’ve done with less jokes but most of them work just fine and if you aren’t laughing at them I’m not sure what to tell you. And even though the movie somewhat wastes the efforts of Cap and Black Panther (and Black Widow, War Machine and Falcon too I guess but no one cares about that) the movie, for how many characters it’s working with, manages to get in a decent amount to say about Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Thor, Peter Quill, Gamora and even Peter Parker to a smaller extent as they all go through some interesting plot threads and arcs. And this is all while introducing Thanos to the series and developing his own interesting background.
So yes, as mentioned before, the movie does drop a few cans of peas along the way to dumping its Costco sized bag of a plot down on the big screen but it gets there for the most part and the journey is so much fun from start to finish you’ll (mostly) forget it’s imperfect in parts.
No doubt the movie is setting up for a truly huge climax in it’s sequel and while it remains to be seen if the MCU can cash the number checks it writes in this movie, part one of this epic blockbuster is a must see if you’re a fan of this franchise and of comic book movies in general.
So go see it now before someone snaps their fingers at you.
4.5 out of 5
Now ‘bout that next big super hero team up this summer…