*This is a spoiler-free review*
The wait is over. Celebrating ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe within a two and a half hour smorgasbord of action and emotion, reconciliation and separation. Avengers: Infinity War assembles Earth’s mightiest heroes to wage a war against Thanos in his pursuit of the six Infinity Stones. Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and rest of the Avengers motley crew look to take back the universe, effectively putting a stop to Thanos’ endgame. Avengers: Infinity War epitomizes every battle ever fought by the Avengers, every outcome that determined the fates of the planets involved, ultimately leaving everything on the line for this one singular moment.
Kevin Feige’s cinematic narrative of the comic book is once again displayed in his representations of theme, character performances, visuals, and musical score. Putting together a film of this magnitude, with the sheer number of characters and their individual story arcs is no easy task to undertake. The cohesiveness of studio personnel, together with Disney, was put under large scrutiny in respect to how this feat would be accomplished.
This film does not take a clandestine or cloak-and-dagger approach by any means, as it kicks off after T’Challa’s (Black Panther) inauguration as King of Wakanda, and the destruction of Asgard. The transition points in the movie, from the re-assembling of the team, to the actual confrontations with Thanos himself are relatively seamless. Paired up with stunning visuals, and an Alan Silvestri masterpiece of a musical score, amalgamate a complete sight and sound experience. The musical score with the associating visuals help to elevate scenes of pure action, and scenes of serene emotion. The in-your-face approach really helps to accentuate the journey of the movie with a head full of steam to the narrative’s destination. Light-hearted and subtle comedic cues help to balance out the serious tones of the film, and make the interactions of the characters more akin to natural human communication.
That being said, the movie does fall short in aspects of individual character performances, and their interactions with one another during this journey. As with the challenges of putting together a film of this magnitude. There were nuances to an episode of Big Brother where we just throw characters into a tossed salad, as opposed to a melting pot. It is tough to criticize, especially after one acknowledges the effort and coordination required to build a film like this from the ground up, culminating ten years of cinematic narrative leading up to it. However, nonetheless it is an aspect that does need to be addressed.
The re-assembling of the team of Avengers requires significant character development and relationship building in which for some character interactions were stellar and refreshing, whereas with others, there were factors that left something to be desired of. Many characters whom had previously held such critical roles in previous films, with the expectation to fully blossom into their own, were sadly left underrepresented. A way for this to have been remedied would have been to have split the movie into two parts, helping to develop interactions and relationships between heroes as a way to lead into the final bout with Thanos, however I feel that Marvel’s general M.O. was towards a different direction. Thanos’ representation in this film was the clear focal point as his character development set the tone for the reactions and interactions of the heroes. Standout performances for the good guys go to Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). Their contributions to the film extend through the peaks, valleys, and plateaus. Direct interactions blossom between characters such as Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Spider-Man and Iron Man, Thor and the Guardians.
For the first time, we are finally introduced and immersed in Thanos, the major antagonist of the entire MCU. His character is portrayed quite differently in the comic books as he is seen as a ruthless vessel with no greater intent than to kill and destroy. In the cinematic narrative of his character, we see a multi-dimensional, almost rational in his motives, with the expression of such themes as mercy, father-daughter camaraderie, and the idea of the “greater good”.
This movie has the makings of one of the best Marvel films, even superhero films for that matter in terms purely associated with the hype and magnitude of the personalities brought together into one film. Because of this, there are aspects that fall short that have already been eluded to, paired with the obscene expectations given to this film, inhibit its ability to be THE quintessential Marvel film. Execution of this proved to be x-factor in where this movie would be placed amongst the greats, as well as its subsequent rating. Overall, this film provides great entertainment value in its rich action, emotion, and subtle comedy. Fantastic musical score and visuals complement the entertainment significance, for superhero fans and the casual viewer. Ten years of Marvel Cinema helped to alleviate the imbalances in character performances and interactions, still resulting in an enthralling superhero cinematic experience.
Rating – 7.8/10
Avengers: Infinity War flies into theatres on April 27, 2018.