Avengers: Infinity War

Posted: May 1, 2018 in Film reviews
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Directed by: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.  Starring: almost anyone who’s been in a Marvel film in the last ten years! Including Robert Downey Jr, Chrises Hemsworth/Evans/Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scarlett Johansson and Josh Brolin.

**Spoiler Alert**

I’m going to go out of my way not to spoil the film, but obviously I may give some things away, so if you really want to see the film with zero preconceptions or knowledge why not come back here after you see it!

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I just realised what’s wrong with this picture!

 

Thanos (Brolin) is an unstoppable alien supervillain intent on acquiring the six infinity stones that will make him omnipotent and allow him to fulfil his dream of killing half the galaxy’s population. He’s already acquired several and will stop at nothing to complete his task.

Fresh from a devastating encounter with Thanos, Thor (Hemsworth) teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to try and find a weapon that could stop Thanos, meanwhile on Earth Iron Man (Downey Jr) Dr Strange (Cumberbatch) Spider Man (Tom Holland) and Wong (Benedict Wong) face off against one of Thanos’ minions, intent of reliving Dr Strange of the infinity stone he wears.

Strange isn’t the only superhero in possession of a stone, because Vision (Paul Bettany) has one embedded in his skull and more of Thanos’ goons go after this one.

As all out war with Thanos’ army draws ever closer, the disparate groups of heroes must try and find a way to defeat Thanos, but even if they can thwart his plans, the battle will not be without its casualties…

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Tony and Dr Strange were focused on Thanos, but Peter Parker had spotted a fly…

It’s hard to get your head around the fact that this is a film ten years in the making. When Iron Man first surprised everyone in 2008 by being actually really good, I doubt even it’s most ardent fan would have believed that a decade later Downey Jr would still be playing Tony Stark, and would team up with a cast of thousands (hey factor in the extras and I bet it comes close) and practically every other Marvel superhero (there are a couple of exceptions) to battle Thanos.

But here we are, and as far as I’m concerned Marvel’s long game pays off, and then some! Infinity War is superb. I can imagine it will probably be confusing for those poor souls who haven’t seen much of the Marvel oeuvre, but for anyone invested in the Marvel universe, and these characters, Infinity War is pretty much everything we could have hoped for, and compared to Justice League…well let’s just not ok, because it’s a fight more unfair than Thanos taking on Ant Man (which you won’t see in this film) suffice to say that DC’s best hope is to invent time travel and start making their films way sooner.

Back to Infinity War. It’s hard to talk about the plot (and I guess some critics may say “what plot” but it’s there all the same.) without giving stuff away. Suffice to say that, whilst at times simplistic, everything hangs together pretty damn well for a film that has this many characters and this many plot threads to juggle. In fact it’s amazing that any film made under those auspices can be this coherent, let alone this good.

I did mention Infinity War is freakin’ amazing, right?

I know I said we needed to move away from it, but damn let’s look back at Justice League again, a film with only a handful of heroes, and a run time only thirty minutes shorter than Infinity War, yet one with a shaky narrative and a villain who couldn’t be more two dimensional if he were a sheet of A4. By contrast Infinity War has, what three or four plots going on at any given time, and maybe 25 main characters (don’t believe me, count em!) and still manages to give us a three-dimensional villain who probably got more character development on his own than Bats and co put together.

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Cool story bro(lin)

Because make no mistake, from a certain perspective this is Thanos’ film. He might be a homicidal lunatic, but he’s a homicidal lunatic with a backstory, a homicidal lunatic who has a logical (if insane) reason for wanting to wipe out half the galaxy’s population, and a homicidal lunatic you almost feel sorry for on occasion. There are plenty of films made each year whose protagonists aren’t as developed as this film’s antagonist is.

Of course this isn’t really Thanos’ film, it’s the Avengers’ film, and the Guardians of the Galaxy’s film, and those other guys who aren’t either but will probably end up joining one or the other if they don’t die’s film!

Sure some of the characters feel a little short changed (as a Black Widow fan there isn’t nearly enough Scarlett Johansson here) but to a greater or lesser degree everyone gets their moment in the sun, and some of the characters who get a larger role will surprise you. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is pretty integral, and Vision and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) get an emotional subplot. There’s a lot of Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and the fact that the tone lifts when the Guardians turn up is testament to how loveable that bunch of idiots are, and I don’t care what anyone says, for me Drax (Dave Bautista) is the funniest character in the Marvel Universe.

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You’re supposed to go inside the bus, Peter!

Downey Jr, Hemsworth and Evans are as solid as always (Hemsworth in particular is a joy to watch) and is it just me, or is Cumberbatch more fun as Strange as part of an ensemble than he was when he had a whole film to himself?) Tom Holland also continues to impress as Peter Parker, and when Karen Gillan shaved her head people expected Nebula to be a one off character, now here she is for her third outing and with quite a character arc over those films.

I can’t mention everyone, but everyone is great. Seriously, no one puts a foot wrong.

The effects are great and the battles truly epic. I saw it in 3d IMAX which was intense, but I’m looking forward to a second viewing in 2D, because I think some of the fights may look a little less frantic.

Let’s come back to the plot though, or more specifically the narrative choices the writers/producers/directors have made. Remember how in The Last Jedi Luke says “This isn’t going to go the way you expect” well he could have been talking about Infinity War, because whatever you expect going in, whoever you think will die, I guarantee you’ll be surprised. They’ve made some bold and downright astonishing choices at times here. I mean sure, comic books are always bringing people back from the dead, but I have a hunch that in this case some of the dead are going to remain that way.

No film is perfect, and with so many characters and threads going on some are left dangling, or aren’t given enough prominence, and sometimes it feels like you haven’t seen certain characters in ages, and yes it’s a film made for those of us invested in the universe…

But for me it was pretty much everything I could have wanted (apart from more Black Widow obviously) Exciting, hilarious, heart-breaking; I loved it from start to finish and I didn’t want it to end, and it’s going to be a long year waiting for Avengers 4!

Make mine Marvel, to infinity (war) and beyond!

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