The film, a culmination of a decade’s worth of hero storylines into one climactic feature, is one of the most expensive motion pictures ever made at an estimated $300 million, second only to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($378.5 million), and Marvel’s new movie behemoth does not disappoint. Rife with heart-pounding action, drama, comedic relief, and a plot build-up worthy of its top spot as the biggest box office opening weekend of all time, Infinity War is one of the strongest in its genre to date. With epic crossovers and a journey across the expanse of the universe that takes our beloved heroes to both familiar and foreign locations, there is plenty of movie meat to chew on in this one. Audiences are strapped in for a 2 hour and 40 minute adventure that tests the strengths of the Avengers and the weakness of our bladders (seriously, hit the restroom before the lights dim, you’re in for a long one). Despite its extensive screen time however, pace is not an issue as the story perfectly unravels into everything you would (and wouldn’t) expect from a monumental Marvel flick that captures the essence of almost every one of its lead characters. If you thought you had a favorite superhero movie before, think again.
The Russo brothers kick things off in their opening scene panning across a small stretch of space revealing the last surviving fleet of Asgardian ships, whose planet was destroyed in the conclusion of Thor: Ragnarok. The ships are intercepted and overtaken by the Titan, Thanos (Josh Brolin), a god-like being who was ridiculed as a fanatic on his now desolate home world (a world that shares the same name as his race) for the drastic proposal he put forth to cure his planet of overpopulation, a mass culling. The scene cuts to the interior of a ship where Asgardians lay dead, scattered about their battered vessel with only Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Heimdall (Idris Elba) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) struggling to defend themselves against the onslaught of our gauntlet-wielding villain and his henchmen, the Children of Thanos.
Having already acquired the Power Stone, one of the six infinity gems that hold the most powerful forces in the universe, Thanos is willing to stop at nothing to obtain the remaining five that all-together have the ability to bestow upon him omnipotence. With his plan in motion to become the ultimate harbinger of chaos, he sets his sights on the Space Stone that lies within the Tesseract secretly possessed by Loki. Thanos subdues our heroes (yes, even the Hulk) and acquires the stone, obliterating the ship moments after Hulk is sent hurtling to Earth with one final use of the Bifrost. Landing in New York City, where the first Avengers movie takes place, Bruce Banner falls into the lap of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and through a chain of events, forms an unlikely team in order to protect the city against a pair of Thanos’ servants who have landed on Earth to claim two of the remaining stones. The heroes find themselves at the invaders’ mercy, but if you know anything about the Marvel universe it’s that there are plenty of other good guys across the galaxies waiting to snuff out any potential threat. And as Infinity War progresses, these extraordinary characters come together, by way of necessity and chance, in an attempt to do just that.
But a superhero movie that is 10 years in the making can’t have anything less than an impossible-to-defeat antagonist, with a dynamic clash of good and evil, in order for it to be successful. The previous Avengers films have done well to organize and showcase a team of incredible individuals, but never like this. What Infinity War does remarkably well is that it highlights every casted character we’ve grown to love over the past decade and allows them to shine through, despite the expanded list of heroes present within the film. Albeit some may disagree, not a single character falls short of living up to their skill, personality, and reputation portrayed in other standalone or collective films. Captain America (Chris Evans) maintains his position as the fearless and driven leader, Spiderman (Tom Holland) is the intrepid young teen with a lot to learn, and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) plays her part as the stunning yet deadly spy/assassin with a propensity for ass-kicking, just to name a few. Yet even with some heroes receiving a greater allotment of screen time than others, audiences will find comfort in knowing that all of their favorites are represented exactly how they should be.
What was unexpected, however, was the level of dastardly depth given to Thanos as he fits into his impressive role as the next big adversary. There were times in the film that we felt a sympathetic twinge towards him and his pensive, almost lonesome disposition, but then moments later were in awe of his profound cruelty and malevolence. He is not the violent villain that we’re used to; instead there is a calmness about him that is only contradicted by his chaotic tendencies. He not only displays colossal physical strength but illustrates a deep understanding of his capabilities, ones that, at a time, push our heroes to their breaking points. And as these characters fight back against this new enemy, some are faced with the always present human element to their heroic persona (I know. I know, not all of them are humans but just roll with it), something that audiences may find frustrating yet relatable. What makes them both powerful and extremely fragile simultaneously is that they are all controlled by a similar moral compass. They feel emotions such as love, grief, anger, and fear but also have an inherent urge to save and protect those who face the threat of evil. But when that evil endangers the lives of the people they care about most, or the safety of their allies, they are forced to perform actions that have devastating consequences, creating a ripple effect that jeopardizes the survival of civilizations and the persistence of the greater-good.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo bring these themes to life with their production of the ultimate hero movie, a film unlike any other of the same genre I’ve been experiencing since my introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 with the launch of Iron Man. Almost every facet of Avengers: Infinity War is executed well, making sure to encapsulate the history and nature of each individual character while presenting them all with a formidable new challenge, distinctly different from ones they have faced in the past. Throughout the film, Thanos supersedes the stereotypical supervillain; he embodies wickedness, a wickedness that emanates from his callously conceited demeanor and seemingly invulnerable form. The stakes are higher than they have ever been before for the Avengers and are raised even further, to unfathomable heights, as we learn the true nature of Thanos’ mission, bearing witness to his unrelenting pursuit of becoming the most powerful being in existence. The odyssey taken in Infinity War is purposefully disjointed yet perfectly unified to create an outstanding plotline, one that merges various hero arcs together into a set of interdependent battles for the fate of the universe. The film’s finale ends with a breathtaking bang and leaves the audience at a loss for words, a Marvel masterpiece that delivers questions and uncertainty of which will only be resolved in the next Avengers installment. And to that I say, bring it on.
9.5/10 - Personal Rating
84% - Rotten Tomatoes
9/10 - IMDb
2.5/4 - Roger Ebert
68% - Metacritic
Have you seen it yet? What did you think of the movie? Let us know in the comments below!