Marvel Studios unleash an entire universe on audiences in the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War…
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin
Directed by: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo / Written by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely / 149 minutes
What’s it about?
Earth’s mightiest heroes – with the aid of some new cosmic friends – unite to prevent the galactic titan, Thanos from harnessing the devastating abilities of the all-powerful Infinity Stones…
Perhaps the most anticipated cinematic event since the return of Star Wars, Avengers: Infinity War begins the culmination of ten years of the highly successful, box office conquering Marvel Cinematic Universe. The biggest, most ambitious Marvel film to date (until next year’s as yet untitled Avengers 4 that is), Avengers: Infinity War is a rousing rollercoaster ride packed with emotion, action and laughs in a dazzling, heartfelt and often spectacular comic book blockbuster.
Having already helmed two of the strongest MCU entries, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, directors Anthony and Joe Russo once again prove, with ease, that they are adept at balancing epic scale and a large cast of characters ensuring that high stakes are maintained without sacrificing focus on the people. The narrative is relatively simple and splitting it into three ‘sections’ (with separate strands of the story taking place around the world and in space) prevents the expansive set of players from becoming muddled into one gigantic crowd which would only disservice the individual heroes audiences the world over have grown to love. It’s a bit of a genius stroke that helps to break the film down neatly and isolate smaller groups of characters – the only downside being the inevitable disappointment that certain Marvel heroes don’t get to team up this time. There is also a sense that, whilst everyone is given their moment to shine, some are perhaps not given as much prominence as might be expected. To say this film is big (both in terms of its visuals and its cast) is an understatement and it’s commendable that, in the grand scheme of things the Russo brothers have managed to hold together all the disparate elements of Infinity War as well as they have.
Tonally, Infinity War follows a slightly darker path which is to be expected given the stakes that naturally come with the end of all things but like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War there’s still a good dose of levity where it’s needed and a lot of fun to be had, whether it be the verbal sparring between Iron Man and Doctor Strange, Spider-Man’s over-eagerness or Thor’s interactions with the Guardians of the Galaxy, together with numerous instances of fist pumping heroics – whilst it may seem all hope is lot at times, there’s often an undercurrent of hope running beneath the surface.
Whilst this is an Avengers film and we get to see all our old – and new – favourites with key moments for Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and Black Panther (and many more, including the Guardians of the Galaxy – Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon and a stroppy teenage Groot), Infinity War is very much the story of its central villain, Thanos. First teased in the post-credits sting for Avengers Assemble, Thanos, thanks to the efforts of screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and the motion capture performance of Josh Brolin (realised with some good CGI) is a powerful antagonist for sure and one with a lot of depth – there’s strong emphasis on character and a real sense of what his motivations are. They say the best villains never see themselves as being truly evil and although Thanos is responsible for atrocious acts, Infinity War takes the opportunity to explore what makes the mad titan tick.
Infinity War isn’t total perfection though, at this point in the MCU there’s a certain – perhaps unavoidable – element of predictability that springs from a tried and tested formula and the pacing of its earlier acts can feel a little erratic and inconsistent. Also, whilst much of the humour is well placed (and actually funny) there’s still the odd moment of forced slapstick that doesn’t quite hit the mark but it’s much more effective than some of Marvel’s other releases and never lapses into the outright absurdity of Thor: Ragnarok. Some of the action can also be a little too frantic in its execution, although the Russo’s seem to have dialled back a little on some of the more overzealous ‘shaky-cam’ usage seen in their Captain America outings.
So, is Infinty War the best comic book film ever? No, it’s certainly not The Dark Knight but nor does it try to be anything other than what it is. Is it the best Marvel film? Time will tell, but for now there’s no hesitation in declaring it as one of the greatest.
The bottom line: Avengers: Infinity War was always a seemingly impossible task but directors Anthony and Joe Russo have pulled together an epic, exciting and at times moving comic book adventure that’s sure to be yet another hit for Marvel Studios.
Avengers: Infinity War is in cinemas now.