Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars is the culmination of all the Marvel movies in the past decade, as the Avengers- old and new- must face their biggest threat yet: Thanos. The movie is directed by the Russo brothers and stars Robert Downing Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and many others in the ensemble cast of heroes and villains that will battle it out for the destiny of the universe.
As big, summer blockbusters go, Avengers: Infinity Wars is as big as it gets and, fortunately, not only in a financial way. As someone who went into this movie with no real interest in the characters or the overall universe, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie and how much I’m looking forward to next year’s sequel already.
First of all, the big selling point for the movie: Thanos and the desperation that he breeds into the Avengers with his unstoppable brute force and strong will. He is by far the best villain of the MCU, from any of the movies that I have seen thus far. He is legitimately terrifying; multiple times we are shown the extent of his power and we understand that he is to be feared. But he is more than a seemingly unstoppable force; he is a character. He has a view point and he is strong willed. In his own mind, he is the hero of this story and his goal is a sympathetic one- in a sick and disturbing way. Josh Brolin is excellent in his portrayal of Thanos and, as always in a Marvel movie, the CG elements were great. So the first part of the selling point was excellent, but how about the second part, the desperation? Infinity wars was heavily marketed as the darkest movie of the Marvel movies thus far, and it certainly is but it is also the funniest one. Yes the Avengers are desperate and scrambling to save the universe, but this is also the first time many characters meet each other and they are all given amble screen time to do their thing, but also they provide each other opportunities to deliver the trademark humor that the Marvel movies are known for. Having said that, this movie does not screw around; this is a dark movie that deals with dark themes and difficult dilemmas/situations. Without spoiling too much, Infinity Wars delivers on its promise but it also does not forget to be a big, fun blockbuster and while not always perfect (some editing decisions and pacing issues throughout) this was a mammoth task to tackle and the fact that to find anything meaningfully critical to say, I would have to stray into nit-picking territory is a testament to the quality of the movie.
Having accomplished two majorly critical points, in relation to the success of the movie but also to Marvel’s previous endeavors never achieving to provide a good villain and a darker story, Infinity Wars goes on to ‘correct’ a couple of other issues I had with the Marvel movies to date; one of them being the action scenes. Although the scenes were always fun and tolerable, they were never “good” and as someone who didn’t really care for the characters or their stories, the action always left me sorely disappointed, however the action scenes in Infinity Wars were actually quite good. There were virtually no ‘quick cuts’ and significantly less close ups in action scenes, which meant that I could see and understand what was happening and the placement of each character in each scene; although not as good as “John Wick” or Asian cinema, the action scenes were fun, exciting and coherent. Before moving on to the second issue, I want to briefly mention the quality of the writing in this movie. While I can’t go into specifics without spoiling certain aspects of the movie, let’s just say that it surprised me, besides the mostly great humor (I go into a bit more detail in the spoiler-filled discussion here). The second issue I had with Marvel movies is that, besides some notable exceptions, they all felt like the same movie or, more accurately, the same, rigid, structure was applied to all of their movies; Infinity war didn’t feel like that. The Russo brothers had a difficult problem to solve: How do you fit so many characters from previous movies with existing character traits and stories, in a movie that is supposed to be stand-alone but also the culmination of a decade’s worth of movies and make a coherent, fluid movie with its own narrative? While their execution is not perfect, it is agonizingly close to perfect and that deserves praise. In order to be more specific, I would have to talk about the structure of the movie and even that is a spoiler, so all I can say and remain spoiler-free in the process is that they accomplished an impossible task with near perfection. If you want to learn more about these minor flaws, first go see the movie and then check out my spoiler-filled discussion about it here.
In conclusion, I only went to the theater to see Infinity Wars for the same reason people who are not fans of Star Wars go to see the latest Star Wars movie: This was going to be the biggest movie of the summer and I wanted to have an opinion of my own in regards to this cultural beast. I left feeling excited and interested in the Marvel universe in a way I have never actually been before. So in my mind, not only was Infinity Wars a great movie, it also managed to intrigue me in a way no other movie in the MCU has before; considering it did so while executing on a seemingly impossible task and in my mind, there is no doubt that Infinity Wars is a cinematic achievement and one of the best movies of the year so far- as well as one of the best comic book movies ever made.
I’m going to discuss certain aspects of the movie in more detail on another article- which will include spoilers. Thus if you are interested in reading more of my opinions on this movie, go see Infinity Wars then come back and read the spoiler-filled discussion here.