Standing as arguably one of the most anticipated movies of the last decade aside from the return of the of the Star Wars franchise, Avengers: Infinity War finally hit theaters this weekend. Before jumping into this review, one aspect must be addressed first and foremost. As a movie ten years in the making, the question of “was it worth the wait” should be thrown out of the window. In terms of the entertainment industry, there are few if any things in the world where ten years of anticipation and hype can be rewarded over the course of two hours and thirty minutes.
Now onto the review. This will be Spoiler Free so no worries everyone.
Going into and exiting the movie, one fact needs to be presented and understood by all fans. Despite the title, the large roster of characters, and slightly misleading trailers, this movie is about Thanos and his quest for the Infinity Stones as opposed to the Avengers team. The heroes that we’ve grown to know and love are just obstacles in his way. Understanding this narrative detail is pivotal to walking away from the cinematic experience with a sense of fulfillment that a complete story had been told.
Crafting the narrative around Thanos stands as a bold move for the successful Russo brothers (directors of Captain American: The Winter Soldier and Civil War) that completely hinges on the performance of Josh Brolin, and without a doubt that he nailed it. Brolin adds a fantastic level of depth and characterization to the looming shadow that has loosely hung over the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). His performance sets the standard of how to create CG villain that can exist as both a menacing and compelling character. Sadly, it felt that the there was just a bit missing to really illuminate the motivations behind this grand, destructive endeavor Thanos felt he had no choice to accomplish.
By having so much of the movie focused on the goal of one individual, the lack of a visual moment to highlight his backstory made his oral motivations come off a deep yet incapable of resonating with the audience. Despite the need for further depth to his character, Thanos and his minions easily topple all the MCU villains that have come before. Truly, the best villains of any story are the ones that feel like they are the hero, and that idea truly resonates within the twisted logic of the Mad Titan Thanos.
Alongside Brolin, the plethora of other actors that have been woven into the grand narrative of the MCU all displayed stellar performances mixing the trademark humor with several poignant moments illustrating their loss and growth. While there was little to critique in terms of performances, it did become abundantly clear towards the end of the film that even a well-crafted movie has limitations in terms of actual character usage.
Thus, if there was a nagging flaw throughout the course of the narrative, it was the lack of presence for certain groups of heroes the audience had become familiar with. With the Avengers team separated for most of the movie, certain groups of characters seem to exude a stronger presence throughout the film than others. Such a result is completely understandable in terms of the scope and magnitude of the film. Infinity War takes on the ambitious task no other studio has attempted by having over 20 superheroes all appearing in the narrative of a single film and the Russo brothers deserve all the credit in the world for doing that. Embarking on such an endeavor was sure to leave some characters with hollow influences in comparison to others but not an entire group of them should have felt that way.
That specific flaw is overshadowed by the consistent flow of superb action sequences throughout the course of the movie from beginning to end. As first displayed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and followed upon in Captain America: Civil War, the Russo brothers have the ability to craft the best action sequences in the entire MCU. The mix of fluid choreography and emotional weight behind the scenes are excellently handled even with the CG threats of the Black Order (Thanos’ top fighters).
As with all of the previous films and Civil War, the extensive cast plays well off each other. Seeing Thor interact with the Guardians along with Dr. Strange and Iron Man going back and forth was a beauty to behold. Furthermore, the effects of Civil War in the narrative of the film were excellently handled. Infinity War brushing over the impactful fallout of Civil War was a cause for concern, but one that was ultimately unfounded.
Only a few minutes were spent detailing the fallout once more, but the impact of having Earth’s Mightiest Heroes split up was felt throughout the movie despite the other great team-ups witnessed.
Overall, no movie is worth a ten-year wait, but Marvel Studios came through and produced one of their best films to date. After seeing the movie, fans will find themselves discussing the plot details for months to come as the speculation rises to the 2019 follow up film.