The moment the last 10 years have been leading up to, Marvel's Avengers Infinity War! Check out our spoiler-free review to find out why this movie is one of the most original, shocking movies the MCU has ever produced!
A Gripping Story That Breaks the Superhero Constructs
For the past 10 years, fans of Marvel comics, comics in general, superheroes, Disney, Robert Downey Jr., both Chris’s (Evans and Hemsworth), and the rest of the cast have been experiencing heart-pounding action sequences, hilariously memorable moments, and jaw-dropping twists as they filed into movie theaters to enjoy the next superhero story Marvel chose to share. While each film focused on a singular character or team, there was always a common theme that united the films together, something bigger is coming. That something has culminated to this moment. Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War.
Just to be clear before I get into the story, this will be a spoiler-free review. The details I share will only be used to set the scene and describe the effect. There’s nothing cool about being the jerk that spoils a film. That aside, let’s get to it!
Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War starts out at a pretty explosive pace, as we see Thanos (Josh Brolin) making his first move. Unlike previous films in the MCU, they don’t shy away from showing Thanos and delivering some much needed context for the dreaded villain. Instead, he’s in the forefront the whole time, actually making moves. Due to his destructive strikes and the threat to end half of life as we know it, the film becomes a race against Thanos to find the 6 Infinity Stones. It causes the MCU heroes to assemble some unique teams in order to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat.
What makes this story so incredible is that for the past decade we’ve grown accustomed to a certain structure in the superhero genre. The hero(es) is living a normal(ish) life, evil strikes, hero jumps into battle, good triumphs over evil, the end. In Infinity War, it’s not as cut and dry as that. The Russo Bros. have been pretty up front with us that characters we know and love are going to die, and they weren’t lying. While I won’t name names, a few of them are more impactful than previous MCU deaths and create a ripple effect the likes of which we’ve never seen. It’s because of this that we see actual vulnerability in some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, making the mission for victory seem bleaker, by the minute. That, and because they were pit them against the likes of a superior enemy, in Thanos.
Fans will remember the first appearance of Thanos being in the first Avengers movie, just 6 years ago. However, Marvel began teasing the villainous Titan in 2011, during Thor’s first feature film. You remember the scene where Thor and Loki are walking through Odin’s vault on Asgard? Go back and watch it again and you’ll notice the Infinity Gauntlet, similar to what Thanos wields, in the background. I reference this because for the past 7 years, Marvel has teased that Thanos was coming and when he did, he did not disappoint.
In fact, he was the best part of Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War. Leading up to his debut, based on what Marvel showed us, I expected this ruthless monster that would appear and annihilate everyone. I didn’t expect to actually care for the antagonist hell-bent on eliminating half of the universe’s population.
The Russo Bros. succeeded in building a conqueror-type villain that fans can get behind by spending portions of the 2hr and 40 min runtime showing us Thanos’ backstory. By doing this, we were able to understand who this Titan was and why he was on this quest, in the first place. At times, you feel like he’s just some alien extremist with fanatical followers and then at other times he backs up what he preaches and you understand why he promotes genocide. (Disclaimer: I’m not a proponent of genocide nor did Thanos make me, just stating that the character was more than a mindless conqueror.) While the Russo Bros. deserve credit in giving us a worthy villain, the actor behind the CGI deserves a ton of kudos too. Even though you never see Josh Brolin, you’re able to appreciate the amount of range he has through his voice acting. His performance, along with the healthy portion of backstory, developed rich depth of character in a shorter time than previous MCU villains, like Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Thanos showed that he wasn’t your run-of-the-mill villain by being smart, crafty, emotional, and passionate for his cause, making him the best part of Infinity War.
Guardians, Thor, and Vision Shine Amongst A Cast With Varying Screen-time
A common trepidation among fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the idea that a superhero team-up film, of this caliber, could have too many heroes. The first superhero team-up film that comes to mind that had troubles with this is Suicide Squad. Some could even argue that Marvel’s Avengers Age of Ultron suffered from this too. Thankfully, it appears that Marvel/Disney learned from these mistakes and actually had more balance with Infinity War. That said, they still could’ve left out a few characters and it wouldn’t have had much of an impact.
The characters that had the most meaningful moments in the film were the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Pom Klementieff), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). The rest of the Avengers cast was just there and actually didn’t do a ton to contribute to the overall story. Granted, some did have important parts to play but they didn’t feel like the focal parts of the film, like the list above was. I believe people will want more Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and especially Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), after the colossal success of the self-titled film once they really get into the film. Although, it’s understandable when you consider that Marvel most likely had prioritize the storylines that greatly contributed to the Thanos arc.
It’s pretty clear early on that the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy team stole the show with their comedic timing and dynamics with the people their meeting for the first time. Most notably, Thor and his interactions with the Guardians were some of the best moments of the film. I felt that the entire cast did a phenomenal job bringing their unique voice to this giant mash-up, but it’s clear that Marvel had to prioritize the few over the many.
The Future of the MCU and Superheroes, In General
When Marvel first announced Infinity War, they revealed that it would be split up into 2 parts, Part 1 & 2. They even went on to say that somewhere along the way we’d get a lot of backstory for Thanos. Despite changing the titles from Part 1 & 2 to just Infinity War and leaving Avengers 4 untitled (for now), it’s obvious that they were telling the truth about both notes.
Infinity War gave us a ton of backstory for Thanos, which allowed us to connect with him more, and it definitely left you wanting more, pining for Avengers 4. What’s even better, though, is that it left you in such awe that you aren’t sure where the MCU is even going.
By creating a Game of Thrones-type movie where anyone could be taken out at any minute, it caused the superhero genre to become more unpredictable, more open-ended. No doubt, theories will flood the internet, once more people see this film, allowing Disney/Marvel to look on with a satisfied smile as they accomplished what many never thought possible and leaving us to question everything while yearning for Avengers 4 to get here sooner.